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Yamaha Mobile Music Sequencer

Yamaha keep trying to make iPad apps, and I keep wanting them to get it right. I really do. This does not look promising.

iTunes Description:

Introductory Offer Price! (until the end of February 2013)

Yamaha's new Mobile Music Sequencer enables composers to combine a range of phrase patterns and create musical compositions intuitively, following the flow of composition, from phrases to sections and from sections to songs.

Wherever you are, you can now sketch the outline of a composition. In addition, you can use the ingredients to delicately craft songs on a Yamaha synthesizer, or in Steinberg Cubase.

First, try loading the demo song (a number of demo songs are provided). Tap on the settings icon in the top right of the screen, select [Digital Sympathy] from the Presets under the File tab, and press the Load button to read in the song.


  • Built-in software synth with 92 high-quality sounds (including 9 types of drumkit) enables faithful rendering of sequence patterns.
  • Sound editing using filters, EG, and other effects
  • Mixer function for each part
  • Effects including reverb, chorus, and variations
  • Additional phrases and sounds
    Four additional voice and phrase datapacks can be purchased directly using the application. (Dance Pop, Electronic, Hip Hop, R&B)
  • • File export
    As well as a function for outputting standard general-purpose MIDI files, the application also includes a function for exporting files in an even easier-to-use format designed for Yamaha synths, in which characteristic sounds are specified in advance. (MOTIF XF, S90XS/S70XS, MOX6/MOX8, and MOTIF XS)
  • • Mix-down
    Audio mix-down of a song or a phrase and conversion of the song or the phrase to an audio file can be performed in real time.
  • • Compatibility with SoundCloud
    Audio files can be made compatible with SoundCloud and uploaded.

Buy Mobile Music Sequencer - US on iTunes: $15.99

Buy Mobile Music Sequencer - International on iTunes: £10.99/€14.99

I'm a Yamaha fanboy. My first keyboard was a Casio, but my first keyboard that I loved was a Yamaha. Perhaps I have a higher expectation of them, but they have been seriously half-assing this for a while now. The more they release the less and less I expect them to ever get it right.

What in the fuck was with the Synth Arp & Drum Pad app? There was no amount of "synth" there, it was all samples! Then there was their Yamaha Song Beats, which was an entirely missed opportunity for an app that could have taught finger drumming. TNR-i is alright, but it just seems like they're entirely out of ideas. They released this one without even bothering to do a demo video. After Synth Arp & Drum Pad I wouldn't bet on any of this "Built-in Synth Software" being anything other than samples.

What is going on over there, Yamaha? Is this a cry for help?

Update: Reader a1 found a demo on the Japanese Yamaha YouTube page. I was, perhaps foolishly, checking the English one. Everything is in Japanese, so good luck with it!

Update 2: iDesignSound found the English version. This is on YouTube as Unlisted! The hell?

Reader Comments 45

Duh,there is a demo on youtube. Why so negative about tbis app?

we hear your bs authoritative comments about apps, but why dont YOU
show us how to make a track with them?

lol , maybe yamaha will sue you-high time someone put you in your place big mouth!

Dont diss apps you aint tried-that is just ignorant dude

January 24, 2013  | person_outline Rufus

I haven't heard anyone say duh since the mid 90s. Well played historically interesting artefact man of the past!

January 24, 2013  | person_outline ISM


January 24, 2013  | person_outline Zymos

here's the demo video link

January 24, 2013  | person_outline a1

Allright! Legal threats! Everything is back to normal!

January 24, 2013  | person_outline Fessaboy/Secret Base Design

Only demo I can find seems to be in Japanese .....

Seems that the Yamaha apps are mainly to hook up with or advertise their hardware.

January 24, 2013  | person_outline Bianca

Thanks, a1! Although it won't be very useful to readers here, I do want to include that for completeness!

Looks like a version of something like Studio.hd with pre made loops. Although clearly it has editing of the loop parts. If that's the case it would have been interesting 2 years ago I guess. I don't really get it. I still trying every now and then to do something useful with their last go, Synth Arp and Drum or whatever it's called.

January 24, 2013  | person_outline Duke

Is soundcloud really the only way to get to the audio files? I see no mention of audio copy or iTunes export.

January 24, 2013  | person_outline ChrisG

Oh and it doesn't mention anything about the abilities to create your own sounds so I'm guessing that "synth" is samples, and the only way to get ore presets is via IAP purchase?

January 24, 2013  | person_outline ChrisG

How can the internal sequencing engine of the Motif range ( with file compatability ) be a fail ? Built on QY/RMX/RS7000 heritage , Yamaha know a thing or two about midi sequencing , however cheesy the internal sounds they add . If you can work with all phrases within a section being the same length and meter ( as in the Motif I believe ), this app from the video adds Ableton Live session view -like ability of triggering other phrases from outside the Section on an individual track basis .
By providing instruments to the widest music making community , including entertainers ,wedding/cruise singers , karaoke etc , Yamaha often suffer criticism from the "hip" electronic community based on considerations of style rather than the professional functioning of their products for ALL music professionals .
I havent tried the app , so maybe it doesnt work well .details are scarce , doesnt mention Virtual midi or background audio or audiobus . But if it does what it promises with core midi , this is a significant entrance to the IOS biosphere ; the first ported hardware 16 track midi sequencer that I know of , and compatible with its hardware counterpart !
I enjoy Tim's "bullish" attitude to everybody , including the big names , but suggest he may have reacted too hastily on this one .

