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Mandala Music

Originally inspired by the Hang drum, Mandala Music is an easy to play percussive musical instrument for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. 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. The pads are colored coded using the boomwhacker color scheme. 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.

How to Use

Tap a pad to play a note. Tap "Scale" on the top toolbar to change the musical scale. Scale selects the pattern of musical notes assigned to the pads of the mandala. There are 33 scales you can choose from:

  1. Aeolian (Greece)
  2. Ake Bono (Japan)
  3. Banshiki-Cho (Japan)
  4. Dorian
  5. Harmonic minor
  6. Hitzaz (Arabia)
  7. Hitzazkiar (Arabia/Persia)
  8. Hungarian major
  9. Huzam (Greece)
  10. Ionian (Western major)
  11. Kokin-Choshi (Japan)
  12. Kourd-Atar (Arabia/India)
  13. Lydian
  14. Minor pentatonic (W. Africa)
  15. Neveseri (Greece)
  16. Niavent (Egypt)
  17. Pentatonic
  18. Pentatonic (China)
  19. Purvi (India)
  20. Pygmy (Rwanda)
  21. Rumanikos (Greece)
  22. Sabah (Greece)
  23. Segiah (Greece)
  24. Sho (Japan)
  25. Locrian
  26. Mixolydian
  27. Pyeong Jo (Korea)
  28. Shang-Diao (China)
  29. Magen Abot (Jewish)
  30. Noh (Japan)
  31. Zokuso (Japan)
  32. Melog/Selisir
  33. Phrygian
Scroll down further to change the tuning by up to +/- 6 semitones. Changing the scale/tuning changes the notes/colors assigned to the pads.

Tap "Sound" to reveal the controls to the FM synthesizer. The top left controls decay and the low-pass filter. The top right controls timbre (FM frequency ratio) and modulation index. At the bottom are reverb controls (left) and octave/tempo controls (right). The button to the right of the "Sound" Button on the top toolbar turns on auto-play, which either plays the notes of the selected scale up and down, or randomly.

Closing the app automatically saves all app settings.

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