Hands-on DJ (working title) is an entry for the Intel App Innovation Contest 2013 aimed at providing Entertainment for the Lenovo Horizon All-In-One. The application will demonstrate the capabilities of the AIO multitouch by allowing up to 10 touch positions from the user to create music.
This application will be developed in C++ using FModEx library for audio effects alongside AGK library for rendering and input.
Music composition today can be a daunting task for those that aren't in the industry, and it is usually accompanied by equally daunting software. Normally someone would need an actual instrument, or interesting piano apps found online to play some music. Hands-on DJ will attempt to break the ice of making music for anyone, both industry pros and newcomers alike.
Using the application
Hands-on DJ utilizes a variety of gestures and basic natural hand postures to create music using a variety of synth instruments.
When the application is running, the user is presented with an essentially blank screen. Interacting with this screen via touch will generate musical notes based on gesture and touch location. Visuals are produced with each note played, and as the music carries on, background visuals will join in to enhance the experience.
There will be 3 instruments capable of being played at any given time: Main Instrument, Secondary Instrument, and Rhythm Instrument. By default these will be Guitar, Bass Guitar, and Drums, respectively, though they may be changed through options allowing a wide variety of instrument combinations.
The Main and Secondary Instruments are played by tapping or swiping across the screen. Lower notes are played by touching toward the left side of the screen while higher notes are played toward the right of the screen. Volume of the note is determined by vertical position with the bottom of the screen being quiet notes and the top of the screen being louder notes. Naturally notes can be held by pressing longer and can be slurred by swiping between notes. The Main and Secondary Instruments are differentiated by a split screen with one instrument to the left and the other to the right. The sections are determined by the tinted color given to them, blue represents the Main while green represents the Secondary.
The Rhythm Instrument is unique in play style, allowing for a limited number of sounds but for quick, accurate, and rhythmic play. Play the rhythm by placing and resting your wrist on the screen and then tapping with any of your fingers or thumb. Each finger will play a different sound from the rhythm soundset.
Changing Splitscreen/Fullscreen Instrument:
The screen can be altered by swiping with 4 fingers. Swiping to the left will bring the right-hand instrument to fullscreen, while swiping to the right will bring the left-hand instrument to fullscreen. If an instrument is already fullscreen, swiping will bring the missing instrument back into splitscreen. This allows the instruments not only to be played with either halfscreen or fullscreen, but also to optionally swap which side of the screen an instrument is played on.
Modes of use:
There are planned to be a few "modes" for using the application.
- "Free-Style" mode will have basic visuals and offer all instrument play at will.
- "Carry On (Auto)" mode will offer the same functionality of Free-Style, but the application will attempt to remember various instrument verses as they are played by the user, and it will use those verses to carry on the play of music automatically by repeating the played verses in the background.
- "Carry On (Manual)" mode is identical to Carry On (Auto) except that the user must tell the application to remember an instrument verse by starting and stopping a recording session. Any verses recorded this way will be played automatically in the background while the user continues to play music.
- "DJ" mode will offer more advanced control to the user, taking Carry On (Manual) functionality to record verses without the automatic playing. The user will determine what verses will play and when they will be played.
Automated play vs Manual play: How the Carry On mode can assist
While it's entirely possible to play multiple instruments at once, sometimes it's just easier or more relaxing to play a little at a time and listen to the effect of building a musical foundation. The Carry On modes will use short clips of music played by the user to play accompanying background music, assisting to carry the music along.
Carry On (Auto) will listen to the user play and record short sections of notes for playback later. Not everything played by the user will be recorded. The application will do its best to discern "usable" sections for recording.
Carry On (Manual) won't record notes until the user initiates a recording session. Recorded verses will still be played automatically in the background without the user's instruction. This mode is great for those that want to get a good rhythm and harmony going for a song, then play unique verses over the top.
Verses can be played with:
When a verse is played, either during a Carry On session or during a DJ session, it will be represented by a shape with edges that visualize to what it's playing. While these make for nice visuals, they are also interactive!
- To play (DJ mode) or stop a verse (DJ/Carry On), quickly grab the edge of the shape with 3 fingers (or 2 fingers and a thumb) and let go. It's almost like clicking, but with a grip.
- You can change a verse's volume by grabbing it with 3 fingers as before, then rotating it like a knob. The vulem will be displayed as a number within or near the verse bubble.
- "Forget" a verse by grabbing it with 3 fingers, then slide and release it to fling it off-screen. Forgotten verses won't come back!
Stopping a verse in Carry On mode will skip the verse but probably play it later on, while forgetting a verse will keep it from playing ever again.
- New features
- Added images