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Musix is a fully-customizable multiple-layout isomorphic musical keyboard. Each hexagon on the screen is a note, and surrounding hexagons are harmonically related. Songwriters benefit by discovering new melodies and musical relationships. Novices find it easy to learn to play. Experienced musicians are rewarded with an intuitive interface. Shiverware presents Musix: the definitive isomorphic keyboard. For beginners, for experts, for you!
From wikipedia: "An isomorphic keyboard is a musical input device consisting of a two-dimensional array of note-controlling elements (such as buttons or keys) on which any given sequence and/or combination of musical intervals has the “same shape” on the keyboard wherever it occurs – within a key, across keys, across octaves, and across tunings."
What this means is that once you have learned a pattern, say a chord or a scale, that pattern is the same for all keys, even the dreaded A-Flat! What's more, you can learn to play melodies on a traditional keyboard by playing them on the Musix keyboard and watching where the sharps and flats go.
Songwriters benefit by discovering new melodies and musical relationships. Novices find it easy to learn to play. Experienced musicians are rewarded with an intuitive interface.
There are many isomorphic keyboards out there, from concertinas, accordions, and "jammers" (which use the wicki-hayden layout) to harmonic-table keyboards and more. You can have them all in one application, and more besides.
Hexagonal isomorphic keyboards are defined by the harmonic relationship between the keys. You can define the relationship in two directions, say a major third and a minor third, and the third direction is the difference of these two intervals (in this case, a semitone).
Musix comes with a set of built-in layouts which use different harmonic relationships between the notes. Each layout has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, the harmonic table layout allows you to play a major or minor chord with one finger, by touching at the intersection of any three hexagons. The Wicki-Hayden layout puts all the white keys together. Try them all and find one that works for you.
Musix has six real-time FM-synthesized instrument sounds. No wavetables here. Each note sound is synthesized on-the-fly, meaning that you get the full richness of bass and brightness of treble that the iPhone/iPad speaker or your headphones can generate.
Musix can wirelessly send the notes you play to a computer. This means you can use the synthesizers and audio software you already own to make great music wirelessly with the Musix interface.
You can change the size of the keys to fit your fingers and your dexterity - start practicing with epic-sized keys and as you get better you can make the keys smaller to give you more notes on the screen. Keyboard layouts are fully customizable - create your own isomorphic keyboard centred on any note. Remove the note labels for a clean look.
Shiverware presents Musix: the definitive isomorphic keyboard. For beginners, for experts, for you!
Musix comes bundled with a set of pre-fab layouts which includes two of the more popular isomorphic layouts as well as two we designed as part of the development of the app. In addition, we are including three more layouts at no extra cost, but we are not providing detailed pattern sets for those keyboards. Each layout has its strengths and weaknesses, and we encourage you to try them all and find one that works for you.
Included Layouts and Their DefinitionsClick on a layout name for more information:
- Gerhard (- Maj. 3rd; + Min. 3rd; Vertical) Designed specifically for the iPhone/iPad and Musix, this layout attempts to balance the advantages and disadvantages of other layouts listed below. Scales are tight and chords fit naturally on the fingers.
- Park (- Min. 3rd; + Maj. 2nd; Horizontal) A variation on the Wicki-Hayden (listed below), this layout, white notes are together making patterns easier to see, and scales can be played by sliding fingers along the screen. Alternate and jazz chords are compact, which means this pattern sounds great when button mashing.
- Wicki-Hayden (- Perf. 4th; - Perf 5th; Horizontal) This is the classic layout used for centuries on Accordions and Concertinas. White notes are together, and the I-IV-V pattern of many many songs forms a compact triangle. Scales play linearly left-to-right (like a piano) with jumps for each semitone. Whole-tine scales are linear. Simple chords are comfortable, more complex chords are more challenging. This is also the preferred layout for "jammer" instruments.
- Harmonic (- Maj. 3rd; - Min 3rd; Horizontal) Also called the Harmonic Table, this relatively modern layout was developed and popularized by C-Thru Music, the makers of the excellent Axis line of isomorphic MIDI keyboards. The harmonic table provides impossibly easy chords, with major and minor triads in triangles playable with a single finger. Scales are somewhat cumbersome, but as with all layouts, once learned in one key, all other keys are the same pattern.
The hexagon overlap attribute describes the overlap area on a key in which the neighbouring key can be played simultaneously with one touch. A low overlap value will result in a small overlapping area. Likewise a high overlap value will result in a larger overlapping area. To adjust the overlap attribute, go to your iPhone/iPad Settings.
Choose Musix and adjust the Hexagon Overlap Size slider.
The lowest value (slider all the way to the left) indicates no overlap while the highest value (slider all the way to the right) indicates an overlap of approximately 30% of the neighbouring keys. Illustrated below is the maximum overlap of two isolated hexagon keys.
InstrumentsSix instrument sounds are included in Musix:
Each sound is created from scratch using FM-Synthesis. This allows the creation of complex harmonic spectra or in other words, full and rich sound.
Musix can wirelessly send the notes you play to a computer. This means you can use the synthesizers and audio software you already own to make great music wirelessly with the Musix interface. For more details see below:How to Configure OSC/Midi
How-to: Roll Your Own Isomorphic Layout
To roll your own layout, Choose an interval for each direction (South-East and South-West) and choose Horizontal or Vertical Layout.
Left-to-right: South-west interval, South-east interval, Orientation.
Optionally, choose a hex size and a center note.
Left-to-right: Hex size, Center note.
All hexagonal layouts are defined by the intervals in each of the six directions. For a layout to be isomorphic, (making patterns the same in all keys), an interval in one direction must be the same for each note, meaning that regardless of where you start, going south-east will always be, say, a major fifth, and therefore going the opposite direction (north-west) will always be the opposite interval (a descending major fifth, in this case)
So while it looks like you can define six intervals, one for each direction, three of the directions are constrained to be the opposite interval of the opposing direction, and thus can't be defined. But if you look a little deeper, you can only define two intervals.
If you go south-east, and then south-west, and then north, you end up back at the same note, making those three notes a triangle. If you know two of those intervals, the third must take you back to the original note for the keyboard to stay isomorphic. So really, all you need to do is choose two intervals to define the layout. The third is the sum of the other two, in the opposing direction
For example, in the Harmonic layout, the south-east direction is a descending minor third (3 semitones), and the south-west direction is a descending major third (4 semitones). the sum of these intervals is seven semitones (a fifth), so the north direction (the third leg in the triangle) must be an ascending fifth.
In Musix, you can define the interval for the south-east direction and the south-west direction, and all other intervals will be calculated and filled in. For example, for the wicki-hayden layout, south-east is a descending perfect fourth, and south-west is a descending perfect fifth.
One more feature to choose is whether the layout is horizontal or vertical. horizontal layouts have an east-west direction but no north-south direction, and vertical layouts have a north-south direction but no east-west direction.