January 24, 2013  | person_outline Defender of the Yamaha

can confirm: sonoma clipboard, background audio, wireless midi, and virtual midi (played sunrizer voice via midibridge). no audiobus. sounds...limited but not terrible. still reading in-app manual. first impression... probably more useful than tnri (which i do like).

January 25, 2013  | person_outline a1

Well. If it really comes with Virtual MIDI plus all the features you described, it can't be that bad.

January 25, 2013  | person_outline J.C

Good demo video here:

This app looks like a kind of musical Lego set - you could spend the rest of your life playing, adjusting and tweeking the canned musical 'blocks".

Not for everyone perhaps, but I'm more impressed after watching this video.

January 25, 2013  | person_outline Simon

A musical Lego set where you can add custom bricks you built yourself.

January 25, 2013  | person_outline Bianca

btw, midibridge isn't necessary and, midi implementation is pretty deep; to include control change messages for pedals, breath controllers etc.
voices and phrases are limited in number. apparently the iaps just unlock what's already downloaded (think sampletank, which it is similar to on many levels, though maybe more consumer friendly in appearance). the voices and phrases can be locked together, or not. they can also be edited/tweaked and saved as user presets. effects are likewise limited (chorus,reverb)
still exploring it but, not disappointed so far. seems like it's designed to be more of a standalone, so audiobus would be superfluous.
can't report on how well it integrates with their hardware, unless they want to comp me a motif (ha!)
regular price is reported to be $19.99, so get in early if you're gonna.

January 25, 2013  | person_outline a1

@a1 or anyone else who has it:
How easy is it to record or hand edit you own phrases?
Can you put new sounds in there?
MIDI Sync?


January 25, 2013  | person_outline Will

Record / edit phrases is easy
MIDI sync - internal / external
Own sounds - not seen that but IAP's for extra phrases
Overall pretty comprehensive and sounds surprisingly good in the mix. I exported into Auria added some fabfilter plugins and had to remind myself how cheap this is :-)

January 25, 2013  | person_outline Trueyorky

very easy. you can edit the preset phrases or live record or step record/edit your own on the piano roll.
you can only tweak the onboard samples, but there are standard sawtooths/ squares that can be edited (cutoff, resonance, amp envelope etc.)
[haven't yet tried to record anything using virtual midi and sunrizer]
yes, accepts midi clock input, or internal clock

two final remarks:
caveat: requires ios6
notable feature: the ability to input notes as triplets(!)...quite unusual for ios apps

January 25, 2013  | person_outline a1

Thanks @Trueyorky and @a1

January 25, 2013  | person_outline Will

Good to know it's a serious app ! Can anybody confirm ( though ideally contradict ) my supposition from scanning a Motif manual that all phrases within a section must be the same length and meter . I assumed for file compatability the app would be the same but just to confirm ?

Also , does it have the realtime midi play fx features of the RMX/RS7000 ? Midi delay/Beatstretch/swing/gate time/clock shift/velocity

And Does it have an overdub realtime record mode to add additional notes and cc movements to phrases ?

Thanks .

January 25, 2013  | person_outline Defender of the Yamaha

Edit above.....overdub question ...I meant external ccs from hardware

January 25, 2013  | person_outline Defender of the Yamaha

@D o t Y length of phrases within a section seems to be able to vary. i recorded 8 bars of noodling on the keys in a section of 4 bar presets. the recorded part continues to play after the presets stop.
regarding meter, there are only two time signature choices (3/4 or 4/4), so it's an either/or choice for the entire project (wish there was 5/4).
i'm reluctant to speculate about the midi cc's because i've not used nor do i expect to use the app with hardware midi. that said, there is realtime overdub, and there are a number of midi cc parameters that can be adjusted (by means of graphs similar to ableton envelopes), (presumably this is meant so the app can send those changes...how it will act if receiving them i don't know). also, there are a few parameters that can apparently be batch processed in steptime. of the parameters you mentioned, i only noticed gate time and velocity. perhaps another reader can fill in the gaps.

January 25, 2013  | person_outline a1

@a1 thanks for the info .

January 26, 2013  | person_outline Defender of the Yamaha

I've recorded and played back cc changes over virtual MIDI. Also, the editing is much deeper than expected - lot's of editable automation for each part which is something Cubasis hasn't got.

January 26, 2013  | person_outline Trueyorky

Can I play back using my hardware synths? Also, when using live input, can I quantize? This looks like a potentially good pattern-based sequencer.

