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New MIDI Processing App – AutoTonic – Maps Any Scale

a screenshot of the AutoTonic MIDI processing software used with Logic Pro X

AutoTonic is a new standalone MIDI processing app that uses a brand new keyswitch method to intuitively alter the pitch of MIDI notes in real time – bringing complex music theory right to your fingertips.

New MIDI Processing Software – AutoTonic

a screenshot of the autotonic MIDI processing application for Mac

Developed in Vienna over a 4 year period, Autotonic is a creative songwriter production tool that is applicable to all genres of music, as it allows you to map any possible scale in Western tonal music (which is based on 12 pitches) to the white keys of your keyboard in real time.

Virtual Cabling

a flow chart illustrating the MIDI signal flow when using the MIDI processing software with a DAW

Using AutoTonic requires some virtual cabling. The MIDI processing software acts as a “sandwich processor” between a MIDI source (e.g. your MIDI keyboard) and destination (e.g. any DAW or virtual instrument, on Windows or Mac).

Setting up the software to work together with your DAW of choice is just a matter of configuring AutoTonic’s MIDI Input and Output via the application’s MIDI I/O button. You then configure your target application.

Autotonic Highlights

  • Realtime Key Mapping: lets you map any notes to your white keys in realtime
  • Unlimited Possibilities: any harmonic genre can be created, any scale you can think of*
  • Integrated Music Theory Database: comes with a library of over 50 prebuilt scale templates
  • Create Your Own, unique Scales: share them with your friends or save them for a later use
  • Max. Hardware Compatibility: no specific hardware required, any MIDI keyboard works
  • Max. Software Compatibility: works with any DAW or virtual instrument

* in western tonal music

Autotonic in Action

Here’s AutoTonic – demonstrated by Clemens Slama, the developer of the MIDI processing app:

Pricing & 14-day Demo

  • The full version (Mac/Win) costs $179, and can be installed on 3 systems you own.
  • Subscription: access to the full version for 1 year costs $89.
  • Get a 14-day Demo of Autotonic here. The demo requires a restart every 10 minutes.

Manual

Read the Autotonic Manual for more information about installing and using the application.

A few Words with the Developer

Clemens Slama has been kind enough to answer some questions about how his new MIDI processing software came about, and why he decided to develop it.

How did you come up with the idea of creating AutoTonic?

In Vienna there is this musicians high-society since so many famous composers lived and died here.

I personally never agreed with all those manifestations and sanctification on how music ‘has to be correctly written’, learned or handled. I also never fully understood why the piano keyboard has such a confusing layout. The invention of the grandfather of all keyboard instruments itself, the Harpsichord, was over 400 years ago already.

I mean, the only point to have those black keys there, instead of an all-linear keybed, is that there is a visual reference for playing. And this to me clearly results in a disadvantage regarding ease of playing, since most harmonic content will require its own unique finger pattern that has to be learned and practiced. But, as always, if something seems too difficult or makes your life too complicated, you can be sure that there also will be an easier way to do things…

How did you go about developing this program?

The initial idea for this I had back around 2011, when I was concentrating on learning new finger patterns at that moment.

The very first amateurish prototype I built myself and used for a while was based on a MIDI basspedal for all that harmonic switching. I thought that this is how it might work best – until I figured out, that the most efficient way for the triggering will be the black keys, since they’re positioned at the closest point possible to the playing fingers. The remapping of the white keys makes them unused anyway.

From there I kept drawing schemes in my head and on paper, to figure out what the most optimal User Interface and User Experience should be.

In October 2014, after a long research period, I submitted the idea for a patent filing (including the basspedal method and touch interfaces). A little later, I quit everything else I was working on, and started getting into C++ code and related project management tasks for the preparation of the actual development of the software.

That was when the ‘less musical’ part and the actual hard work began. Over the past year, there were periods where I barely slept for weeks. But it was an amazingly delightful experience, and I can recommend to anyone who wants to get into the coding world that it is great fun.

You’ll meet amazing people there 🙂

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in the historical center of Vienna and always had access to many instruments, books and drawing equipment. We never owned a TV. My parents ran a small circus, a dancing studio, a design bureau and were involved in all sorts of local art scenes, so I started growing interest for different kinds of art at an early age.

For a while now I have been dedicating all of my free personal time into the creation of AutoTonic whenever I’m not spending time with my family, my beautiful wife and our little 9-month old son. I am very thankful for every new AutoTonic user who has discovered this tool and has joined our community. Since I’ve invested an incredible amount of personal resources, time and money into the creation of this software, I am very pleased to see it was worth all those efforts. It’s an amazing feeling to see someone being excited about something you were confident about all along.

Thanks to all supporters and AutoTonic users, have a great day!

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  • Shane McGill

    So, we’re getting rid of the ‘complication’ playing with ‘black’ keys and replace it with a new ‘complication’ setting up software and constantly change ‘modifier’ keys and what have you – which disconnects us totally from our sense of harmony. Hmmmm….maybe there are more intelligent uses to that software but what we’ve seen in the video leaves me a wee bit unimpressed.

    • +1 for “maybe there are more intelligent uses to that software”. You tried the demo?

      • Shane McGill

        Danski, I did not try the demo – I have no idea what the point of this software is but I’m all for learning a new trick if there is one!

        The highlights according to the developer are:
        a) it lets you map any notes to your white keys in realtime > and the point is?
        b) harmonic genres can be created, any scale one can think of > we need software for that?
        c) comes with a library of prebuilt scale templates > wow
        d) create your own scales and share them with friends > ???

        I do hope all the effort put into this will bear some fruit even if can’t figure out what that would be.
        PS: the black keys are not where they are only for visual reference …come on!

        • polygooner

          I guess it is to designed so that you come up with patterns you wouldn’t normally, as most people fall into habits of playing a keyboard, using their old standbys. However, it is very expensive for what it is – I think with a little programming you could do the same in logic anyway, with transform.

          • dorian c

            Sure, Logic has really great compressors and eq’s too for example, but still we (myself included) reach for 3rd party plugins …

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