Musical Tablet

I’ve been playing keyboard instruments since I was eight years old. As you can see from this YouTube video I shot a few nights ago, there have been a few technological advances since then in how to input and manipulate musical notes.

The iPad app that I’m using here is TC-Data from Bit Shape Software. It provides a programmable interface that converts your finger touches into controls for a musical instrument.

You can program the interface (or use the built-in presets) so that the distances, angles, rotation, speeds, and timings of your touches become expressive data. That information is then passed on to compatible music apps.

That’s right. TC-Data doesn’t make any sound on its own. It acts as a front-end for many of the high-quality music apps that are available for the iPad.

It’s a whole new world to explore for those of us who had hoped that someday — in the future — we could bring a synthesizer or two along on a vacation. Now we have the equivalent of hundreds of different musical instruments squeezed into a device that’s as slender as a book.

And we can play those instruments in ways that we never could have imagined.

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