The main focus in the app are the three grids. They can be thought of as a kind of sequencer. A multitude of patterns can be created on them, and they are synchronized to a global speed and scale setting. One good way to start would be to create some simple patterns, or just load up an example and start playing with the different harmony and tempo settings.

Home Screen

This is the main view where you can access the grids and toggle the different menus and settings.

  • Tap on a grid to focus on it, this will activate the edit mode. Below the grids you will find a button to pause the playback. A grid which is not playing, will appear with desaturated colors. Tap on the arrow to resume playing.
  • The top row gives you access to the volume, harmony and tempo view, while the bottom row activates the settings and save menus.
  • After a while without activity, the home screen interface fades out, just tap to wake it up.
GridComposer Screenshot Home Screen

Edit Mode

This is the main build mode for editing and managing the patterns on the grid.

  • Tap on the grid to place a note block, tap again on it to remove it. The notes are automatically assigned from the global scale, set in the harmony view.
  • Blocks with a diagonal or straight neighbour are connected to one shape and share the same note. Connected blocks also share the same color shade. When placing or removing blocks, shapes automatically merge and split.
  • The amount of blocks a shape contains, horizontal and vertical, determines the sound volume-velocity, depending on the playhead direction. The playhead behaviour can be adjusted in the tempo view.
  • You can load a premade pattern from the slots on the right side, and save your own. After tapping on the save button you have to select a slot position and override it. These pattern templates are shared for all layers in your current preset.
  • Tap or swipe on the other grids to cycle through them without going back to the home screen.
  • The columns on the left are showing the active global scale. Grey columns are possible notes, while colored columns are actually playing, they are corresponding to the color shades on the grid. It's also possible that multiple shapes share the same note. Tapping on the scale indicator allows you to move up and down in the scale.
  • With the two buttons below, you can cycle through the instruments and adjust their attack value. This value is also modified by the tempo settings, higher speeds have a faster attack and vice versa.
  • Per default all grids are linked to the same global scale. You can toggle the local harmony view and tap on Set Notes to use custom scale settings for this grid. You can always switch back to the global harmony.
GridComposer Screenshot Edit Mode

Volume View

Use this view to adjust the global volume and mix the individual volumes independently.

  • You might want to mute the app here if you are going to use only the midi output.
GridComposer Screenshot Volume View

Harmony View

This mode is used to change the musical key, scale and the played octave. Notes for the grids are chosen randomly, depending on the settings made here.

  • The global scale button shows the selected musical scale. You can switch to a different scale and the notes are automatically reassigned.
  • The global key button allows you to adjust the key note while leaving the scale intervals intact.
  • By tapping on the middle row of buttons you can change the octave for each grid. It shows the selected keynote and the equivalent midi number. They range from C1 (Midi #12) to C8 (Midi #96).
  • The columns in the upper row show the played notes as a short history. The floating dots indicate the played note and velocity. Like in the build mode you can tap on the columns to move up and down in the scale.
GridComposer Screenshot Harmony View

Tempo View

This mode allows you to adjust the global playing speed and playhead behaviour. Use the slider to set the global tempo.

  • The tempo for each grid can be individually multiplied by 2x, 3x and 4x, while 1x is the same as the global tempo. In musical terms, within the 1x setting, one block on a grid would be the equivalent to a whole note, 2x equals to a half note, 4x equals to a quarter note and 3x is a triad.
  • The flying arrow visualises the playhead. It triggers the grid clockwise from the north, east, south and west direction.
  • You can control the playhead flow for each grid by tapping on the four arrows. An open arrow indicates that the direction is active and will be triggered by the playhead. A square will be counted but does not trigger any notes, it's basically a pause. A rectangle will be ignored and the playhead jumps directly to the next side (e.g., a grid with only one arrow will repeatedly play from the same direction).
GridComposer Screenshot Tempo View

Local Harmony View

This view can be accessed from the edit mode and allows you to customize the harmony for each grid individually.

  • Switch the Global Harmony to Local Harmony in the default edit mode and tap the Set Notes button to access the local harmony view screen.
  • Use the top slider to adjust the keynote freely, ignoring the global key.
  • Below is a row with twelve notes. You can toggle each note/interval, except the key. Only notes that are active can be assigned to a block on the grid (e.g., if you activate all notes you will get a 12-tone scale). The changes you make to the scale are instantly applied to the scale indicator and the grid.
  • A grid which is set to Local Harmony mode will appear in color in the harmony view and it will state local instead of global. You will be able to freely move up and down in half notes instead of octaves.
  • If you want the grid to link back to the global harmony, just tap the Local Harmony button.
GridComposer Screenshot Local Harmony View

Save Menu

This menu allows you to manage and save your presets.

  • The saved preset will contain all settings, including custom patterns and local scale settings. Choose a preset from the list to load or delete it. If you want to mark a specific preset, you can give it a highlight color by tapping on it.
  • If you close the app, your current state will be automatically saved.
GridComposer Screenshot Save Menu

Settings Menu

Contains settings for midi output and reverb & delay effects.

  • Midi Settings: Start and stop sending midi notes. Chose if you want to send Static or Dynamic velocity values. The default is Dynamic. The velocity of the notes depends on the amount of blocks that are triggered by the playhead. In the Static Mode you can set a value between 1-127.
  • Delay Settings: Toggle for the global delay effect. With Dynamic on, the delay time will be set automatically, depending on the global Tempo. Under Static delay you are able to set the delay time manually.
  • Reverb Settings: Toggle for the global reverb, including sliders for reverb time and size.
  • The delay and reverb settings will be saved for each preset.
  • Having many isolated shapes and using both reverb and delay effects might affect the performance and sound quality on old devices like the iPhone 4s or iPad 2. But in the most cases GridComposer will run just fine on those older hardware.
GridComposer Screenshot Settings Menu

Connectivity

Version 1.1 added support for Audiobus, Inter-App Audio and Core-Midi.

  • You can stream live audio directly to other Audiobus and Inter-App Audio compatible apps. It is recommended to start Gridcomposer from inside the Audiobus or IIA app to avoid possible connectivity issues.
  • To send midi notes to other apps you have to open a port by tapping the Midi-Switch in the settings screen. The app is sending to channels 2-4 (small bug in this version) for each grid. You can chose to send a dynamic velocity based on the amount of "blocks" or to set the velocity via the slider manually. You might also consider to lower the volume to zero in the mixer.
  • The app will only continue to run, and play sound, in the background when connected to another app via IAA or AB. Or when having an open Midi Port.