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Fugue Machine – A multi-playhead piano roll app from Alexandernaut

The much-anticipated Fugue Machine by Alexander Randon (Alexandernaut) was just released today.

It's good. So good.

Check out the demo video below:

You may already own Alexandernaut's other app, Arpeggionome. Much like that app, Fugue Machine approaches music sequencing in an entirely unique way. Using up to four playheads simultaneously, you are capable of creating some incredible patterns and rhythms. The beauty here is the simplicity of the app. In listening to some of the demos on SoundCloud, you will hear rich layers of sound, weaving in and out. It sounds complex, but it really is simple to create.

Using a familiar piano roll, you simply input notes on the grid. You can choose the key and scales in the Settings menu, and away you go. Where the magic happens is with the options for each playhead. For each playhead, you can choose the tempo, start position, octave, pitch relative to the note, velocity (even per note), or you can invert the selection entirely (more on that in a bit).

So, conceivably you can have one playhead at the standard tempo, another playing twice as fast in reverse, another playing triplets in a forward/back movement, and another playing half-speed tuned down a fifth. That's just one example. There's almost an infinite number of ways to play Fugue Machine.


You can choose the number of bars on the piano roll, and shorten or lengthen these on-the-fly. Manually add notes as the playheads move across, or remove them. You can transpose the entire piece with one simple adjustment of the slider on the right side of the screen. Or you can invert one or more of the playheads, which means that the highest pitch becomes the lowest pitch, and the lowest pitch becomes the highest pitch. It's just mental.

Like Arpeggionome, Fugue Machine does come with an internal synth. It's honestly not bad, but we've all got loads of synths on our iPad that we'd likely prefer to use. Enter MIDI. You can use Fugue Machine as a MIDI sequencer for your other apps. Obvious choices here are piano apps, or maybe some orchestral apps, like Sample Tank. I also quite liked using Ruckers 1628 for that old school harpsichord sound.

But, here's where you can think outside the box. Try a drum app for some crazy polyrhythms. Use Alchemy Mobile (R.I.P.) or Mitosynth for some wild ambient spookiness. This app will get you to create things that you haven't even thought of creating before. The interface is intuitive, user-friendly, and great for making adjustments as you go.

The app currently only send MIDI out on one channel for now. Alexander has stated that having the ability of sending each playhead out to separate MIDI channels (and therefore multiple apps) is at the top of his to-do list. That is going to be absolutely brilliant.

This app has been in the works for awhile now, and at launch it is working very well for a 1.0 version. During the time of development, Alexander has been teasing us with some audio demos along the way. Check out some of those below:

There are some apps on the App Store that will help you create something seemingly from nowhere. As I don't always have "a plan" in mind when I sit down to play, these inspirational apps are great for me. Some examples are KORG Gadget, Patterning by Olympia Noise Co., and now Fugue Machine. Within minutes, you'll have something to work with. Fugue Machine is the kind of app that reminds me how great iOS music can be. I can't recommend this app highly enough. Go get this.

If you're thinking about buying Fugue Machine, please consider clicking through our App Store link below. Thanks!

[app 1014191410]



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