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  1. I fell for an ad... It looked so nice on the web page. Thomann sold a Novation Launchpad Mini Mk2 for €58. Writing music is a very melodic thing for me. I sit by my piano and play something. Record it to MIDI and convert it to HandyMusic SASS format. But for the next game I kind of need a bit more electronic, main stream music so I thought I could learn something by trying out the Launchpad with the software Ableton Lite. It was a very educational experience. I sat by my computer banging on the pad till past midnight. Unfortunately most of the samples are analog so there is not much I could do for making Lynx music. But the pad was super. I tried to run some launchpad libraries but they did not recognize the tablet. So I just started to bang on the tablet socket and within 30 minutes I had full control of the keys and the leds on the tablet. The Ableton interface was much too complicated for practical Lynx work. But I liked some of the concepts. At the top of the pad there is a row of buttons labeled 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 The first 4 columns will represent the Lynx sound channels. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 o o o o . . . . A o o o o . . . . B o o o o . . . . C o o o o . . . . D o o o o . . . . E o o o o . . . . F o o o o . . . . G o o o o . . . . H Every button "o" will contain a one or two bar clip. It can be any kind of instrument. You can activate only one button per column at a time. To mute/unmute a channel you can press the number pad on the top row. The next thing I liked a lot was the rightmost column of letters. Pressing a letter A..H activates the entire row (all 4 channels) In order to visualize the rhythm the letters A..H light up one at a time in the tempo of the music. Which brings me to the next problem. How to set the tempo? For this purpose I decided to use button 7. You change the tempo by tapping button 7. There is just two LED's per button (red + green) with 2 bits for intensity of one LED. red = 0, green = 0 -> black (no data in this button) red = 3, green = 3 -> yellow (there is a playable clip in this button) red = 0, green = 3 -> green (this clip is currently playing) Then I need to be able to present a clip library with pre-defined drum beats, bass lines, licks, riffs, counter rhythms, breaks. For browsing through the library I plan to use columns 5 and 6. Both columns are independent from each other. By pressing button 5 you get the next page of clips in column 5. Same for column 6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 . . . . o o . . A . . . . o o . . B . . . . o o . . C . . . . o o . . D . . . . o o . . E . . . . o o . . F . . . . o o . . G . . . . o o . . H So for browsing the clip library you just press any button in column 5. It may contain pretty much anything for one or two bars. If you like the clip and want to copy it to a channel you press the clip button for a long time till it starts blinking. Now you can press any button in columns 1..4 and it will be copied in place for performace. To delete a clip you copy a cell without content and paste it. Then we have the problem with the melody. There is still two columns unused and that will be our piano. We have space for one octave. The # keys are the black keys on a piano. + is for octave up. - is for octave down. The instrument can be dropped in the box 'o' between the black keys. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 . . . . . . + C A . . . . . . # H B . . . . . . # A C . . . . . . # G D . . . . . . o F E . . . . . . # E F . . . . . . # D G . . . . . . - C H OMG. We have obviously wasted one button. The button 8 has no function. So we allocate that one for changing the operation mode for the whole Launchpad. It will toggle between the clip mode you have just seen and the build mode where you put together the clips from individual sounds. The code will run on a Raspberry Pi. The Launchpad is attached to an USB port. I also plan to use another USB port for an USB->serial conversion using FT232. This allows me to communicate with ComLynx at full speed. I am currently writing this in Python 3. Everything will be recorded to json files so you can playback your creation later. There is no "record" button. From this recording I plan to write some kind of music conversion into Handy Music format. ... to be continued ... The colours of the Launchpad are usable. Not "amazing". Here you can see the "piano" to the right. The beat counter is running down (at B just now). Plus there is two active channels. Channel 1 is playing clip nr 3. The "piano" is also green (row E, button 7). I still have not written the Lynx software that plays the actual clips. But that part should be fairly easy to do.
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