Restoring sounds to the iPad via memory lane.

I was confused as to why the iPad would play music and the sound on videos but fell silent while playing games. I eventually realised it was in Silent Mode. Swipe down from the top right corner to open the Control Centre and tap the Bell icon to toggle Silent Mode on and off.

Best of all – this also restored sound to the wonderful SoundForest app which had been silent for a while. Created by Justin Alexander it seems to have been abandoned but still functions on the latest devices.

Many (many!) years ago I wrote a little thing for the Amiga called Beat Sheets which triggered brief sound samples. It was part of a series I created for children called Kids Disk, which were distributed on floppy discs for free from Public Domain libraries via snail mail. It was written with AMOS, which was pretty fancy for the time, probably in 512 kilobytes of memory. I did add a hard drive to the Amiga at some point which added 20 megabytes of storage – which I described at the time as “like having a vast empty warehouse to store stuff”; for context the SoundForest video below is 155 megabytes.

Lo and behold (isn’t the Internet wonderful?) someone had a video of Beat Sheets in action which they seemed to be running in an Amiga emulator…

Beat Sheets on the Amiga 1993

Fast forward several decades and SoundForest is a far more sophisticated app, downloaded from the App Store and running on a hand held device with a terabyte of memory. It follows the same idea of tapping sound samples into a grid. You can extend your song by swiping to the left for a fresh sheet. Tapping the top bar stops and starts the player and double tapping changes the speed. Different sounds are available in the various environments – jungle, desert, ocean etc. Great fun.

Ten Years After

Rummaging around in here I discovered I still had a YouTube account, from the days before it became the quagmire of advertising and tracking it has become, which lead me to this old post from a decade ago:

The iPad was a mere one year old at the time but was already showing signs of its potential for making interesting noises. I suspect the missing video was for an, alas short lived and no longer available, app called Konkreet Performer which was an early attempt at new ways to interact with sounds on iPads:

A 2011 Konkreet Performer promotional video

Things have evolved over the years and today you have AudioBus to pump sound between apps, AUM to connect and mix instruments and effects and countless apps like TouchScaper and SoundScaper and even some that are not called somethingScaper. Although Smule still have some apps available their MadPad has also vanished; as has the Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra.

The other video in that old post was a young Frank Zappa performing on a bicycle during the Steve Allen TV show in March 1963. Many years ago I read about this but who could imagine that decades later and thousands of miles away you can sit on a sofa with an iPad watching the video and also learn how, in late 1962, the young Zappa would hang out in Don Preston‘s garage improvising soundtracks to various film clips. Preston had a range of junk percussion ‘instruments’ he used including a bicycle.

Conway’s Life as noise

To the ever-growing list of names of people that have been so familiar (almost as if we actually knew them) but are now no more we must add John Conway. Many who dabbled with programming on old computers will have implemented a version of Conway’s Game of Life which determined if a cell should live or die by following a set of rules:

  1. Any live cell with two or three live neighbours survives.
  2. Any dead cell with three live neighbours becomes a live cell.
  3. All other live cells die in the next generation. Similarly, all other dead cells stay dead.

There is a version implemented within the wonderful Xynthesizr which allows for some random generative noise. We add a few cells, which live or die by the rules, and then let it evolve by itself – never quite reaching a stable state.

It uses a Messiaen scale. There was a nice tribute by XKCD too…

Shove Lemur from an iPad on a Mac

Adapted from this Windows tutorial…

It is much the same procedure but as the Mac speaks fluent MIDI there is no need to add anything.

Ingredients:

A Mac
Ableton Live
iPad
Lemur app
Shove template
ClyphX/Push folders
(Requires a RAR Unpacker if you do not have one)

Procedure:

Right click on the Ableton Live icon and select Show Package Contents

showpack

Drill down to the MIDI Remote Scripts folder

contents

appres

MIDIrem

Rename the Push folder as Original_Push

Unpack the RAR file containing the ClyphX/Push folders and put those folders in the MIDI Remote Scripts folder

If your WiFi network is liable to interference/lag you should create an ad-hoc network. The video below just connects via the regular WiFi network.

adhoc

In the iPad’s WiFi settings select your ad-hoc network if you created one

Start the Lemur app and load the Shove template from the Lemur editor on the Mac

In the Mac’s MIDI/Audio set up Utility select the Network button

Connect the iPad to the Session

Open Ableton Live and then its Preferences

Select Push and Cyphx as Input Devices and the network session as Input and Output

livepref

Shove away…

Lazy Sunday

So you find yourself in bed on a Sunday morning and you have flicked through Flipboard on the iPad when you remember that the new [wikipop search=”EPUB”]ePub[/wikipop] edition of Programming in Objective-C by Stephen Kochan is on the iMac downstairs. Phew! Downstairs! No problem. We have Prompt with which we can log into the sleeping iMac and [wikipop]mv[/wikipop] the book into the iMac’s Dropbox folder from which automagically it appears in the iPad’s Dropbox and then opens in iBooks.

Of course you could just get the iBooks version 😉 but where’s the fun in that?

Lazy Sunday = Small Faces…

…and thence Stanley Unwin.

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