Alternate input... But still Thumbjam style

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Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:38 pm

Alternate input... But still Thumbjam style

Post by packtlike »


First of all, you've done a great job with Thumbjam and your replies in this forum are a great way to understand your vision.
Special thanks for the integration of Sonoma AudioCopy/AudioPaste and Intua Pasteboard, you clearly have understand something that too much music app provider didn't.

Here is my feature request: Chords
It would be great to be able to directly play chords (Major, Minor, 7th, ...). A good example of what could be done and I think match with your "new instrument" vision is "Simple Songwriter" interface (a free version is available in the App store). Using the chosen key, only few chords, minor/major/7th, inversions are displayed (according to harmonic progressions). The idea would be to adapt the Thumbjam keyboard/keypad to have access to some chords according to the chosen scale and key.
It would be great to record a rhythmic grid with piano or guitar. Perhaps with an option, an arpeggio could even be added.

Thanks a lot for Thumbjam,

P.S.: I know it is not a "Thumbjam compliant" request ;-) but an old style "piano keyboard" could be sometimes helpful.

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Your request is very much

Post by Jesse »

Your request is very much along the lines of the current plan for the chord feature.

While we're on the topic, do you think that the chord pads should actually play the chord or should they momentarily change the scale to only include notes in that scale so that they can be "manually" strummed/played/arpegiated? I can see use for both.

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Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:38 pm

It surely depends on the ease

Post by packtlike »

It surely depends on the ease to manipulate the "chord pads". I prefer a usable minimal interface (that simply play the chord) rather than a complete one that I can not use ;-).

With a "Simple Songwriter" inspiration, I think it is possible once you have chosen the key to split the screen in 2 parts: one to choose the chord and the other one to play the notes (I would add a special note to play the complete chord). It would be great for expressiveness. But I would not do that if it makes the simple "play chord" feature harder to perform reducing the number of chords easily playable, no? Maybe not, most of the song sounds good with simple chord progressions (Major, minor, 7th and few inversions).

Anyway that is a great news! I am eager to ear and to "thumbjam" with it!

If I can be of any help please ask.

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Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:46 am

Hello, I would very much go

Post by mat »


I would very much go into the 'Ishred' kind of flexibility toward chords selection (custom build your own set of chords however odd they may seem to someone else's ear...) as "simple songwriter" kind of choice is really too limited, many artist I like are into unusual chord progressions and this is what makes their music the way it is.
To me chords (like ten of them) on one side (say left like notes of the screen when you press #b) (indeed two ways are possible to me:split like for drum instruments or over the 'scale' like note control)and a scale reproducing the notes on as many octaves as the user would like (the usual span and oct controls) on the right side. If note control could actually be either notes or chords (selecting one mode in the 'edit/controls' menu) with chords being custom built/chosen then it would be pretty 'thumbjammy' but on steroids (+OSC and DSMidi (can't remember the new name) with this feature and God knows what will be produced with this wonder!)


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I think chord pads could have

Post by uhh »

I think chord pads could have exactly the same layout as drum kits, with the added Thumbjam ability to split the screen in two; chord pads at the bottom, and horizontal bars for notes at the top.

With chord pads the same size as drum pads, you could include the following nice features:

- Press pad: play chord.
- Slide finger left to right on pad: arpeggio from low to high
- Slide right to left: arpeggio from high to low
(Maybe slide speed also could determine arpeggio speed?)
- X value of where on the pad you press/slide determines velocity, so you could easily play both soft and loud chords.
(Maybe this should be restricted to three different velocity levels, for left, mid, and right presses/slides)

Perhaps some users would rather prefer to have more chords on screen than these slide and velocity effects. In that case, a menu setting could allow for 4 columns instead of 2. Then only two rows of chord pads would allow for 8 different chords, and it wouldn't take that much screen space (just look at the bottom two rows of a drum kit). How many chord pad rows to see should be configurable. If space allows, it would be nice to include another +/- in the Key Controls menu, to add or remove a row. Then a user could fill the entire screen with chords, should he prefer that, or he could have just a single row of chords.

I agree that flexible chord configuration like in iShred is preferred. If possible, I would also love to see the ability of automatically having chords set based on scale/key. I have no musical background, so I'm not sure how this would best be done (but I would certainly love to play with such a feature! As I'm sure other thumbjammers would do as well).

