At its core, Arpist functions like a traditional arpeggiator. That is, when you play a chord on your MIDI keyboard, Arpist plays the chord back, one note at time.
This section provides a basic overview of the intended application of Arpist controls, as well as a brief description of control functionality.
Arp Control View
You can control the speed and direction in which the notes are played using the Arp Controls View on the main screen of the app. One of the most potent characteristics of arpeggiator playback is its Pattern. Arpist provides many patterns that control the order in which incoming notes are played.
To add rhythmic variations to the playback patterns in the Rhythm View. The Rhythm view allows you to set each step in the pattern to soft, medium, loud or silent. Additionally, you can set Retrigger and Chord events within the rhythmic pattern. Retrigger events cause the pattern of notes to restart from the first note in the sequence. Chord events play all notes in the sequence simultaneously.
Arpist can also function like note sequencer when you turn notes on in the Keyboard View. Doing this frees you from having to play the notes yourself.
Song Blocks are the blue numbered squares at the top of the screen. Each Song Block acts like a mini preset, in that you can set completely different values to all of your settings in the Arp, Rhythm and Keyboard views for each Song Block.
Furthermore, each Song Block can be set to play for a certain number of beats before progressing to the next Song Block. In this way, you can use Song Blocks as an extension to your arpeggiator settings, allowing you to string together various pattern types, rates and rhythms, creating a sort of “super arpeggiator”!
Beneath the Song Blocks is a simple playback transport with two buttons, which function as follows:
Tap to start playback. During playback, Arpist iterates through each Song Block, according to its number of beats. When Arpits plays through the last Song Block, it repeats with the first Song Block.
Tap Play while Arpist is already playing to iterate exclusively over the currently selected Song Block. You can keep Arpist in looping mode and simply trigger Song Blocks by tapping on them. In this way you can use Song Blocks as pattern triggering instrument. This use is most effective if you have previously entered notes in the Keyboard View.
Tap Play again to resume normal playback.
Tap Stop to end playback. If Arpist is not playing back, tapping Stop sets selection to Song Block 1.
Note that the use of Song Blocks is completely optional. To opt out of using Song Blocks, you can set the number of Song Blocks to 1, in the Song Controls View.
Basic Feature Summary
Arpist is a flexible arpeggiator and sequencing environment. Primary uses include:
- Using Arpist as a real-time arpeggiator, as if the keyboard instrument you are playing has its own built-in arpeggiator
- Using Song Blocks to string different arpeggiator patterns and rhythms together to create a “super arpeggiator”
- Using Song Blocks with pre-entered notes to play Arpist as a pattern triggering instrument
Song Controls (Advanced Features)
Advanced Features are available for in-app purchase. Advanced Features truly are for more advanced use cases; they are not necessary for most users, who can rely on Arpist as a viable tool without the in-app purchase.
Song Controls, which you can access from the top-right button labeled “Song Controls”, presents a view of controls whose settings apply universally to all Song Blocks within a given preset.
Transposes the output notes +/- 12 half-steps. If no “Key” has been set, the transposition is chromatic. If a Key has been set, the transposition is diatonic, so that the adjust pitches remain true to the Key setting.
Sets the key signature of generated notes. You can use the adjacent # (sharp), b (flat), Major and Minor buttons to set Arpist to any classical key signature. The key setting will automatically transpose incoming notes to the correct pitch so that all notes adhere to the permitted notes of the key.
Sets you to set the MIDI velocity values, displayed as two numbers on the right side of the slider, for playback when using the Rhythm view. Soft steps in the Rhythm view will play back at the smaller value, while loud steps will play back at the higher settings.
The adjacent Random Velocity button, when enabled, produces a random velocity for each note within the range. The Actual Velocity button, when enabled, ignores the Velocity Range values, and plays back at the velocity with which they were originally played.
Sometimes referred to as “shuffle”, Swing sets a timing offset between two notes, such that the higher the value, the longer the first note will play and the shorter the second note will play. The two notes will still occupy the same amount of musical time when their durations are summed, regardless of the Swing value.
Beats in Block
For the currently selected Song Block, this value sets the number of beats the block will play before progressing to the next Song Block. The unit “beat” is equivalent to one quarter note at a given tempo.
This slider sets the number of active Song Blocks. After Arpist has played through the last active Song Block, playback restarts on Song Block.