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Plotony by Noah Emerson

Noah Emerson, developer of Modulin, released Plotony. This is a harmonograph simulator that creates animations based on incoming MIDI notes. It will also indicate which chords you are playing, and has an onscreen keyboard for when you're not plugged into external MIDI.

Plotony includes both Audiobus and AUv3 support as a MIDI effect.

Plotony App Store Description:

Plotony is a harmonograph simulator that transforms MIDI input into beautiful, animated drawings. Whenever a MIDI note is played, Plotony transforms the MIDI into its corresponding frequency. Plotony then appends a pendulum to its simulation with this frequency and outputs the modified rendering of the harmonograph in its center display. This seamless bridge between music and art is bound to spark the creativity in any musician or producer.

Plotony also serves a practical purpose as it is capable of showing you exactly what chord you are playing along with the names of the various intervals contained within it.

In the app, Plotony offers a list of preset samples to select from when playing the onscreen keyboard. Plotony also offers support for external MIDI input from devices such as keyboards connected via Lightning or other MIDI producing apps through Plotony’s virtual MIDI port. Plotony’s input “MIDI Channel” can be selected with the plus and minus buttons located on the right. Additionally, Bluetooth MIDI keyboards can be connected to Plotony by tapping the Bluetooth icon located on the right.

Plotony can be loaded into other host applications such as AUM as an AUv3 MIDI effect. Plotony’s state will be automatically preserved across sessions. The onscreen keyboard, preset selector, and sound-making capabilities are removed in the audio unit to create a more streamlined and focused experience. Plotony is also compatible with Audiobus and can be loaded in as a MIDI filter.

Plotony was designed with intuitiveness in mind. It should be fairly easy to get started right away making music and art with Plotony. However, you should be familiar with what the following terms mean in Plotony.

Duration: The duration setting controls how long the simulated pendulums are allowed to swing. A longer duration creates a more filled harmonograph, whereas a shorter duration creates a harmonograph with more white space.

Damping: The damping setting controls how quickly the simulated pendulum loses its initial kinetic energy due to friction. Higher damping leads to a quicker loss of energy and therefore, a more clustered harmonograph. Lower damping leads to a slower loss of energy and therefore, a more spread out harmonograph.

Phase: The phase setting controls the radian offset at which the simulated pendulum is released. Changing the phase setting while playing a chord will produce a 3D rotational effect because it’s adjusting all the coordinates in the graph simultaneously.

Additionally, if you tap on the cog shaped setting icon in the upper right corner you will be presented with some more customizable settings. By default, the “Interface Color” setting is set to blue. You can change this by tapping on the colored square on the right and selecting a different color, or you can turn on adaptive coloring which will automatically adjust Plotony’s color scheme based on the chord being played. The “Stroke Width” setting can be adjusted to change the thickness of the lines in the harmonograph. Lastly, if you would not like Plotony to match your device’s system appearance settings. You can turn off “Match System” and then manually turn on or off the “Dark Mode” toggle that appears. Plotony has been designed to look great in both light and dark mode.

If the chord recognition and settings panels become too distracting while using Plotony, feel free to temporarily remove them by tapping the “Hide” buttons.

Note: Plotony technically scales all frequencies by a factor of 1/100 because if they were displayed in their original form the graph would be completely filled in from all the overlapping lines.

Reader Comments 3

I thought this would work like a normal AU effect, it does not and so far i cannot configure it in AUM so I can tell what chord or note I am playing, or to graphically represent notes. This needs a how to set up in AUM video and I’m bummed it’s not straightforward.
March 24, 2020  | person_outline claude
I tried to set it up in a Midi signal chain fyi and can’t even get it to look like the app presented here.
March 24, 2020  | person_outline claude
If Plotony cannot be used as a "screensaver" while the iPad runs AUM overnight (etc) then I don't see how it differs much in a useful way from similar chord/note 'readers.' A decent screensaver that responds to MIDI, or sound, or the S&P 500, or whatever is actually useful, such that it is dynamic/sync'd to music/data flows would warrant attention.
March 24, 2020  | person_outline Crowfly

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