Gestrument – Review

Created by: Jesper Nordin and Jonatan Liljedahl

Created by: Jesper Nordin and Jonatan Liljedahl

Gesture and Instrument met one crazy night on a blind date set up by their friends. It was love at first touch. They had a child and named it Gestrument.
Gestrument grew with the best attributes of its parents into the perfect combination.

Alright, enough of that. You get the picture. Gestrument is a new MIDI controller and instrument created by Jesper Nordin and Jonatan Liljedahl.
Designed for ease of use to comfortably perform a multitude of musical styles, Gestrument delights the senses.

Controlling other iOS music apps via virtual MIDI is, as it should be, a simple process. Simply put, you just load another synth, enable its background audio and MIDI out, wallah, you’re in business. Gestrument just knows what to do. You can expect that further MIDI development is underway.

Gestrument is shipped with its own synth and dozens of great preset sounds, assignable to 8 instrument banks. These can be played simultaneously or in any combination along with whatever is being controlled in the background. Tap the instruments 1-8 on or off on the fly. Some pretty interesting combinations are at the ready awaiting discovery.

Each instrument can have its own settings, such as pitch, note length, range etc. A nice reverb with 3 quality settings can be applied to the overall mix. It would be nice if each instrument could have its own FX setting, but for now its global. All On or all off.

Playing Gestrument is intuitive and uncomplicated. Your iPad screen is the whole playing surface. It’s a nice use of screen space without waste. One finger controls the instruments, the other controls selectable parameters (Like pulse, pitch, scale morphing, and rhythm) by dragging away and angling from the first. It’s a snap. Depending on where you touch the screen and how you combine the second touch will impact the sounds the instrument makes. It’s a very clean and expressive way to create music. It’s easy for anyone to start making great music right away. Gestrument also has just the right amount of options for the experienced musicians who desire a greater amount of control.
Although a little light on programmable options now, further development will surely add more complex options as Gestrument grows. The developers are open to user feedback. So if you want something, just ask them. You may get it.

Gestrument Features
Visit HERE for more on Gestrument from its creators.

It would be really nice to see some more gesture, or multi-touch controls. As is, the multi-touch is limited to 2 fingers. It’s all in how you combine the movements. It may sound like that’s not much, but a lot can be done with some creative use in how you play it.

Recording and playback looping are available. AudioCopy and direct link to AudioShare are also included. Gestruments recorder however doesn’t seem to record MIDI controlled sounds. You’ll have to use the record function from the other app for that.

I have found Gestrument to be a very pleasant app. It’s a synch to use, and sounds great. This is a quality instrument and is highly stable. It’s not crashed on me once even while playing all 8 instruments and controlling the two synths from Magellan.
This is the chocolate and peanut butter of gesture and instrument. Yum.

4 stars Recommended. Buy Gestrument HERE at iTunes.

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31 comments

  1. “This is the chocolate and peanut butter of gesture and instrument. Yum.”

    More like Yum, Yum ๐Ÿ™‚

    You say controlling both synth’s from Magellan, was that at the same time with different sounds and different midi channels?

      1. kewl, i wonder if i can get it to work like that in sampletank some different keys & strings and then record into my newest best app Aurie (I couldnt resist with 50% off lol)

  2. Very informative review, thanks for posting! I Agree that an update should let u – record midi performances, separate fx for instruments, & more multi touch options – But so far, so good! โค

    1. Hi, Midi recording is coming in our next update – which will be out before or just after Christmas. As for separate FX per instrument, it’s a bit more tricky but we will put it on our list of possible updates. For now, I suggest connecting it to another synth – in iOS or on your computer – and tweak the sounds there to perfection. The included sounds are ok, but it is just to have something sounding straight away. The real power in Gestrument is in controlling other sound sources. More multi touch options are always on the table, but it has to be coherent and intuitive so we don’t want to rush it. Thanks for you interest! /Jesper from http://www.gestrumet.com

  3. I was wondering if this app is similar to Scape by Brian Eno…it just seems to have a little of that randomness. I don’t own that app either but I am very interested in both. I just got samplr and that app as well has a bit of that randomness. I want to be able to riff over whatever gets created in either of those apps but maybe have a bit more control over the chaos if you will…thanks for the review though it seems really really great!!

