A music sequencer reimagined with multiple playheads.
"How Bach would have made a sequencer." (Create Digital Music)
"A musical feat." (Creator's Project)
"A new approach to sequencing." (XLR8R)
"A next generation music sequencer." (Ask Audio)
FUGUE MACHINE is a tool inspired by composition techniques used in Baroque music and Serialism — e.g. Bach’s canons and fugues, and Schoenberg’s twelve-tone technique. The idea was to design a tool to manipulate a melody’s speed, direction, and pitch, as well as play multiple variations of the melody simultaneously.
As it turned out, the best implementation for this was to reimagine one of the most fundamental building blocks of all music sequencers: the piano roll.
FUGUE MACHINE is the world’s first multi-playhead piano roll. Create a music sequence and play it back with up to four playheads at once — each at various speeds, directions, pitches, and more. Watch the playheads dance, and hear the complex patterns that emerge.
Fugue Machine supports iPhone, iPad, MIDI, AUv3 MIDI, Ableton Link, Audiobus, Audiobus 3 MIDI, and Inter-App Audio.
Fugue Machine 1.5 — iPhone support, AUv3 support, more scales, piano roll gesture improvements, and more. See 1.5.0 Version History for more info.
MINOR UI FIXES
iOS 13 caused a few UI issues in the More Menu. All fixed now.
NEW MORE MENU POSITION (iPhone)
The new position no longer blocks the bottom toolbar buttons or the transpose control, making Fugue Machine more playable when the menu is open.
Ratings and Reviews
Stunning Results with Hardware (updated)
Fugue Machine may very well be the finest, most inspiring music tool on my iPad when it comes to using the iPad to drive external hardware. I haven't used it much to sequence other apps on the iPad, but if you're looking to do something amazing with your outbound hardware synths, this is The One. The latest MIDI implementation is as flexible as you'd want it to be and rock solid (whether it's receiving clock or transmitting it). I'm sending out each track to a variety of MIDI channels, over USB out to a sync box, which passes on MIDI and/or CV/Gate to a 70s analog synth, a modular Eurorack setup, and to a popular keyboard controller. It would take a load of hardware to both handle the sequences and the interfacing, and I'm not really sure anything like this app could be assembled anyway. This is one of the few apps that make me want to buy another iPad, install nothing but Fugue Machine on it, and put it away in a bank vault, "just in case". It's made my collection of 40 years of hardware even more capable of incredible music. 5 stars! (April 3, 2017 Update - Keeps getting better! New system for Pattern Backup and Export works flawlessly... 6 stars!)
Easily a 6 stars out of 5
This is a brilliant instrument. Yes it’s a sequencer, but I see it more as a instrument and a composing tool.
The only wish I have is the ability to see the notes names somewhere. It’s easy to get lost playing it and hit a less than pleasant combo. That would go away in part if we could see the notes names or the chords/scales someplace in the interface.
Another wish would be the ability to play patterns manually, as opposed to having to clutter the screen with not just a menu, but a submenu.
Having 4 to 8 buttons to assign patterns to would rock. Literally. Even if it means squeezing the interface a bit. Maybe an overlay? I am already doing this using the submenu, but it occluded the screen for any other work.
By the way, I have the most fun with it driving my computer midi over WiFi. There is something magical in holding an iPad in your hands and hear sound out of your speakers. Recording the patterns is pretty easy too and the results rival or better dedicated midi arpeggiators. This is simpler and more versatile.
Such a good idea
What I love: making things I might not have thought of, guiding it in a way that isn’t arbitrary and doesn’t have to have the blandness that other “inspiration tools” might have.
What I want: exporting MIDI files. I like to make things on the phone and then open them in my DAW (which is not Ableton) and it seems like a no-brainer to include this option.
Also, more sounds. Not a whole synth necessarily, but some more options.
And most importantly: when a playhead is going in reverse it acts like a tape playhead would and triggers the note at its note-off. I would find it more useful musically if I at least had the option of it triggering the note at its note-on position on the timeline when playing in reverse. (When I superimposed a 16th note figure in reverse over a quarter note figure, since the original notes were all 16th in length, the reverse sequence sounded early. Could I get it to do something different by changing note lengths? Yes, but I liked the original notes as they were.
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.