We think some of the biggest barriers to good digital music making experiences are:
- It is tricky it is to set up a digital music making experience - the technology can be complicated to connect together
- When someone has created some music using digital tools it can be tricky to find ways to perform that music live
- When working as a digital band it can be difficult to coordinate the players - bands don’t normally have conductors!
- Using brand new, cutting edge technology can often be expensive and unstable, not ideal for an arts organisation or facilitator trying to make dependable music making experiences
We knew that we wanted to find solutions for these barriers that would work for Heart n Soul and that could be used by other arts organisations and music facilitators. We decided to create some software called the SoundLab App that can be used with Ableton Live, the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) that we use. Ableton Live Intro costs 79 Euros and is compatible with our app.
We are just finishing the first version of it now and we will soon be making available for others to use.
What does the SoundLab App do?
The SL-App is a small bit of software that makes it easy to use devices to control your music. To get the SL-App up and running we have started by focusing on making Ableton Live work with a Sony Move Controller. We chose the Move controller because it is cheap, easily available and highly flexible.
We wanted the experience to be simple to setup for the musician.Ideally they would just choose which aspect of their music they wanted to control and how it should be controlled. You can see here a screenshot of an early version of the interface.
When we release the SL-app we will do demonstrations of different ways it can used. We think the SL-App will be useful for:
- expressive music making and improvisation
- conducting others playing - a tool for a new kind of digital conductor
- performing elements live from songs that have already been composed
We also want to tackle one of the other barriers we identified - the problem with getting set up. Our aim is to make the SL-App something that is very easy to set up by a musician or musical facilitator. We will be adding new devices alongside the Move Controller, and this should mean that it will simple to set up a digital band with ableton live as the hub and a bunch of devices for participants to use in different ways.
We have created a first draft of a user guide so that you can get a bit more detailed view of how it will work.