A week or so back, I took a long trip, and I figured I’d make some music on the journey. I wanted an app that would be simple to use, but powerful enough to get some real expression into these musical sketches. Plus, I wanted something called parameter locks, which I’ll explain below.
I quickly narrowed in on Triqtraq. It’s not a new app, but it’s so good you should check it out ASAP.
First, grab the app. There’s a free lite version (Triqtraq LE) if you want to try it out.
Triqtraq – Jam Sequencer
Download: Triqtraq – Jam Sequencer from the App Store (iOS)
Download: Triqtraq LE from the App Store (iOS)
Triqtraq is a “jam sequencer” that runs on iPhone and iPad. A sequencer is a piece of hardware or software that triggers sounds for you. Usually you get a row of 16 steps, and you can add sound(s) to any of them. If you ever used a drum machine, you know how it works.
Triqtraq lets you create these musical patterns either one step at a time, or by hitting record and then playing live. You get four different instruments (various drum, lead and bass sounds), and you can add any of your own samples to the app.
And that’s it for the main concept. Chain patterns together to make songs, and edit as much as you like. But there’s a lot more …
Parameter locks (aka p-locks)
Parameter locks have nothing to do with locking. The name is quite misleading in fact. A p-lock is just a way of editing a single step of a sequence. For instance, you can hold down a step containing a kick drum, and dial in an extra dose of reverb. When you play your song, that kick hit alone will echo. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you realize that you can p-lock not just reverb, but stutters, different pitches, and plenty of other FX, it’s super-powerful.
In Triqtraq, you can either add these step-by-step or record them live. For instance, if you waggle the pitch slider while the track is playing, your movements are recorded, and the pitch of the various steps goes up and down. You can then go in and edit them.
There’s one other super-cool feature: Loop Range. This lets you swipe over the 16 steps and choose a range. You can do this on the fly, and the result is that a short phrase loops around, repeating until you change it. Again, it’s a simple feature, but it can really do a lot of damage (in a good way).
You can build entire songs in Triqtraq if you like, using the built-in mixer and playing back your patterns in a preset order using the queue function. Oh, and you can even record live samples into the app using the iPhone’s mic, then use them to build grooves.