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Old 12-04-2013, 10:54 PM   #1
runewake2
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Riff Sketching App

Hi,

I'm a mobile developer and guitarist working on making an app that will allow you to jot down those ideas for songs you get when you are away from your instrument. The idea is to use a series of dots which function as sort of middle ground between tabs and musical notes. The higher a note is the higher it sounds, the lower a note the lower it sounds. You can then fine tune things by changing BPM and what notes you want to play.

What I am curious about is what other features people want in an app like this. How do you think you would use it and what would you like to be able to do? The app is still in the design stage and I am trying to get an idea of how others might use it.

The goal of the app is to provide a way to "Sketch" your riff/song ideas on the go. With that in mind you won't be able to produce high quality riffs etc, but you will be able to lay down the general idea then convert that to tabs, save it for later, share it with friends or show it to the world.

Anyway, if you have ideas on how I can make this better for you I'd love to hear it!
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Old 12-04-2013, 11:05 PM   #2
Shotgunmerc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runewake2
Hi,

I'm a mobile developer and guitarist working on making an app that will allow you to jot down those ideas for songs you get when you are away from your instrument. The idea is to use a series of dots which function as sort of middle ground between tabs and musical notes. The higher a note is the higher it sounds, the lower a note the lower it sounds. You can then fine tune things by changing BPM and what notes you want to play.

What I am curious about is what other features people want in an app like this. How do you think you would use it and what would you like to be able to do? The app is still in the design stage and I am trying to get an idea of how others might use it.

The goal of the app is to provide a way to "Sketch" your riff/song ideas on the go. With that in mind you won't be able to produce high quality riffs etc, but you will be able to lay down the general idea then convert that to tabs, save it for later, share it with friends or show it to the world.

Anyway, if you have ideas on how I can make this better for you I'd love to hear it!


This sounds like an interesting idea. I like the idea of being able to sketch out riffs that I could work with later.

One feature I might like to have is a different screen for different instruments, all while working with the same musical "idea". So suppose I come up with a basic groove for the drummer, then I want to add the bass line to that, and then I come up with a basic melody. Having that all on one phone screen seems like it'd be pretty cluttered, but if you could slide from screen-to-screen and stay within one file for the song idea so that you could sketch each instrument, that'd be a really handy feature.

Is it possible to see screenshots, or perhaps an example of how it might look in use?
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Old 12-04-2013, 11:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shotgunmerc
This sounds like an interesting idea. I like the idea of being able to sketch out riffs that I could work with later.

One feature I might like to have is a different screen for different instruments, all while working with the same musical "idea". So suppose I come up with a basic groove for the drummer, then I want to add the bass line to that, and then I come up with a basic melody. Having that all on one phone screen seems like it'd be pretty cluttered, but if you could slide from screen-to-screen and stay within one file for the song idea so that you could sketch each instrument, that'd be a really handy feature.

Is it possible to see screenshots, or perhaps an example of how it might look in use?


The idea I've been playing with is that you can develop "riffs" which are all separate with unique instruments, tunings etc. Then you can merge those together into songs and play them simultaneously. I could make multiple tabs (think internet browser, not guitar) where you could have multiple Riffs open at the same time and switch between them quickly with some gesture.

As I'm still in the design phase of this I don't have much functionality yet and so screenshots are rather boring. I can digitize some of my concept sketches I have lying around and post those sometime later (probably Friday). Depending on how fast things move I might have some fancy screenshots soon too.
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Old 12-04-2013, 11:28 PM   #4
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I'd download it. Wouldn't pay more than like 1.99 for an app though, honestly
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:45 AM   #5
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Sounds like a cool concept, and useful for those moments when you're at work and inspiration strikes (or even lying in bed and don't want to get up at 2am).


If I understand the idea correctly, though - are you going to have the 'notes' structured in specific keys/scales? Because, while it sounds good being able to vaguely sketch out the pattern of pitches to the idea... just being a half tone out can have a dramatic effect and could mean a tiny margin of error for each note given how much you might have to fit onto the screen. Having the option to switch between keys/scales, and chromatic mode/adding your own accidentals, might overcome this a little

I may have completely misunderstood that aspect of your design though
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:52 AM   #6
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When I'm out and about and I get a riff in my head, I usually just hum or sing it into my phone. That or I go on a keyboard app and tap it out.
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by K'Nuckles
When I'm out and about and I get a riff in my head, I usually just hum or sing it into my phone.

This is me, currently, when those moments occur.
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:59 AM   #8
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It works. Nothing worse than getting home and you can't remember it.

