Watching keyboard master Jordan Rudess perform his adventurous, virtuosic parts on stage with Dream Theater, you'd swear that he possessed an extra hand or two. Off stage, he's no less of a multi-tasker: As president of Wizdom Music, he's designed and has overseen the launch of a series of highly successful music-making apps such as MorphWiz, SampleWiz and GeoSynth.
His latest creation, HarmonyWiz, the recently released HarmonyWiz, looks like another winner. Rudess worked with developer Ruben Zilibowitz to formulate an app that would allow users to paint a symphony and orchestrate their music in one touch, using either their finger or by inputting a harmony line from a piano-style keyboard. HarmonyWiz can be purchased and downloaded via iTunes.
In the interview below, Rudess talks about how HarmonyWiz came together and discusses its various functions.
Have you worked with Ruben before?
“No, this is my first time working with him. With my company, Wizdom Music, I work with designers from all over the world. I’ll find someone who’s working in an area of music that’s interesting to me musically and who works with multi-touch devices, and we’ll start up a relationship and work on a project. There’s one developer I’ve done a lot of things with, the fellow I started out with – his name is Kevin Chartier, a very talented guy; we’ve done MorphWiz and SampleWiz, and he also helped out with GeoSynthesizer – so he and I have a lot of history together. But I’ve had some successful and interesting collaborations with other guys, so that keeps it fun.”
What was it about Ruben that intrigued you?
“I have my eyes peeled on the App Store for all the different and cool things happening. Besides at this point being just a jungle of apps, it’s still a place where there’s a lot of creativity. I’m always excited when I see people trying to push the boundaries, whether it’s doing something that’s wild and crazy or something just plain functional and handy.
“In Ruben’s case, I saw a simple app that was playing with an idea that I’d had, one that could analyze a composer or an improviser’s brain. The technology would allow the computer to make decisions about what kinds of chords to use in a musical phrase or piece. What I was imagining was that I could put in a single melody line, hit a button and the computer would say, ‘OK, in this style, here’s a nice little arrangement.’"