Simple Man Simple Music?

I have been lurking on the Monome site for the last few years. I have probably visited a thousand times. I am on the verge of purchasing an aluminum 128 grid, but I have a few questions and I’m hoping a few of you will be able to help me.

Let me start by saying, I am not a programmer, nor do I have any interest in writing patches or learning to program. I understand, after lurking here for so long, that this will limit what I can do with grid as far as apps go.

My question is this; out of the box, how much music can I make with just SUM? I realize it is limited in some ways, but it also seems fairly comprehensive. Can I utilize more than one app within SUM at the same time using Grid? Do I need any special software to do this? Are there any other apps available that are as user friendly as SUM out of the box that don’t require me to have any knowledge of programming?

I plan on using grid to move into minimalist modular within the next year or so, but until I figure that out, SUM is it for me. Let me state, I do not use Ableton, so that’s not an option.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer any these questions. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

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I don’t use sum much at all. But - do you have any vst’s, softsynths? Because if you do, then there are plenty of monome apps that you can use to make great music. Mark Eats sequencer and Polygomé are two of my favourites. Both very powerful and very easy to get started with. Polygomé works very nicely even without any fancy softsynth.

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Well, i actually really like Sum… And like you, purchased the monome to use with modular… So, I’m on my way with that and will be purchasing the modules next… That said, I have done a live performance with sum… And it turned out great! I can change the files within the mlr section of sum on the fly by dragging in ready made clips… Yes, it may seem limiting, in some ways… But depending on your outlook… Maybe that’s good! I look at it as something that pushes me further in my music making and creativity… The limits seem to push my creativity forward! I actually enjoy that part of it!

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[quote]I understand, after lurking here for so long, that this will limit what I can do with grid as far as apps go.

I don’t believe this is the case, personally. I’ve used the grid outside of Ableton (which I do own) for many years with great success, without ever doing any coding or modification of my own.

@strettara’s suggestions are a great place to start, and off the top of my head I can think of a few others that I love and still use pretty regularly: the original Max versions of Meadowphysics and Teletype, Triggers, Flin, just to name a few. If you don’t have any VSTs or softsynths, any of Aalto, Kaivo or Circle are worth investing in, IMO.

Having said all of that, I do tend to use the grid more with modular nowadays, but I still believe that performing/creating only with software will be very gratifying (for both you and @markthepoet) if you’re willing to experiment and find the apps that will work with your system and workflow. As struggles go, it’s pretty enjoyable…

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I do not. I am very new to all of this. My main concern will be just getting the grid up and running before I look at further investments, but I will most certainly look at the names you suggested! Thank you for taking the time to write.

Yes! This! It is nice to see someone exactly where I am at with this outlook. I am hoping SUM will make me think in new ways. One question, can any of the other apps within SUM be run at the same time on GRID, or are you limited to just one at a time?

All the apps within sum run at the same time!



Do you anticipate you will want to use grid with apps that make their own sounds (Sum) or apps that control other apps or synths, like the aforementioned MarkEats and Polygome?

If you are new to all of this I would humbly suggest that you try to learn the basics of midi control and routing in the meantime as it will be one less thing once your grid arrives. Plenty of great free softsynths out there that you can experiment with. Do you have a DAW you like using?

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Hello and thanks for your reply. For starters, yes, I plan on exploring SUM in great detail, and then maybe adding a few extra apps, such as Party Van or things that I am fairly certain I can figure out. My primary focus is on making music for performance and hopefully not to get to bogged down in the setup and mechanics of it. SUM seems like a fairly easy way to do that, followed by modular, if you close your eyes and ignore the costs.

I have both Ableton and Reason, but honestly, using a DAW to make music doesn’t appeal to me in the least. My goal is to move into modular as soon as I can figure out it’s basics, and to utilize tape loops and my iPad running Audulus or SAMPLR. The good people at Audulus are working on a piece of hardware that will allow you to connect your iPad directly to modular without the use of a computer, which I find incredibly exciting. I learned basic MIDI routing back in the 80’s, but things are so different now, however it seems like the basics are still somewhat in place.

I cut my teeth playing blues. I have fronted my own blues trio in Chicago for the last several years, but have always had a secret, suppressed love of experimental music and noise (everything from Sonic Youth to Basinksi to the newest Yorke). It is only now that I have abandoned traditional the guitar/band situation and am trying to broaden my horizons.

I can’t put into words how excited I am to have moved into grid based music making.