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Mandala Music

Originally inspired by the Hang drum, Mandala Music is a new kind of musical instrument for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (see Mandala Music HD). The instrument consists of eight keypads arranged in a circle or mandala around a central pad (corresponding to the "ding" on a Hang drum). Tapping on a keypad produces a tone. Tapping multiple keypads produces multiple tones.

Where a Hang drum is tuned to one and only one scale when it is made, any of the thirty-three preset musical scales used in first-generation Hang drums can be mapped to the mandala, as well as up to eight scales that you can create and save. The lowest note is in the center, followed in increasing pitch from the top, alternating back and forth, down to the bottom.

Compared to a square grouping of control pads, or even a keyboard on smaller devices like an iPhone or iPod, the circular arrangement is much easier to play. In fact by mapping a scale to the control pads there are, in effect, no wrong notes. A 2-oscillator FM synthesizer provides a wide range of sounds and effects, from soothing to bizarre.

Record and share you music with friends.

How to Use

Tap a pad to play a note. The lower left and right satellite pads repeat the last note played. The upper left/right satellite pads increase/decrease the pitch by an octave. The top bar provides access to all control parameters. The outer "<<" and ">>" buttons cycle through the control parameters:

  • Scales (33 fixed and 8 custom scales)
  • Decay - short, medium, and long
  • Frequency ratio - 1:3, 1:2, 2:3, 1:1, 1:1~, 4:3, 5:3, 2.1~, and 2:1 (~ means slightly detuned)
  • Modulation index - off, small, medium, high, and extreme
  • Patch (16 preset sounds)
  • Octave Shift - increase/decrease the pitch of the scale in octave increments
  • Tuning - increase/decrease the pitch of the scale by a semi-tone (1/12 octave)

The inner "<" and ">" buttons let you change the value of the outer control parameter.

The bottom left button turns on auto-play, which either plays the notes of the selected scale up and down, or randomly. The middle button specifies the slider control: volume, reverb, or tempo.

Tap the recorder icon to show the record, play, delete, and email buttons. In this mode the madala is colored red. Tapping the record button starts recording (bottom control bar turns red). Tap again to stop recording.

Tap Edit to change the notes assigned to key pads. In edit mode the mandala is blue. You can only change the eight custom settings. Touch "<" to decrease the note value, and ">" to increase it. Tap a pad once to select it and subsequent times to change its value (up or down).

Closing the app automatically saves all app settings.

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