The MidemNet Lab event is almost upon us, and I am going to make an effort to review the participating companies I haven’t covered yet for those who are attending and don’t really know what to expect.
Today I would like to tell you about DigiClef, a service provided by Release Mobile (a company based in the United Kingdom). It is nothing more and nothing less than a guidebook with guitar tabs on your iPhone. If you think about it, that is a perfect match. On the one hand, you have the iPhone, something that is small and that can be located anywhere, even in places a piece of sheet music couldn’t be situated comfortably (like you thigh when you are playing the guitar). On the other hand, you have something like sheet music – on paper, it is purely inflexible. The user must adapt to it because it only works in one way. And budding players can miss the beat easily. But this app makes displaying the information an interactive task, as the user can adjust the tempo as he wishes – as fast as “Bodies” by the Sex Pistols or as slow as “My Thief” by Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach to put two contrasting examples. Also, you can loop sections of songs in order to get them to the tee.
These tabs are provided as part of songbooks, and so far songs by classic artists such as Pink Floyd are provided side to side with songs by relatively recent bands like REM and Radiohead. Artists like The Strokes and The Magic Numbers are likewise featured. In many cases, you can download not only guitar but also bass parts.
I know that music such as rock & roll is transmitted orally by tradition – that comes from the blues, of course. No bluesmen would show a song to his band by spreading sheets of music around. He would play it once, twice and that was it. However, just anybody can tell you how invigorating it is for a musician to learn to write music. I keep thinking about Elvis Costello, whom upon learning to read and write music for the album “The Juliet Letters” was sent into the biggest creative windmill of his always prolific career. And Pete Townshend tells a similar story.
In the end, I guess that the saying we have in my language holds true: “El conocimiento no ocupa lugar”. That translates into English as “Knowledge takes up no space”. Anything that enables you to convey your musical ideas to people who have a different background from the one you might be used to is a true door to something bigger. I am really interested in the way this company will go down at the event. Others companies like Silence Media and The Electric Sheep (the one presenting Streamjam) might have a broader appeal, but it is clear to everybody that the companies to be highlighted on the whole offer something complementary from start to finish.