Hexpress - a musical instrument for Android

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josip
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Hexpress - a musical instrument for Android

Post by josip » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:01 pm

Hi guys,

I just released the project I've been hacking on for last two months or so. It's a musical instrument for Android with multitouch support, real-time audio effects control and large number of instrument sounds. There's still much room for improvement, but I'm very excited releasing it at this stage.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... h.hexpress

Here's just one screenshot, there're some more on Play store.

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All in all, using LÖVE was a pleasure and it turned out to be a great choice for this app. Being able to modify code on the phone and execute app without compiling was huge. I literally implemented features while walking my dog. Kudos to all LÖVE authors and supporters!

Please report issues or any other feedback you might have.

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RagingDave
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Re: Hexpress - a musical instrument for Android

Post by RagingDave » Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:42 pm

Although I'm not really using Löve this days I still lurk the forums because I don't know another place where you can find such wondrous creations!

Kudos! My 10 month old son also liked it very much ;)

josip
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Re: Hexpress - a musical instrument for Android

Post by josip » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:27 pm

So happy to hear that! I intentionally designed it to be easy for kids to use (plus I'm too lazy to make a decent UI :)

josip
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Re: Hexpress - a musical instrument for Android

Post by josip » Wed Dec 20, 2017 6:55 pm

I released a new version with significant new features.

Now each instrument is heavily customized with own sounds, visuals and behaviour. I also made a screen to select instruments, complete with animated icons. So far I built 7 instruments. Most of them still use hexagonal arrangement of notes, but I also implemented guitar fretboard as alternative way to play notes. Anyone can modify/add instruments without recompiling Android app, the modified project can be executed from phone's internal memory or SD card.

App is still on Play Store, while source is hosted on GitHub. Cheers...

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jojomickymack
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Re: Hexpress - a musical instrument for Android

Post by jojomickymack » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:42 am

Woah! Imagine my joy, browsing the forum on my mobile and finding this cool app to try out!
Fantastic achievement here, it's really slick looking and I wouldn't have guessed it was made using love2d.
As far as what I gravitated most to - the chorus instrument, partly because it is the one with music note notation on the pads - that makes it more engaging to see. The strings - oh my god, if the app had only that alone I'd be still amazed. The string are really special.
Not sure why, but I just couldn't find good notes on guitar and it sounded bad to me.
The xylophone sounded like freeform jazz, really made me feel groovy.
Without the note letters on the pads I was kind of without any means of getting a lot of the instruments to sound right.
I didn't realize this was on github until I read your message closer - is this project meant to be extended, maybe used for creating other types instruments for professional musicians? I can totally imagine this being used in that way.
In that context I have 3 ideas - 1. load your own sample 2. split-screen multi-instrument 3. step sequencer

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Beelz
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Re: Hexpress - a musical instrument for Android

Post by Beelz » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:32 am

This is nice! I agree that you should include the notes on the buttons for the other instruments as well. Also, maybe its just me but, I think you should have the guitar strings in the opposite order. Although I can read sheet music and play it IRL, doing it on your app felt awkward that it was that way. Also that I can't hit an open string... Maybe have it show a little past the top bridge, and hit that side to play open? Otherwise this all looks sweet, add a drum kit and you've got the whole shebang!

Code: Select all

if self:hasBeer() then self:drink()
else self:getBeer() end
GitHub -- Website

josip
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Re: Hexpress - a musical instrument for Android

Post by josip » Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:05 pm

Sorry, I've been away from forums for few months. Thanks for kind and constructive feedback!

@jojomickymack
The intended audience aren't professional musicians, they are already covered with hi-tech equipment and $500 software. I'm making this for enthusiasts wanting to play music while commuting, people with no access to musical instruments and for kids. And for myself, of course.

Yes, this is totally meant to be extended! Just extract GitHub project into '/sdcard/hexpress' and you can change anything you please. For example, it's really simple to add note names on other hexagonal instruments, just pass 'true' to hexpad initialize: hexpad.new(true). The reason I included it only on choir is that it drops the framerate from 100FPS to 50FPS on my phone. Choir is a slow instrument with long attack, so it's hard to notice, but it could add 10ms of delay on other instruments. The performance could be solved by drawing to canvases. One more thing on my TODO list.

I agree about guitar part, it sounds bad. Real guitar is maybe the most expressive instrument and it's very hard to capture it on phone. I'm kind of putting it on ice until I figure out some playing techniques for chords, arpeggios and solos. BTW I made two new instruments with bass sounds, to me they sound better than current guitar. Also, they have wah effect, which is always fun.

Regarding your ideas, for me the hardest part is UI that wouldn't get in the way of playing. I like fullscreen instrument with no distractions.
1. Loading samples would be UI-heavy and something only a small number of people would use, as you have to hunt around for decent quality samples and lay them out across octaves. I think this is easier in Lua than in GUI, as you can automate the process with scripting.
2. and 3. is something I've been spinning in my head for quite some time. I would ultimately like to be able to play something repeatedly until the app can learn it, then it would be repeated in a loop and I could select a different instrument to play over it. This would allow orchestral pieces in layers. A bit hard to implement, though.

@Beelz
I thought long about string order, and in the end implemented the same order you see in guitar tabs. It seems more logical to me. Note that you can pass your custom string tuning to fretboard initalizer, so it's easy to reverse the order.

Drum kit was something that I too wanted, so it's now included in the latest release.

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Re: Hexpress - a musical instrument for Android

Post by Pebsie » Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:15 am

This has come leaps and bounds from when I last used it. Fantastic work, keep it up!!
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