So someone suggested this iPhone app called Bebot, a $2 bucks synthesizer, which has the same “potential” as the $3000-$5000 Haken continuum!  The thing which intrigued me (and similar carnatic music fans) is that it can generate pitches not boxed in set western keys, but all the intervening pitches, and thus making it potentially amenable to the gamakas of carnatic music. What intrigued me more was that it was only two bucks 🙂 ! It certainly is the best iPhone app I have .

Long story short – no, i could not produce Carnatic music in it – it probably requires very very expert hands, and possibly a larger screen in order to achieve the required fine control  (yes, the poorly named iPad would be one).  It is technically possible to do some simple tunes with gamakas but requires a lot of perseverance and effort.  But it can do, is let you create some really cool and interesting music just goofing around, and can keep young and old occupied.  Mucho, mucho impressive for just 2 freaking bucks!

The touch interface of iPhone (and my iPod Touch) is superbly suited for this kind of a musical instrument.  You move your finger left to right and pitch increases, you move up and down and the timbre changes and thus by just making arbitrary patterns one can create very interesting music.  You can add echo, overdrive effects to. And, I love the fact that you could set up various scales, and of course within an hour I had set up many of the Carnatic based scales – and when played with classic western sounds, one can produce very spacey kind of music.

Here is a sample I generated which uses 5 scales of Carnatic ragas. I have termed it a “roguamalika” – yes rogue form of ragas strewn together 😉 !

Obviously it sounds wild and haphazard, as there was really not much thought into producing it, and is a result of mostly haphazard patterns with my finger on the touch screen!!!! Can you guess the 5 ragas? Select the text below for the answer:

  1. Amrtavarshini (S G3 M2 P N3 S or   C E F# G B ),
  2. mOhanam ( S R2 G P D2 S or   the major pentatonic)
  3. HamsanAdam ( S R2 M2 P N3 S or  C D F# G B )
  4. AbhOgi  ( S R2 G2 M1 D2 S or  C D Eb F A )
  5. (old) udayacandrikA or SrOTaswani ( S G2 M1 P N3 S or C Eb F G B )