Sunday, May 12, 2013

Method Of Control


It's been said here before but I'll say it again.

Yamaha's Mobile Music Sequencer (MMS) app is a brilliant bit of mobile music making software. I'll give you today's scenario to point out why.

I decided to construct a bass sound as the basis for a new track. I opened Magellan and messed around until I was happy with the sound and that sound lead me to write a riff. To get that riff into Cubasis I opened Genome and wrote in the MIDI part. Then through Audiobus I recorded the MIDI with Magellan into Cubasis and then set about finding a chord sequence to fit with Chordbot. That done I copy/pasted the chords into a new track in Cubasis.

This is all very well but I have a reservation and that is that at this stage in the song writing process I really don't want to be messing about with a whole load of apps. What I want to do is get a chord sequence and track structure down as quick as possible. While Chordbot is genius at this I use it more on my phone to grab the inspiration while I'm on the go. I email the files to myself and use the iPad version for any final touches.

This is where the Yamaha MMS comes into its own. I can create a new pattern from scratch using a C major chord to get some rhythmic feel into the pattern. It's the same for bass and melodies. The structure of the track flies together so fast that the whole track is done in minutes not hours. The chords are simplicity itself to insert in the right places and once a pattern has a chord sequence the melody and bass follow that sequence. I'll often just put in a basic drum pattern because the remix options can change something very simple and with the addition of two remix options per pattern even more complex rhythms are now achievable. I'm not overly keen on the included sounds but they're certainly good enough to give you an idea of what the song will sound like.

The best part of MMS is that each track is a separate MIDI channel and can be assigned to individual tracks in Cubasis. It's easy enough to use the included sounds in Cubasis and then use it as an input and output in Audiobus at the same time to use other synth apps to change a sound where needed.

What all this means is that the track gets written first and fast and the messing around trying to find the right sound comes later. This for me is an efficient way of working as opposed to today's efforts of mine which resulted in some nice sounds but only 4 bars of music which for a couple of hours work wasn't very productive.

It took me a further hour to see if MMS was up to the task of building the rest of the track, which it was. The MMS manual is easy to read and I can recommend doing just that before giving the app a go. Once you know your way around you'll see why it's so easy to use.

It's my preferred sequencer for good reason. I've made the comparison between MMS and the Yamaha QY100 and with each new update the former becomes more like the latter. The song writing process is almost identical. I love my QY because of its ability to inspire then get the idea down while it's fresh and immediate. I suppose between Chordbot and MMS I have something close and in the the early stages of song creation both apps have their place.

For me it's a winning combination.

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