January 3, 2013

SphereTones – A Free ‘Visual Instrument’

When music is composed in a DAW using MIDI instruments and controlled timing, does this deter from the human aspect of musical creation?  If you produce music in any recording studio using an analog instrument (let’s say, a guitar) it is no longer recorded as a live session as it was in the older days.  Each band member is separated from each other and music is played to a metronome backing, in order to keep tempo.  There is no Jimi Hendrix tempo shifting within songs that made it feel like a magical live act.  In fact, many recording studios will simply hire a professional musician to play instead of using band members.

That magical feeling of imperfect creation is the subject of new apps that are being developed for tablet users.  They replace the traditional format of straight lines and staffs in favor of something non linear and imperfect.  The idea here is to spawn music by random creation instead of laying down notes in perfect order.  SphereTone’s interface is built just like it sounds.  It uses a bouncing ball (Newton’s cradle style) to simulate the vibration of a note, which can then be altered based on specific parameters.  If nothing else, it is a fun toy to explore new sounds with.