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MusixPro and ThumbJam, etc.


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I don't start many threads, since I am but moderately experienced, at best.  And please excuse any redundancy, since these have been mentioned otherwhere on these fora, for sure. But, the recent thread started by Randy Stein,  regarding teaching concertina to children motivated me.  I have 5 grandchildren, and two particularly show interest in the squeeze.  They are 7 and 4 as I write this, and both make "nice" noises on the Anglo and, particularly, on the Hayden Elise.  Of course, this can lead to the "why can't you practice so you don't disturb the family?" questions.  Imagine that!

 

So, here's my "silent practice" (and more expansive musical exploration) suggestion:

 

If you are iPad or iPhone users, download 2 apps:  MusixPro and ThumbJam.  I think they cost 5 or ten dollars each, but are more than worth it, to me. MusixPro has the ability to play in many isomorphic keyboard arrangements, but we use Hayden and Janko, which are easy for the kids (and the Grandpa) to learn, and play, as you all know, all keys with similar fingering shapes.  Sadly, the built-in sounds are, well, simple and not that exciting.  Not "real" concertina, or anything.  But, it will output MIDI information with simple settings and controls, including touch and velocity adjustments. Enter ThumbJam (and a shout-out to regular contributor here, Michael Eskin for his great instrumental samples for lots of free-reed devices) which allows terrific-sounding music to be made, with or without headphones, and really provides excellent practice without. I have enjoyed MusixPro for years, but for some reason only just discovered ThumbJam and put the two together early this month.  Now, while someone else watches endless Masterpiece series I can be 6 feet away playing whatever I like, and when the kids are here (or we, there) they can play softly enough for gentle sharing, or silently for their own amusement.  It's a winner, for us.  MusixPro and ThumbJam combination lets me access those great Eskin sounds (and myriad others) with the to-me-more-approachable isomorphic keyboard. 

 

Great practice, and great fun, with perhaps even ultimate performance possibilities, although a more tactile (Striso? Melodicade?) interface would be a blast.

 

 

 

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As I mentioned in my post, I never even saw ThumbJam until early this month.  There may be other IOS synths/etc. that would work, but for the money, TJam gives great sounds.  Now I can pretend to play any instrument, with the Hayden or Janko keyboard.   Like cello, David B.?  

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3 hours ago, David Colpitts said:

There may be other IOS synths/etc. that would work, but for the money, TJam gives great sounds.

I agree that Thumbjam is a very good app, but I also use Bismark bs16-i in my iPad, as a favourite synthesizer for my MIDI tina. See https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bismark-bs-16i/id388149926

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10 hours ago, David Barnert said:

Because it can sound like a concertina or because it can sound like anything but?

 

More the latter - If I want a concertina that sounds like a concertina I have several real ones! bs-16-i does support soundfonts, so It's quite capable of sounding quite tina-like - see https://www.bismark.jp/bs-16i

 

However I like it's ability to handle multiple MIDI channels playing different instruments. My MIDI concertina can output three channels at different octave transpositions, so with bs16-i it can play a viola at pitch, a piccolo flute an octave up, and a cello an octave down. More commonly I choose two instruments - saxophone and glockenspiel?

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