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Ultimate Live Band Chart System for iPad

Feb 27 2014 | 4:28 pm

I have decided to tackle an idea I’ve had for a while now, a universal (full band, multi-user, multi-dynamic/modular) system for live ensemble performance. In plain language a touchscreen based platform by which a single "conductor" cues up a song or setlist with one touch of a button and all the appropriate charts/lead sheets/lyrics/string arrangements/ hell-why-not-even lights/ableton sets/video mappings all are loaded to the appropriate band member’s tablet/device and off everyone goes.

I first got the idea when I played in a wedding band near D.C. a few years back, but just got too overwhelmed to ever write anything but some Ableton synced dmx cues. Then the plan got a little more ambitious when I decided to try to put together a group to play live band karaoke, and I knew the flexibility of calling tunes at will and also the need to have a super detailed and regimented system for charting tunes (having a universal template for displaying for example a lyrics display or a quick song overview for glancing at key events/order of solos/etc, everything color-coded (i.e. Verse-green, chorus-blue) would both require a lot of careful planning and perhaps some javascript/C++ elements with which I’m not at all yet comfortable.

So… While I dive in way over my head this evening, I thought I might at least poll the forum and see if there’s any similar interest out there in creating such an awesomely useful (free, and open source of course!) interface for live performers everywhere and see if anyone knows of someone already doing something similar. Any help or encouragement is welcome as always! Can’t express enough thanks for those who have chimed in to my posts in the past!!! I will leave you with a few specific goals I had for the project to see if I can stir up some diaouge. But first, I must inject this sudden recollection of a Max article a few years back on the jazz/funk keyboard legend…

*sidenote: Maybe if Herbie Hancock or anyone on his keyboard tech crew reads this, they’ll offer up some of his code for cueing up keyboard presets/program changing-vst-max/javascript magic. That’d certainly give us midi-instrumentalists/keyboardists a cool bonus, and maybe an insight into other aspects of live cues using Max/Ableton/Logic.

Version 1:

Drag and drop folders (can be individual song folders containing all pertinent scores/lyrics/pdf/etc. or set list folders)

-User configuration
How many ipads? What kind of users(violin, lead vocals, conductor, etc)? One user might use two iPads, one logged in for lyrics, the other displaying arrangement notes or special cues.

Special configurations for foot controllers. For example, today I brought this softstep controller and I want to map this pedal to flip the page for the lyrics, and this one to pick next/previous/random song.

As far as organizing everything, I would probably try to keep that as simple and open-source/cross platform as possible. So in other words, keeping a strict file naming/file path regiment (so as not to worry about having to use too much metadata data to tie files together), and also using .rtf or .txt files with very specific templates for providing metadata (song name, key, tempo, etc.) in a clear and consistent way both for Max and the users who just want to browse through their collection outside of max. Sharing songs made easy that way as well…

I already have a lyrics display patch using Fantastick that is sticky but functional, so I will probably start with that as the v1 core, but I’m thinking it might be more ideal to use Control or something even more flexible if anyone knows of something (or actually I should probably think about building a specific iPad app that can dynamically accept things like pdf files and specific GUI elements/effects.) Not sure I have enough time patience for all that but maybe there’s an angel out there from heaven who’s uninterested in coining his own $20 app, rather more so in helping to further the cause and continuing to rock in the free world?!?!?)

version 2 improvements:

iTunes-like library directory for assembling set lists on the go or simply keeping a catalogue of available songs and file paths for convenience.

Maybe karaoke-style, real-time bouncing balls or scrolling lines across lyrics/scores to keep the user in place. Could be great for education too!

All the special, light/video/ableton session automation I mentioned before…

Mar 01 2014 | 2:45 am

Good, I am not basically from musical background. So, I don’t have much idea about these things.

Anyhow, I really enjoyed with your post and I love to know new things.

Thank you so much for the share. :)


Dec 07 2014 | 7:44 am

For lyrics and musical scores, how about using the bach library? Came across an interesting use of the bach collection in Rodrigo’s dfs performer patch… Would be sweet though if MIRA or another ipad app could display bach.score or bach.roll w/lyrics…

Any more thoughts?

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