With the advances in portable and mobile technology there is a need to interface with applications using new methods. Multitouch has become an ubiquitous solution and it was only a matter of time before those working with music making software saw the potential in this technology to allow new methods of control and interaction. While multitouch technology is not new in being applied to music production software, Jazzmutant’s Lemur, the debate has heated up since the introduction of the ipad and Android enabled devices and the potential they offer.
The story so far
Before discussing the current debate I feel it is necessary to discuss the developments thus far. For a long time the Lemur was the only commercially available product on the market. A product ahead of its time, released in 2005, its initial power was not obvious and as it has now been discontinued, due to market competition, its full potential may never be known, but the potential it offered served as a prime example of the functionality and capabilities the user required. It’s hefty price tag aside, the paradigm of the traditional hardware controller and tactile feedback were still satisfactory for most. Over time the relative technology multitouch could be applied to advanced as well as users interest in it. When a devices’ hardware, control software, and user-interaction are developed in unison the result can be incredibly powerful. With deep levels of control, new methods of interaction, a customizable interface, and ten-finger multitouch control the ideal device has the potential to offer a truly new method of expression. Ten-finger control would seem a prerequisite, we have ten fingers after all, put most current hardware is still struggling to achieve this. People have become so use to the power of computers that they want them to be capable of an infinite number of tasks, but the reason devices like the Lemur were so powerful was that they were designed to do one (complicated) task, control music making software.
Unfortunately, only being designed for one task was also seen as its weakness. The tendency in current developments is towards unique multi-functional Tablet PCs, which differ mainly because of the interaction that they offer when compared with a regular PC. What this means for the music maker and music making with these classic MAGIX-software applications we will explain in the second part of this short series.