IVory Tower is a musical instrument that can either be used as a wireless MIDI controller via DSMI, the DS Music Interface, or using it's own internal standalone practice electric guitar. It features over 3 octaves, transposable, on one screen with bending, sliding and a novel easy to learn and fast to play layout. It features the ease of piano crossed with the expressive bending and vertical play of guitar. Has wireless expressive soloing ever been easier?
How do I play (finger) the scale?
I use my index finger for the 1st column of large hexagonal white keys (and their smaller adjacent raised diamond keys), middle finger for 2nd column and ring finger for 3rd column. Almost like vertical box style play and layout of guitar in open tunings, like Devin Townsend's CGCGCE or Keith's Open G.
In version 2.0 you can use pinky for diatonic scales.
What is DSMI and how do I use it?
DSMI is downloadable from http://dsmidiwifi.tobw.net/ .
You install it on your laptop/desktop, it is available for all major OS's such as Windows, Linux and MAC OSX.
Information on it & how to set it up is available via that site or google. Essentially it is used to relay MIDI data from IVory Tower on the Android via WiFi to any software configured to use it as input on a computer on the same network. For example GarageBand on Mac, Reaper on Windows/Mac http://www.reaper.fm/, and Linux Multimedia Studio on Linux can use DSMI as its MIDI input device for laying down any track. It's also fun for synthesizers.
How do I get rid of any noticeable delay(latency) between Android device and MIDI player on DSMI/WiFi connected computer?
Make sure Android device is near WiFi router and DSMI connected computer playing MIDI is wired to router for best results! Check audio buffer latency on MIDI playing computer.
I would like a zoom feature, to see more of the layout, especially for tablets, are you going to do one?
Now available in Version 2.0. In options screen touch the + or - to alter the number of keys horizontally or vertically.
How did you come up with the layout?
I've looked at various piano style layouts, Janko, Thummer, Jammer, Uniform, and also play various guitar tunings. My favorite layouts are guitar open tunings but the conventional C Major layout of piano is very good. However guitar is awesome for bending in place unlike the piano. So in the end I merged the slightly unconventional uniform piano keyboard with the vertical box like scale and bending/sliding play of guitar. Horizontally Ivory Tower's full row is not like conventional piano, as it is uniform, there are always alternating 'accidental' like keys, which are both white and black. You can Google more info on unconventional piano keyboards.
What is Insane Bending in options?
When enabled (flashing) in options it bends the note(s) you are playing when you tilt it left or right like a whammy bar on guitar. It bends up or down an 'insane' number of semitones.
What is expressive volume in options?
When enabled (flashing) in options it alters the volume of the note(s) you are playing when you tilt it back or forward. Its range is 45 degrees full volume to tilted flat for zero volume.
What's a good set up?
I like to use Reaper (reaper.fm) and sometimes GarageBand or Fluidsynth with a MIDI rendered distortion guitar through a reverb effect. Garage Band actually has a lead guitar effect which has a nice setup.
With plugins such as VST or using the awesome scripting in Reaper you can reconfigure IVory Tower in countless ways.
Within a DAW setup I find it best for for expressive guitar/harmonica/sax style melody pieces or for jamming and playing the blues wirelessly.
Any plans for future versions?
Move, scale, mirror & rotate layout, touch sensitivity, pull down assignable controls(sliders/knobs), uploadable user defined layouts/controls, effects like reverb/chorus, patchable sampled ADSR synths, 3D visualization, scratching, record, play & save tracks as MIDI files, and lots more...
2.3-2.4 Removed Ads.
2.2 Fixed random crash. Ads incorporated.
2.1 Fixed orientation issues on some tablets.
2.0 Layout configurable by user. Keys horizontally and vertically can be changed in options.