      1. Now that is something I didn’t know….Scape’s usefulness then is mostly for live performance I imagine? Gestrument does seem very unique especially with the ability to play so many of the instruments at once and also being able to use other apps….all of this is going to be even more awesome I think with the game changer “audiobus” coming soon….but that’s another review lol!! Thanks again
        Maria

      2. 1st winner. Check your email that you entered in order to comment. ๐Ÿ™‚ I sent the code there. If you want maybe Tweet your good fortune? Or if you want to remain relatively anonymous that’s cool. ๐Ÿ™‚ thank you. 2 left.

  4. Do you think in your honest opinion this app, is more for serious composing, musical idea’s, or performance (fun or serious – as it seems to concentrate a fair bit on expression)

    1. Well, for what its worth, I am using it with the intent on serious production. It has good expressive qualities that I’m finding to be quite useful in my own music. I could easily see anyone getting a lot from it. It’s no toy, but go ahead and play with it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I’ve been expecting its release since I heard Jonatan Liljedahl was involved (tbh I thought it was a one man job). He already did a great job on his Bit Wiz Synth and its significant updates (this app went a long way since its first release). My guess is that whatever small issues or “missing” features this app may have at the moment, those will be fixed in the near future.

    1. You are correct! We are both working hard on updates with small fixes (like internal Midi recording which will be coming in the next update hopefully before Christmas) as well as working on some completely new ideas that we think will exceed all you expectations;-) As for developing, it is Jonatan that has done all the actual programming of the iOS app, but he did it based on my composition tool that I originally programmed in Max/MSP using a Wacom tablet or a Kinect motion sensor as input. You can read more about the background on our website – http://www.gestrument.com /Jesper

  6. It seems that Gestrument will be fantastic for those passages where you want to combine great pads or strings from different apps in a musical makes sense kind of way. The only midi sequencer that I have at the moment is Genome and it is a little complicated to me to input notes. This seems pretty effortless.

    Another nice and rounded review, thanks!

  7. Great review…would appreciate it if you could do a different demo that shows how it can work with other mix of synths via virtualmidi.
    I was really hoping there would be a “freeze” function where you could just freeze the current sequrnce/sound for the selected instruments and then let that loop , while you start of a new set of instruments or loop.
    Like a midi looper ..and then add multi point touch to it..
    Very interesting nevertheless and will pick it up soon…right now i have other apps that i am eyeing…

    Thanks for excellent review…

    1. Both different ways of looping and freezing instruments are things that are on our list of future features that are hopefully not too far away. As for virtual midi – right now Gestrument just sends out midi to anyone who listens through Coremidi – an interface, other iOS apps or network midi. But in our next update we will add more control over this from inside of the Editor. Thanks for your interest. Jesper Nordin from Gestrument

  8. This looks truly amazing. I have contacted Jonatan before in reference to BitWiz and he implemented my requests quickly and has always been very approachable. The usefulness of Gestrument in orchestration seems creative and needed for iOS. I am really looking forward to trying this out in the near future.

  9. I was wondering if it can trigger synths inside the iPad and record them through Audiobus ??
    Don’t have hardware synths. Only virtual on iPad and Mac. Thanx.

    1. It can control other iOS synths, and record what you play out in Gestrument. Using Audiobus with Gestrument as an Input, & another app capable of recording like Loopy or Multitrack as an Output is another way.

  10. I am looking for a decent sound software, like garageband for the mac, that provides free midi files for instruments, so that all you have to do is compose together a song. I remember using one a few years back but appear to of forgotten the name, so if anyone could tell me of a half decent one for use it would be much appreciated? It doesn’t have to be a free one but if it is that helps ๐Ÿ™‚ Thankyou.

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