Saying that though, I'd give it a go, why not? Sounds interesting.
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:10 AM   #9
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So long as the interface for inputing the notes is smooth and easy to learn it could be a very good app.
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:26 AM   #10
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Sounds good.
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:32 AM   #11
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Interesting, but isn't this what the Guitar Pro app is for?
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DisarmGoliath
Sounds like a cool concept, and useful for those moments when you're at work and inspiration strikes (or even lying in bed and don't want to get up at 2am).

If I understand the idea correctly, though - are you going to have the 'notes' structured in specific keys/scales? Because, while it sounds good being able to vaguely sketch out the pattern of pitches to the idea... just being a half tone out can have a dramatic effect and could mean a tiny margin of error for each note given how much you might have to fit onto the screen. Having the option to switch between keys/scales, and chromatic mode/adding your own accidentals, might overcome this a little

I may have completely misunderstood that aspect of your design though


The current idea I have is for you to be able to use a series of prebuilt as well as custom note filters. Obviously you don't want to cross the fretboard every few seconds so you can limit which notes the app selects based on your filter (these might be scales or just a few notes you like). Additionally you can change things like the range and location of the finger positions you want. This means you can choose only notes that fit a Pentatonic scale between the 10th and 17th fret or anything else that might please you. You can change the range and location dynamically even while the riff is looping in the background and alter and save filters whenever you want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrKRB64
Interesting, but isn't this what the Guitar Pro app is for?


Unlike Guitar Pro the goal of this is different. Guitar Pro serves as a great tool for learning, playing along etc. however Guitar Pro is a very time consuming tool. The goal of this app is to make getting notes down fast and easy. You won't have nearly the amount of effects that Guitar Pro offers, but you will be able to save a riff that comes into your head in the middle of classes, while you walk or are eating lunch. To my knowledge Guitar Pro can't do that.

Think of it like musical notes, perhaps not exactly what was said, but close enough and written in a quarter of the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by K'Nuckles
When I'm out and about and I get a riff in my head, I usually just hum or sing it into my phone. That or I go on a keyboard app and tap it out.


The goal here is to expand upon just recording whatever comes to mind. I'll consider allowing you to hum a background tune that you could match the notes to.
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:13 AM   #13
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What about Garageband? It's iOS only, but it has pretty much all of the features a guitarist would want.
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:00 PM   #14
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Isn't this just garageband on tablet?
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:02 PM   #15
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Mabe a tutorial?
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:27 PM   #16
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I actually do stuff like this already with pen and paper. I get the rhythm down and only worry about relative pitches rather than absolute pitches. It really helps jog my memory when I can get back to an instrument.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:24 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by psyks
I actually do stuff like this already with pen and paper. I get the rhythm down and only worry about relative pitches rather than absolute pitches. It really helps jog my memory when I can get back to an instrument.


I do as well and find it quite helpful, thats how I got the idea.

As far as this being a tablet based garage band, no. At least not to my knowledge. I have only used Garage Band for all of 30 minutes in my life, but from that I don't see this being similar. The goal of this is to serve as a sort of Post-It for song/riff ideas. It will let you sketch out a rough idea and move it around the fretboard until it sounds right to you. With this in mind I am going to be targeting phones before tablets as you are more likely to have a phone than a tablet when you think of something. My current goal is just to get to a point where the app produces something that is close enough to something you want to play. Then you can get it to your guitar by exporting the tabs and add your own play style on top of everything.

I also envision this for new or intermediate players who have an idea for a riff and can visualize it but can't put it into actual notes.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:27 PM   #18
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speaking about apps is there an app for drums like the ez drummer software? that would make me very happy
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:32 PM   #19
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It seems like a very interesting idea. Coming from someone to whom it's happened more tha once that a song, or structure, would come to mind when I'm away from any mode of writing it in any form, then I get home and have forgotten it. I hate that.

I would definitely try this.
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:15 PM   #20
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I got an app on my ipad where u handwrite notes on the stave with a stylus, and it makes it appear on digital staff.

You can also write in dynamics, slurs, specific instrument related notation (ie. bow movement of violin, or pedal for piano), and many more stuff

Pretty cool.

I understand your app idea, but why change language that works so well (musical notation). Writing it is learned very fast.

Trust me when you learn to handwrite notation, well there's pretty much nothing faster and every decent musician can read/play it immediately.


Anyway, that's my critical overall analysis.

Specific for the app, how do u deal with timing, quantization? Octaves? Honestly a simple keyboard with 2 buttons oct up and down fits a phone easily, and is logicall.

You could make different keyboards for specific scales, or just "grey" notes out when you select a scale.
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