Why sBASSdrum is based on chord progressions


There are many wonderful apps available that give you a fairly typical piano keyboard. On the one hand, it’s instantly familiar and people can often tap out a quick melody. But, unless you’ve been playing piano for a while I am willing to bet chord progressions are still a difficult concept to wrap your head around. What is their function in music? What actually makes up a progression?

Ultimately, sBASSdrum is a button-pushing app. It doesn’t pretend to be a powerhouse synthesizer or a study in music theory. The idea was if you had 4 chords and each button press would play one of those chords, and if you played the buttons in sequence you could get some sort of interesting music out of it. Or if you randomly whack away at the iPad and you still sound harmonious.

Each of the Combo patches attempts to play around with chords that roughly center around C—usually one of the chords on the buttons is a C or Cm. And they try to be pretty typical progressions like: I, IV, V, VII; VI, VII, I, iii; I, II, IV, I. And some are major, some are minor. The nice thing is if you tap the buttons in different orders you can get nice variations that have some relationship to the in-order progression. Plus, the free-form individual instrument patches let you truly choose the chords and melody you want to play.

In the future, the goal is to let you the user choose your own progressions so you can write your own songs and do techniques like cadences and borrowed chords. Transposition is also on the potential list of future features so you can keep the same progressions but change the root to a different note.

Music is hard. Flying a sBASSship should be fun.