Jotting Down Musical Ideas: Patches, Notebooks, Sketches, Small Devices, etc


I use Spire for humming in ideas above a track when I’m not at my studio. I also have a music notebook.

However, I’d love to have a separate program with a keyboard for playing in melodies. Just a piano sound, an awesome on-screen keyboard, and a recording feature. Looping and time signatures a bonus. MIDI export, even cooler, but I’m not sure I’d use it.

What do ya’ll use when you’re AFK?




I like Tuxguitar for quickly getting ideas down. Android version is super handy when on the train to work.

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I’m constantly recording acoustic sketches into my H4n, the simplicity of it helps me keep my ideas fresh when I’m not in music recording mode. Not sure how I’m going to use them yet, but I’m sure I will someday

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That note book is great, I use the blank pages on the LHS to jot down patch/preset info

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like many of you I don’t spend the day anywhere near my system, and like many of you I spend a significant amount of time at work thinking about what to do the next time I get to sit down with it. how do you keep your ideas straight between sessions? how, if at all, do you annotate your ideas as they pop into your head?

i’ve been keeping a tiny notepad and pen in my pocket for the last few months and it’s definitely helped me not lose ideas between sessions. my notes are usually super raw, as they’re usually scribbled down on the subway home from work. mostly ideas for samples, weird patch ideas, etc.



Nice topic!

I’ve been too lazy lately to write these things down. I do have several notes on my phone with patch ideas, sample ideas, track tiltes and concepts etc. But with so much in the digital realm, I tend to forget about it and loose track.

A very good idea to bring a small sketch book and pen. I actually have one sitting on my desk with my modular setup, but I forget about it as soon as I get down to it! Been meaning to write down patch notes before I let them go, but I seem to always be in a hurry to set up a new one. May be some of the charm of modular though.



I keep a “music” section in my todo tracker. Half of it usually makes sense days later.



with the weather warming up in chicago and fewer days requiring coats [aka fewer days with twice as many pockets], figuring out a good way to keep these notes on my phone and keep one more thing out of my back pocket is a really good idea. a quick google search yielded about a hundred app options, one of them has got to work!



Dan’s app looks nice, I wonder which one it is. I use a similar one called workflowy and I’m fond of it because it syncs on all my devices



I’ve got a bit of a thing for note/pocket books.

My favourite by a mile are Rollbahn (esp the mini 112x138mm type)

Field Notes are also really nice (quite hard to get hold of in the UK though).

I find a handy pocketbook is much more useful than phone apps etc.

I carry two around in my work bag; one effectively a glorified ‘to do’ (or more accurately ‘don’t forget’) list, and the other for sketches, notes, ideas etc. (the fun stuff :grinning:)

I like ring-bound as they are easier to handle, and the ring binder bit makes a very handy pen holder!



Looks like Things 3!

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Notebooks are necessity for me. Like to keep a spiralbound pocket one covered in duct and/or electrical tape on me at all times. Keeps the cover from tearing off and cuz I tend to slosh coffee/tea/water.

Also keep a modular idea book (and for actual patch notes that usually end up so convoluted I never seem to come back to them in detail). A graph paper notebook for teletype stuff has been a recent addition. One for sketches/watercolor pen drawings. One for notes/quotes on/from whatever books I’m reading. Endless notebooks!



what app is that? it looks great!



Thats Things. I think it’s in its third iteration now, been going for years. Mac, iPhone and iPad apps. Its very very well made.