iCathedral Organ iSymphonic Orchestra

Getting Started

The following instructions are intended for users who are using the iSymphonic Orchestra App for the first time. It provides an introduction how to use the App and an overview of the most important features.

Launching the App

After you purchased and downloaded iSymphonic Orchestra from the App Store, you can launch the App by tapping on the iSymphonic icon on your iOS desktop.

If you want to control the iSymphonic Orchestra App with an external MIDI keyboard, then please first connect the external MIDI keyboard to your iPad / iPhone / iPod before starting the iSymphonic Orchestra App.

Multi Parts / Pages

iSymphonic Orchestra is a so called multi-part sound generator. It provides 16 parts in total. That means this app is not just one sound generator, but actually 16 sound generators in-one. This is an important key feature to know about this app in order to avoid configuration issues with external MIDI keyboards. So you may play i.e. some string sound on one part, a French Horn sound on another part, some drums on yet another part, and so on, and you may play them all at the same time. You may even assign those sounds separately to multiple external MIDI keyboards or to separate key zone ranges on your external MIDI keyboard.

You can disable individual parts by simply rotating the respective part's volume knob down to 0 %. In this particular case the part's volume will not just be decreased but actually make the part inactive, so it won't spawn voices or waste resources.

Input MIDI Channel

For each one of those 16 parts you can select its own sound, volume, effect settings and input MIDI channel. By default part 1 listens on MIDI channel 1, part 2 on MIDI channel 2, part 3 on MIDI channel 3, and so on. But as you can see on the left, you may change the input MIDI channel of each part. You may for example assign multiple parts to the same MIDI channel, so you can play a layered sound with your keyboard, or you may change the input MIDI channel setting of a part to so called Omni Mode. The latter will cause the part to listen to any MIDI channel and is sometimes useful to force getting a sound, no matter how the external MIDI keyboard is configured regarding MIDI channel.

In so called Omni Mode the respective selected part will listen and react to all MIDI channels.

Select a Sound

iSymphonic Orchestra provides a large set of sounds (or instruments), like small and large orchestras, various string ensembles, woodwind instruments, drums and many more. For each part (sound generator) you can select its own sound. There are 3 ways to select or change the sound for a part:

  1. Tap on the "Sound" combo box, a large list with sound names will unfold. Scroll the list up and down by dragging ("swipe") your finger vertically on the list. Finally tap on an item from the list to select the respective sound.
  2. You may also change the sound remotely by sending a MIDI bank select and MIDI program change message pair to your iPad / iPhone. This way you can for example switch the sound remotely with your external MIDI keyboard. Each sound of iSymphonic Orchestra has its own Bank select number and Program Change number, which you can find in the sound list, right below the respective sound name.
  3. Or you may drag ("swipe") the virtual orchestra players with your finger horizontally off the stage. The virtual orchestra players of the next (on left swipe) or previous (on right swipe) sound will appear immediately on the screen instead and you will hear the respective new sound on the selected part.

On-Screen Keyboard

For quick tests, or while being on the road with no real MIDI keyboard around, you can use iSymphonic's on-screen virtual keyboard. It provides the full range of 88 keys of a regular piano keyboard. Simply tap on its keys to trigger notes on the currently selected part.

The keys on the keyboard will also lit up when notes are triggered by MIDI on the currently selected part. So you may also use the on-screen keyboard as pure visual indication to control whether your external MIDI keyboard (or MIDI song) is configured correctly for triggering notes on the currently selected part.

Enlarge Keyboard: Place two fingers on the approximately 1cm thick strip above the keyboard, then drag your fingers away from each other to increase the size of the keyboard ("pinch-zoom") on your screen to the desired dimension.

Shrink Keyboard: Place two fingers on the approximately 1cm thick strip above the keyboard, then drag your fingers towards them to decrease the size of the keyboard ("pinch-zoom") on your screen to the desired dimension.

Scroll Keyboard: When the keyboard is enlarged, you may scroll the keyboard horizontally by placing one finger on the approximately 1cm thick strip above the keyboard, then drag your finger horizontally either left or right to get the keyboard to the desired keys section. Each C key got a number sticked to it, which identifies the octave number. So you may use this number as visual indication to quickly navigate to the desired octave when the keyboard is enlarged to maximum size.

Since the on-screen keyboard is designed as multi-touch controller, that is you may place several fingers onto the keyboard simultaniously to trigger and hold chords for example, such scale and scroll operations will only work when you first place your finger(s) at the dedicated approximately 1cm thick area above the keyboard to start the scale or scroll operation, it will not work when you initially place your finger(s) directly on the keyboard, because that will simply trigger notes instead. Once the scale or scroll operation started, the precise position of your finger(s) is irrelevant.

Change Volume

There are currently exactly 3 different volume factors which make up the overall volume of your sounds:

Reverb Effect

You may add a reverb audio effect to your sounds with the controls shown on the left. A reverb effect simulates the sonic reflections in a certain type of room. You can choose between a variety of reverb effect types, from very small rooms up to huge cathedrall halls and tunnels. There are also some rather articial reverb effect types which provide reverberation times that don't exist in nature. Especially electronic music genres often use such kind of articial effects to add a very deep "ambient" feeling i.e. for slow tempo songs.

With the reverb send level you can control the amount of volume of your selected part's sound (instrument) to be fed into the reverb audio effect. The higher the effect send level, the louder the audio effect will be noticable in the final audio output signal.

By selecting "Off" from the effect type combo box, you can also disable the effect completely, in case you prefer a completely "dry" version of your sounds. You might want to do that for example if you are routing iSymphonic's audio output into a separate third-party audio effect app instead. You may also disable the audio effect simply to save CPU resources on your iPad / iPhone.

Document Updated:  2015-10-20  |  Author:  Werner Mohrlok, Christian Schoenebeck