Chordion update – Olympia Noise Co’s MIDI performance app gets some tweaks including Audiobus 3 support

Download from iTunes App Storechordion logoAs most regular Music App Blog readers will be aware, my keyboard skills are not going to win me any prizes. As a consequence, apps like Chordion – by Olympia Noise Co – appeal to me as they provide a viable alternative for touchscreen MIDI performances but without the confines of a traditional (virtual) keyboard.

There are a good few apps that fall into this category; Synthecaster, SoundPrism Pro, ChordPolyPad and Gestrument, for example. However, Chordion has always been a personal favourite because of its easy-to-use design. The app is perhaps one of the best examples of some clever design to exploit the strengths of the touchscreen and create a playable interface that musicians can use. It’s not as deep as something like ChordPolyPad but, equally, it is very easy to use and configure so, when you just need to bang out a few chord or chords plus a bass line or melody, Chordion will usually get the job done very quickly.

Chordion is a great tool for generating MIDI data.

Chordion is a great tool for generating MIDI data.

It should be noted, however, that Chordion isn’t just a MIDI performance app; while that’s perhaps its main function, it also includes elements of a virtual instrument (via of its own internal sounds), an arpeggiator and a drum machine.

I did a full review of Chordion some considerable time ago on the blog and there have been a number of minor updates since then most of which dealt with bug fixes and minor improvements. However, while it is an app I use on a regular basis (and, in Patterning, Olympia Noise Co have one of my very favourite iOS music apps; it would easily make my personal ‘top 10 ever’ list), the last update to Chordion was actually way back in April 2015…..  until yesterday that is, when v.1.5.0 arrived on the App Store.

You can configure Chordion’s playing interface and set up a different voicing for each of your chords.

This release brings a number of technical updates under the hood. Chordion is now a 64-bit app so clearly some future-proofing has been provided. It is also now ready for Audiobus 3. As a consequence, the app now also requires iOS9 or above…  and users still on earlier iOS versions are warned to keep using the previous release. Anyway, as with the Triqtraq update I also posted about today, it’s great to see a well-used app given a technical make-over to make it ready for what’s coming elsewhere….  iOS11 and Audiobus 3 in this case.

If you haven’t given Chordion a try yet, it is really worth a look, particularly if you dislike using virtual keyboards. It makes playing basic chord progressions very easy, you can add melody (or bass) lines at the same time and the app even allows you to create some very nice arpeggios. It also has its own built-in drum machine. You can use the internal sounds (and some of them are actually rather good) but the real fun starts when you hook the app up to another iOS synth and drive the sounds in that. It’s great to see developer Olympia Noise Co. nudging the app forwards and it’s easy to use and configure. And, at just UK£3.99/US$3.99, Chordion is also an absolute bargain.

Chordion

Download from iTunes App Store

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    Comments

    1. Hi John!

      Was wondering if one of the new features on v. 1.5.0 is a left-handed mode where the keyboard pad moves from the right to the left side of the screen?

      Years ago when the developer asked users on the Audiobus Forum which features they would most like back in 2015, a large number (including myself) made this request, then deleted the program after no changes were made.

      https://forum.audiob.us/discussion/8472/chordion-2-0

      If the didn’t, I won’t bother making room for its return and continue to used Navichord.

      Firo was my favorite of all, but sadly it disappeared from the App Store some months ago — never to be heard from again.

      • Hi Scott…. not that I’m aware of…. I’m right handed so have not really encountered the issue…. although I can see how the flexibility of having the choice would be very welcome…. I’ll see if I can find out any more in terms of future plans…. Best wishes, John

    2. DaveRave says:

      In my opinion this app would be better if they added:

      1) greater subtlety on touch, to allow softer/harder playing. -plenty of virtual keyboard apps out there have this.
      2) ability to vibrato/tremolo the notes (keys on right hand side). — allow user to wiggle left/right. (or even a slider ON the keys (think Animoog)).

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