Getting the most out of tranceNdance music response

tranceNdance offers a fun music and audio response mode that is well worth spending time with. Because it uses the inbuilt microphone to sample sound, it is quite finicky about the conditions required to make it all happen for you. Basically you need to get the following four things right:

  • Ambient noise levels. Play your music in an otherwise quiet space. The quieter the better.
  • Music type. Some music tracks are much, much friendlier to sound spectrum analysis than others. What you are looking for is songs with plenty of “space” – quiet areas, punctuated by sudden increases in volume. Slow hand clapping in a silent room is the ideal scenario – so think a slow, clear drum beat with plenty of aural space in between. The faster the beat and the more crowded the sound spectrum, the worse the results will be. Rock music, in which all instruments plus vocals blend into a continuous haze of noise just leaves the music response algorithm baffled. For best results, look instead at
    • Downtempo electronic artists with a clear beat
    • Mellow jazz / jazz-around-midnight type collections
  • Microphone sensitivity. Unless you are in super-quiet conditions, lower is often better. I start with the microphone at near-zero levels and slowly work my way up until the main beat of the song starts to reveal itself.
  • Music volume. Even slow jazz can swamp the microphone and make a hash out of the sound spectrum if it’s loud enough.
I’ve had my best music response sessions in a quiet room at night.

Q: But I don’t like mellow music – how am I supposed to party to that?

If you are looking to use tranceNdance in a party scenario – and assuming you know that no one present suffers from photosensitive epilepsy – then projecting the iPad2 onto a wall with a video projector and manually VJ’ing to the music is your best bet. To do this, turn the microphone sensitivity down to almost zero and use a combination of single finger taps/slides and double finger taps to pulse out the beat.

The advantage of this method is of course that you can play any music you please, as loud as you please. The disadvantage is that you need a skilled player to sit down with the iPad2 and make it all happen.


How do I use tranceNdance with my music streaming service?


This is a tricky one. First off, you need to get tranceNdance to stop playing music. So open tranceNdance, press play, choose a song and then press pause. Now start your streaming service and return to the app. If the service still cuts out, double click the home button, swipe right to reveal the music player controls and press play. Then touch the main screen area to resume tranceNdance. This seems to work OK for iPads but iPhones can be less accommodating. In other words, your music streaming service may not work at all with tranceNdance on an iPhone. For what it is worth, I can get Spotify running on my iPhone4S using this technique.

A screenshot from the iPhone4S

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