I reviewed Navichord here on the Music App Blog back in September 2014. The original release was designed to do one job – it allowed the user to explore chord structures and progressions and possible melodic association – but the design is so simple and elegant that, even though it was (at that stage) more of an educational tool or idea pad, rather than an actual musical instrument, it is a pleasure to use.
The first major update – taking the app to v.1.1 – appeared at the end of October. As I mentioned in a ‘MIDI performance app’ roundup article, the key new features involved MIDI in and MIDI out. The MIDI out is especially welcome as it turns Navichord into rather a nice MIDI performance tool for creating MIDI data to drive other iOS synths or to send to a DAW/sequencer for recording.
A further update – v.1.2.3 – has arrived on the App Store today and this enhances the MIDI performance role of the app further. The highlight addition is that the key in the virtual keyboard section (at the base of the main window) now have the option to act as mini-X-Y pads. You can, therefore, configure then to send MIDI controller messages out to your target synth and, as you play notes in the keyboard section, if you move your finger, Navichord will transmit the appropriate controller data. This worked well for me in some brief testing this morning using Thor as my target synth but it ought to work with any of your favourite iOS synth apps.
I’ve given this a try out this morning and it worked beautifully. I was, for example, able to send MIDI data from Navichord through Midimux and onwards to NI’s Kontakt sample player. I’m a regular user of MIDI performance apps on my iPad as a means of creating MIDI parts within my desktop system and it’s great to have Navichord added to the list of tools that I can now use via a simple USB connection.
Navichord really is a very cool tool and, because of the way the note buttons are arranged in the upper portion of the display, you can quickly learn quite a lot about chord construction or, with the newer MIDI out features, create a MIDI performance with another app or onto your desktop computer. This is great for budding songwriters or if you want to transpose a chord sequence from one key to another. You can read the original Navichord review here but, now priced at UK£3.99, the app is very good value for money and well worth checking out on the iTunes App Store.