January 26, 2013  | person_outline SSquared

If you have experience programming their HW QY-series sequencers, using this will be a breeze. It's a subset however. I didn't see any non-graphical (detailed) midi event editor. The job set is lighter than the hardware QY series sequencers. Some real time tweaking, but certainly not to the extent of the RS7000 - maybe through external controllers? Would need to dig in to see.
Very nice that they do have graphical edits of several automation-capable parameters. Electro kit in-app had ok sounds. Real time recording of cc changes not bad at all for. 1.0. Will need audiobus for sure. Editing is pretty easy. Ableton-Live type of pattern editor and playback is worth the price for me (while waiting for a real Live impl.). Definitely worth the price at sub $10.

January 27, 2013  | person_outline Eins

Hey guys,
I got the app right away. used to do a lot of stuff with the Qy's. It's a lot of fun... but the MIDI EXPORT doesn't seem to work properly.
Like they supposed to they arrive in iTunes. but they don't play back in logic /quicktime etc.
Any ideas?



February 19, 2013  | person_outline J

I have had the Yamaha Mobile Sequencer for a while now and I still don't know how it works. Some say it's intuitive but I dont find that at all. Take the simplest form of song, you have chords and other harmony underneath with a melody line on top. I like the demo song and I know that a melody is present but I still haven't managed to work out how it is done. How are the phrases read? If anyone can explain this to me aI would be most grateful.
Cheers Eddy

March 08, 2013  | person_outline alkan

the only way to see the notes in the demo song or preset phrases is in the song mode. simply double tap the track/phrase and select piano roll.

similarly if you want to create a melody line rather than use a preset, go to phrase view and select a square in the first column (section A)
>if you double tap it, a create balloon will appear which will take you to the piano roll where you can enter notes step-wise (exit when done) or there is a keyboard button top left if you want to play live.
>if you single tap, you can select a preset phrase using phrase select (on the left)
>after the square is filled, touching the top half opens a menu. touching the bottom starts playing the phrase.

March 08, 2013  | person_outline a1

Thank you for your reply. It suddenly made sense of the app. I should have a lot of fun now. Thanks again

March 09, 2013  | person_outline alkan

In yamaha mobile sequencer I am still having trouble with melody. I only get one bar in the piano roll that is highlighted the rest of the numbers show but are blacked out and will not sound. I have read the instructions but what am I missing?

March 11, 2013  | person_outline alkan




Set the length to how many bars you want (it's normally 4)

Once you have each section ok,

Press song and drag sections into the song to taste

Press play

March 11, 2013  | person_outline Bianca

Actually I want 60 bars. I followed your instructions and got a 32 bars. Is that the maximum length? If I fill another phrase an drag it beside the first one will that play in order after the first one?

March 11, 2013  | person_outline alkan

Yes if you drag the 2 sections into the song page.

Do you really have 60 unique bars?

March 11, 2013  | person_outline Bianca

Yes. I will add the rhythm and other bits after the melody has been sorted. By the way thanks for your help it's much appreciated.

March 11, 2013  | person_outline alkan

Does the 'Snap' instruction work? I try to use it but nothing happens although I have used different note values. The notes are supposed to line up with the nearest barline? Am I doing something wrong?

March 12, 2013  | person_outline alkan

Snap works in conjunction with the note length symbols and changes the box size on the grid to the appropriate length

When pressed new notes will automatically be snapped to the nearest line. This will seldom be a bar line.

Additionally when you select a note and slide it if SNAP is pressed you will only be able to slide it to a line. Same for blocks of notes.

March 12, 2013  | person_outline Bianca

Hello Bianca
If I change to the Song Mode and touch an empty section, the word 'Create' appears. Now that would be perfect except that only one bar is highlghted and the rest of the grid is black. How do I cause the following bars to be highlighted

March 13, 2013  | person_outline alkan

Short touch the new bar you created. (Song block)

You should see an editing gadget pop up, ( 3 circles inside an oval) in the lower right corner of the grid.

Press the left most circle. Dragging you finger to the lright will increase the length of the song block to the left will shorten it again , combine this with pinches and spreads to get the number of bars you want.

Long touch the song block and select piano roll.use combinations of pinch spread and swipes to get to the later bars.

That's a way of doing what you asked.

But, it has to be said it defeats the point of this app.

March 13, 2013  | person_outline Bianca

Hi Bianca
That didn't quite work out for me, I musr be doing something wrong, anyway, no matter i'm not going to pursue it. But could you tell me how it defeats the app. I'm curious.

March 14, 2013  | person_outline alkan

I think the idea behind the app is that you can create little Lego bricks of music. Which you can then put together in various ways to make many compositions ....

Using the tools built in you can remix these bricks map them to different chords and so on.

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Bianca

Hi Bianca
Thanks for your answer. I had a closer look at the demo song and saw that piano rolls were no longer than 8 bars. I am getting the hang of it now
and will experiment with chords and the other building blocks until I have a decent song. Its still possible to make nice compositions without having to work it all out beforehand at the same time.
By the way was there input from you when creating the app or did you do a lot of the groundwork, even creating it?

March 14, 2013  | person_outline alkan

Hi, no I can't take any credit for the development of the app unfortunately, was just trying to be helpful.

Good luck with the music making :)

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Bianca


March 15, 2013  | person_outline alkan

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