Magic Tone Network FREE Video Tutorial Series

 What is XpressPads “Magic Tone Network”?

XpressPads Magic Tone Network is a FREE video tutorial series for those who would like to compose music on pads. It provides an innovative method to get sophisticated music composed on 8×8 pad controllers such as Novation’s Launchpad, without having to learn the depths of music theory. A person might wonder what is so special about that XpressPads Magic Tone Network technique and why it is so easy to learn. Here are the answers:

  2. The Magic Tone Network approach to music is 100 percent LOGICAL.
  3. It is primarily about the RELATIONS in music, not so much about absolute note values. The Magic Tone Network pad layout and all composition- and playing-methods derived from that layout are based on what have stood for centuries as TWO OF THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS IN WESTERN MUSIC: the Circle Of Fifths and Leonhard Euler’s “Tonnetz” (English: “tone-network”). Both concepts have been prevalent in theory and in practice since at least the 1600s. Today, 8×8 pad controllers let you perfectly and easily apply these magical (or just logical???) music formulas in new ways. Unlike any other instrument known today, 8×8 pad controllers are ideally suited to apply these two musical concepts and turn the theory into real music – YOUR REAL MUSIC.
  4. Each CHORD TYPE FINGERING needs to be learned JUST ONCE, including major, minor, 7, maj7, 6, 9, sus2, sus4, dim, aug, and then works the same way for every root note of any given chord. Changing chords can be compared to shifting around barre chords on the guitar fretboard, where you just change the position of your hand, not the fingering for the chord.
  5. Each SCALE, MELODY, AND INTERVAL PATTERN needs to be learned JUST ONCE and then works the same way in each and every key. This also resembles using identical scale and melody fingerings on different frets on the guitar in order to shift the key.
  6. The position of each of the twelve basic semitones that appear in contemporary music needs to be learned JUST ONCE and then repeat block-wise on the pad section in a visually logical way.
  7. Changing key is a matter of shifting a fingering pattern to a different location on the pad controller, not like learning a completely new fingering set required when learning piano.
  8. Cross-key melody-runs are no more a challenge. In fact, they are easy!
  9. You’ll learn how to intuitively build harmonies, chord progressions, and melodies and you will VISUALLY UNDERSTAND which combinations MAKE SENSE and SOUND GOOD.
  10. This video tutorial series’ approach is “step-by-step”, from “very simple” to “quite complex”. This approach will make sure that you will enjoy the Magic Tone Network technique and achieve your goals as a modern music composer that loves to play on pads.

XpressPads Magic Tone Network will help you understand musical and tonal relationships in music overall and make it applicable to your own compositions and music productions. You’ll be able to compose mood-based harmonies and melodies that fit well together rather than always falling back into traditional harmonies and melody concepts.

XpressPads Magic Tone Network is a method of composing, not necessarily a method of playing your favorite songs from the sheet. While playing music from the sheet with XpressPads Magic Tone Network is technically possible, it is not the goal of this video tutorial series. No note reading skills are required to learn Magic Tone Network, nor do the Magic Tone Network video tutorials teach notation. NOTATION IS NOT NEEDED TO COMPOSE MUSIC. That’s a common misunderstanding when it comes to composing. All you need to understand in order to become a composer is the inter-relation of the basic musical elements, which are MELODY, HARMONY, and RHYTHM. With XpressPads Magic Tone Network you can compose your own melodies and chord progressions for harmony on your pad controller(s). With XpressPads Finger Drumming you can play rhythms on your pad controller(s).


Exercise Block 01: Introduction (15 Videos / 47 mins)

Exercise Block 02: Basic Scale Drills (4 Videos / 7 mins)

Exercise Block 03: Chord Basics (14 Videos / 34 mins)

Exercise Block 04: Intervals (5 Videos / 16 mins)

Exercise Block 05: More Thoughts On Chords (7 Videos / 26 mins)


Update 2016-12-04: Please check out this awesome MIDI converter script for Ableton Live. It is a huge time saver, super-easy to set up, and works with Ableton Push 2 & 1, and with Novation Launchpad Pro & MK2.


I am not a piano player.

I can’t play the piano. I can’t read notes fluently and I certainly cannot play music from the sheet. I can play a few simple things on the piano – mainly on the white keys – but I stumble when black keys are involved.

I am, though—and always was an analytic and logic-driven person. Musically, I like it when things make sense, sound “round”, are based on rules, and can be replicated in different keys. I like that much more than spending time on learning exceptions, which make everything so complicated. I want to learn only one scale instead of twelve, one for each key. I want to learn only one chord fingering instead of twelve, one for each semitone. I don’t want to mess around with black and white keys that look and feel different for every chord.

Some might call that laziness – I call it effectiveness. There are 1,000 ways to achieve goals, but I usually try to find the shortest way to get something done. Particularly in today’s universe of virtual music production options (software- and hardware-wise), I believe everyone can learn how to compose and produce music without being bound to traditional instruments and learning methods. As long as it is logical and makes sense you’ll understand it.

It’s just a question of how high a person sets the bar and how one deals with the limitations others set for you. If you’re told that composing music is too complicated for you – and you believe that – it probably will be too complicated. If you believe you need a traditional instrument like a guitar or piano to get started with making music and composing and producing your own music, then you probably need one.

Let me ask a question: Is it necessary to play piano or guitar in order to produce current top-of-the-charts music? I don’t think so. Today, songs that reach the billboard charts can be written and produced on notebooks in the subway, the park, or in a hotel room. Your gear setup can be so small that it all fits in a backpack. There are thousands of virtual instruments available to you on the internet – some of them even free of charge. There are many great DAWs available that let you produce music at the highest standards. So why should you think that becoming a music composer and producer requires more than a clear understanding of these tools and an intuitive way of dealing with music theory? If you ask me, there is no limitation.

If you are a bit like me, having a sense for music, playing some guitar or other instrument, and not getting along well with black and white keys, pads may be your solution to play your virtual instruments the way you’re happy with. The piano didn’t work for me, pad controllers do.

When I started with finger drumming on pads a few years ago it was like going back in time to when I started learning guitar. It felt like learning a real instrument with all the joy, creative flow, experimenting and compositional success included. With XpressPads Magic Tone Network I think I can close the circle that makes me a modern composer and music producer who can tap into all the virtual instrument options that are available today. It feels great.

If you are an experienced piano player you probably haven’t even read to this point because Magic Tone Network might not seem beneficial to you. But if you read this, you might be tempted to deepen your understanding of musical relationships and turn to quick, intuitive composing. Thank you for reading!

Everyone who read this far: I wish you a lot of fun with this 100 percent free-of-charge video tutorial series!


Let’s get started!

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