I think also a small forward/backward button in the top right corner of the chord pad rows would be useful. Pressing forward would bring up a new set of chords (configured in some chord creation menu beforehand). Then one could have access to many chords while performing, without needing much screen space. A user should be able to set up as many "chord pages" as he wishes. Another nice feature would be the ability to import chords from a midi file (e.g. from the ProChords app)and have these chord pages set up automatically.

I really hope the "press to play chord, slide to play arpeggio" could work out. Your suggestion of not triggering sound when pressing a chord (but rather change the notes on the screen) is also good. If possible, I'd like to configure in some menu whether I want this or the sound triggering. I think chord presses should play sound by default, making it easier to grasp the possibilities for new users.

Bonus benefit of having chord pads in the same style as drum pads: less clutter, similar design throughout the app, reuse of code(?).

That was my first post here. Thanks for the two new instruments today, I really liked the swirly strings! And thank you so much for this wonderful software with high quality samples! Thumbjam and Jasuto are the two apps that have impressed me most, by far.

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This kind of trick is

Post by inrock »

This kind of trick is possible.

It would be great to be able to choose major, minor, 7th chords in the 'key controls' menu.
and to be able to choose longer 'retrigger time interval'

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A lot of great suggestions

Post by packtlike »

A lot of great suggestions have emerged in this post !

User interface is a difficult process, and having various points of view is a good way to think about it differently.
But I see in this post that there are two visions of what is the purpose of a "chords" feature:
* "iShred" like
* "Simple Songwriter" like
I would like to explain why I prefer, for "chords" feature, a "Simple songwriter" inspiration rather than iShred.

Actually, I love iShred & Guitar, I have both and enjoy playing with those apps. But I see those "instruments" as "interpretation" instruments. I mean you have to know what you will play: you prepare your chord progression and then you play. You still have freedom in rhythm, arpeggio. but for chord progression it is too late.
"Simple songwriter" is more about exploring, improvising. Even if it is (too) simple, it is about looking for inspiration. And I think that sounds more "Thumbjam": having a complete/real new instrument.
With my (real) guitar, I explore chord progressions playing. I let my finger and my ears discover new things. I am not telling "ok, now I will play Am7 F Bdim... it will sound great".

It would be great to be able to customize accessible chords, to have a long list of chords under our thumb (it can be possible to slide through a long list while playing). But for me it has to be "playable" as with an instrument.
If I know my chord progression, I can use iShred, iGuitar or anything else, record/save it and import it in Thumbjam.

Thank you Jesse, Matt, Uhh and Inrock for this constructive discussion.


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Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:46 am

Hello, though a standard set

Post by mat »


though a standard set of chords could be useful as a default setting, I'm definitely not for a limitation to that: this is how for example AG7 guitar controller works (you have keys and major/minor/7th/Min7th etc...) and it is both very limited and very frustrating. Thumbjam is to me (and the way I'm using it) both an inspiration tool and/but primarily a performance instrument (just as any other "real world" instrument).

The point is exactly so: I play chords today the way Inrock's video link shows (either arpeggiating (I got the trick from the same video) or striking multiple notes at a time) using the 'chord' scales, the problem being to be limited to one kind of chord at a time. Dropping this limitation to fall into another one doesn't make sense to me: just as custom scale construction would be great, custom "chord scale" construction would allow not to die of the "this-would-be-where-I-would-play-this-unconventional-chord-but-can't-access-it-right-now-DAM'IT" syndrom.

If I want to explore chord progressions I either use something else (like pro chords) or just jam, on Thumbjam (but I also do it on Ishred precisely for this: its "whatever-chord-I-want-right-now" capacity), just the way I do it on my guitar or bass or keyboard.

Once I have a tune in my head (sometimes from just plain "head singing" on the go) I want to play it on thumbjam, coming with an arrangement, a performance, whatever, and record it before it's gone. But if I would loose the DIRECT link on the SAME instrument (and my favorite for all these functions is definitely Thumbjam today) from exploration to performance (and the great thing about Thumbjam is its ability to come out with very decent (expression/sound quality wise)performances among other things)then I would lose a great part of the benefit of Thumbjam (and as such the benefit I can see in having chords in it, both one shot and arpeggio capable). This would be really too frustrating.

My two cents


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Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 10:03 pm

Personally, I'd love to have

Post by ListTowardsLight »

Personally, I'd love to have alternate note input interfaces. I play cello and guitar, guitars in either standard or DADGAD tuning, and I'd love the option to define a string-style fingerboard for input as an alternate setting. That might be some feature creep, but I'd rather be doing this in Thumbjam than hopping over to an app that doesn't do what Thumbjam does and doesn't sound nearly so good!

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