Video/Audio Open Access

PhaseRings App Demo

Martin, Charles

This video shows a demo of PhaseRings, a touch-screen musical instrument app for iPad. PhaseRings is an annular interface for performing expressive music with touch gestures. Each ring on the screen represents a different pitch; these rings can be tapped and swirled to create combinations of long and short notes. The angle and size of taps changes the timbre and volume of these notes. While this interface originated with the Singing Bowls app, PhaseRings introduced a generative composition system, seven expressive sound schemes, and a system of menus for user configuration. The sound schemes included percussive sampled sounds, such as marimba and singing bowls, as well as phase and string synthesis sounds.

Three compositions of pitches are included in the app, but the user can define their own custom composition by choosing a sequence of root pitches and scales. This flexibility has allowed PhaseRings to be used by musicians to add sounds to their own musical works. PhaseRings is compatible with the AudioBus and inter-app audio systems for making internal audio and MIDI connections on iOS devices and can thus be used as a sound source for other apps that record or process audio. PhaseRings was released on the iTunes App Store in November 2014 to coincide with the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC). Since its release, PhaseRings has been used by Ensemble Metatone, the ANU New Music Ensemble, as well as adopted by other musicians for their own projects.

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