App Tip: Scott Garner Volotic

Treat 4-bar musical phrases like a relaxing puzzle game
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INSPIRED BY tower-defense games, Scott Garner’s Volotic for iPad (iOS 6.0 or later, scottmadethis. net) performs three-directional sequencing of instrument and drum sounds on a 16x20 grid using a variety of devices to create pitch and timing variety. Its soothing sounds and non-linear approach to composition make it feel more like a meditative problem-solving exercise.

1. Drag an Emitter from the drawer on the left into a blank grid. This shoots a dot across the grid once per beat.

2. Drag a Router in front of the dot to multiply the dots or vary their timing.

3. Drag one of the nine drums, nine instruments, or nine tones into the path of a dot to play the sound. Vary the sound’s distance from the Emitter to change its timing. Tap the sound’s icon to mute it.

4. Put a Scale or Arpeggio icon in front of a sound to create a pitch progression, or put a Tuning icon in front of it to determine its constant pitch.

5. Repeat the process to build out a full-sounding loop. Try sending multiple Emitters to the same sound device, using different Scales and Arpeggios to create a lot of variety.

6. Drag the grid around the screen to mute off-screen elements or tap different element to turn them off and create a mini-improvisation.

7. If you have iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite, you can record Volotic’s audio into Quicktime Player.

Volotic is free at the iTunes App Store; adding save functionality costs $0.99.