planeTrance – a music generating program

With the Mobile Music Platform I created a program that generates music from the frequencies of our solar system’s planets. It runs on Android or iOS and You can get it for free: You have to install the MobMuPlat from the store (it´s free – consider donating though…) for Your mobile device from the Play Store (Android) or the App Store (iOS) and get my program at the end of the page here.

Now a detailed description of all functionality:

On top of the first page…

first page of planeTrance

…You find the „Start“ button. You can double-click it to toggle the Random-Mode on or off, in which the program randomly changes all parameters described below.
Below You can select the frequency of a one of our solar system´s planets, either the frequency of its orbit around the sun (year) or its rotation (day), which then sets the underlying parameters the program works with: pitch and time, which are all octaves of the selected frequency, (unless stated otherwhise). A short description follows beneath. Changes to this setting are kept through program close.
At the bottom of this page You can store The current settings of the program as a Preset in order to recall it again later („store new Preset“). For example, if the program is not running in Random-Mode You might have fun making Your own settings of the parameters described below, create Your own repeating pattern, and store it this way. The menu „load Preset“ below will contain any of the Presets You stored. With the button „overwrite“ at the right You can store the selected Preset again, if You made some changes to it you want to keep.
With the blue edged menu on the right hand you can select a wave-shape which modifies the amplitude of a filtered white noise, which is added if the button to the left is switched on („noise naturals added“, when off it displays „add noise natural“). The different wave-shapes should be self explanatory.

If you find a place on the screen without any button or menu (for example placing your finger on the description text) you can swipe over to the second page:

second page of planeTrance

Here, on the mixer-page You have two effect sends for the bassdrumbar (next page, see below), the chords- (fourth page) and the hihats/snaresbar (fifth page). In the mixer…

Reverb and Overdrive Sends

…the first three sliders (dark background) specify the volume of the bassdrum-, the chords- and the hihat/snaresbar (see below) sent to a reverb effect. With the next three (light background) You control the output of the same three bars sent to an overdrive effect. Below on the left the dark reverb-slider changes the roomsize of the reverb and on the right hand the distortion amount of the overdrive.
In the x-y-touchpad below you can change two of these parameters randomly selected on touch per finger with up to four fingers at once.

random multi touch XYPad

If You succeed in swiping over to the third page…

third page of planeTrance

…You´re at the bass-drum’s page. Touch the button on the top-middle to randomize all settings on this page at once („randomize all bass drums“). At its right You can adjust the amount of switched on bassdrums when hitting this button. This setting is kept through program close.
Below is a 4 x 4 matrix of the repeating pattern of the bass drums (the „bass drum bar“ – sequencer). The speed at which it is read You can set in the menu at the top-left of the page („speed“), prividing speed at eighths, sixteenths or thirtyseconds. Within this matrix You switch the bass drums at the specific position on or off, starting with beat 1.1 at the top left, to its right 1.2, below 2.1 and so forth up to the 4.4 on the bottom right. With the button below this matrix You can add a filtered white noise to the on-beat positions of this bassdrumbar.
When switching a position on, all other parameters on this page are made for the selected position, which is highlighted then and labeled (eg. „bass drum 4-1“). You can randomize all following parameters for the current position with the light blue button on the middle-right of the page (eg. „randomize pos 4-1“). This button has a second function: Holding it, You can copy all settings of the currently selected position of the bar (e.g. „pos 4-1“) by touching the position in the bassdrumbar where You want to copy this position to. This is useful if You designed a nice sounding bassdrum (see below) on the first position and want to have it for example on every on-beat (pos 2-1, 3-1, 4-1).
In the frequence-envelope for the current position…

Frequencer Envelope for the selected bass drum position

…You can set its frequencies: The Bass Drums are simply made by a Sine-Wave gliding quickly from a starting frequency (eg. „start freq: 34.026 Hz“) to another (eg.“freq: 68.051 Hz“) in a specified time (eg. „glide time: 117.559 ms“). Usually the starting time should be above the end-frequency, which should be below 100 Hz and the glide-time not to long. All provided frequencies as well as the glide-times are octaves of the frequency of the planet set on the first page and when adjusting, a label appearing informs You about the selected octave.
With the amp-envelope for the current position…

Amp Envelope for the selected bass drum position

…You can set its Volume: The „attack amp:“ is the starting amplitude to which the volume jumps from zero within the „attack time: ms“, falling down to the „sustain amp:“ within the „decay time: ms“, resting there for during the „sustain time: ms“ and returning to zero within the „release time: ms“.

Pictogram of a bass drum generation

With unusual settings here You of course get something not quite resembling to a bass drum…

Ok, lets go on with the fourth page:

fourth page of planeTrance

The upper two-thirds of this page work the same way as described for the second, the bass drum page, except that the chord sequencer is of double length. Below the chord-bars-matrix You can choose three different naturals of a fixed octave of the frequency selected on page one for the selected position, building a „chord“.

Naturals for the selected chord sequencer position building a 'chord'

Natural one is located to the left in Your earphone’s stereo panorama, the third in the right and the second in the middle. To this one a slight delay is added. When setting the naturals a label appearing informs You about the chosen natural of the fixed octave.
After setting a natural for the selected position in the matrix, You can adjust its fading in and out with the knobs of a simple amp envelope below:

Amp envelope for the selected natural of the selected chord sequencer position

When changes are made here a label appearing informs You which octave of the planet’s frequency You chose on page one the set time corresponds to.
All settings for all naturals of each position are easily randomized with the button at the top-middle of this page…

Last but not least on the fifth page…

fifth page of planeTrance

…You can make settings to the and snares, made of white noise filtered. With the upper half of the page You should by now be familiar. For the selected position in the matrix You can toggle two different modes: Whether You want it to sound like a snare or like a hihat („Mode: …“). When in hihat-Mode the stereo-position of the sound is settable to the right of this button (Left – Middle – Right), snares are always located in the middle („panning: … „). Below You can set the filter’s frequency for the white noise („freq: Hz“), its Volume („amp:“) and attack and sustain times. With the „clipcrush:“ at the bottom left the sound can be „ruffened“ by clipping the amplitude of the randomly generated noise and at the bottom right You can add a simple room to the sound. All these settings can be randomly set for the selected position by hitting the light blue button „randomize pos X-X“ in the middle-right of the page. Similar to this buttom on the bassdrumpage you can copy the selected position to any other when long-pressing it.

In the end, if You like this program there is one more good news: All parameters are fully midi-controllable! Have a look at the „midi_Implementation.txt“ file in the Zip-Archiv for more info.

Have fun with the planeTrance, and if You like it and want more free music apps you´re welcome to donate here:

There’ll probably be some updates in the future so come back here from time to time, I´m looking forwards seeing You,

Homepage von Reinhard Jordan