I run Extraordinary Facility, a design studio for learning and play. The studio’s first project is The Tune Zoo, an educational music toy for iPad. It’s available on the App Store.
So far I’ve done everything myself – code, design, animation, music, sound design, video production, promotional website making, marketing, sales – everything but the kitchen sink. The app is written in pure Swift, apart from libpd for all the audio synthesis and sequencing. I’ve been keeping a project notebook on Tumblr with more behind-the-scenes work in progress on it.
It’s a little world of animals who all sing scales. Pull their heads to hear them sing, and jump around the landscape to explore different scale types – from Blues to Indian Ragas. The concept for the app originates in my Singing Sock Puppets project – The Tune Zoo essentially being a screen-based evolution of the idea.
Scales are one of the main building blocks of music. You can peek under the hood and play with interactive notation to explore how they work.
You can also start a jam session, or compose your own tunes, by making loops, sequences and mixes.
The toy also lets you capture and share your performance with in-app video recording.
There are no rules, high scores, time limits or stress – just open-ended creative, constructive play. It’s simple enough for a beginner to pick up immediately, but has layers of complexity to interest even the most experienced musician.Check it out on the App Store, read more about Extraordinary Facility, or have a look at the project’s development notebook.