The Truth about Music

  • We are all born knowing how to tap our feet, sing and enjoy music.
  • Just like the human language, music is an Instinct.
  • Music both unifies and equalizes people.
  • Music is a language of feeling and through it, people get to know the real us.
  • Anyone can learn music how to play music, regardless of age, creed, or sexual orientation.
  • Music is easy to learn. All you have to do is start and give yourself space to succeed.
  • Music is a marathon. Slow down and enjoy the journey.

Why Electronic Music?

  • Start making music right away while you develop rhythm and timing.
  • Simplify learning by separating music theory from learning how to play an instrument.
  • Learn one instrument, and play hundreds of other instruments.
  • Learn live looping and become a one-person orchestra.
  • Use filters and special effects to craft your super special sounds.
  • Learn how to produce your own music and share it with others.
  • Music is music. You will become better at playing normal instruments.

Why Grid Controllers?

  • Launchpads are similar to computer keyboards, making them an ideal choice for those that already know how to type.
  • They're affordable with prices ranging from $100 to $350 for new models. Used and refurbished units are much cheaper.
  • They're multi-purpose. You can play piano, and viola and lay down the drum track with a single controller.
  • They'll grow with you. As you get better at music you can expand your setup and add more launchpads to your arsenal.

What are Notes 🎶

  • In their simplest form notes are symbols for a sound.
  • Western music uses 12 notes, to denote 12 distinct sounds.

  • Instead of using numbers, we can use letters to represent them.
  • It's easiest to think of it as a musical alphabet.

Sharps♯ and Flats♭

  • The notes with the hash sign (♯) are called sharps.
  • The notes without sharps are called natural notes.

  • Sharps notes (♯) have an alternate name, called flats (♭).
  • For example, C♯ is equivalent to D♭.

  • In music theory the notes C♯ and D♭ are considered enharmonic, meaning they represent the same pitch.
  • The main purpose of enharmonic notes is to improve readability.
  • The sequence B♭-B♮-B♭ is easier to read with the enharmonic spelling of B♭-C♭-B♭.

The Octaves 🎶

  • On a grid controller, the notes are laid out from the bottom left to the top right.
  • They start with the C, go up to B, and then repeat.
  • The distance from C to B is called an Octave.
  • Every time the pattern repeats a new Octave begins.

  • Let's highlight the C to make it easier to see every time the notes wrap around.
  • We're going to put the octave number in parenthesis to make it easier to visualize octave changes.

  • As the octave increases so does the Pitch making the note sound Higher.
  • The note (or the flavor) itself doesn't change, just how it sounds.
  • Food can be salty, and get saltier (pitch going up), but it doesn't magically become sweet (another note).
  • Below is note C played along 6 different octaves using the Piano voicing.

Let's add color 🎨

  • The color will make things easier to remember, by associating letters with colors.

  • Now lets rearrange things back into a grid.
  • We'll be using this notation throughout this site.

Take your Time 🧘🏼‍♀️

  • Learning to use the grid controller is no different than using a computer keyboard.
  • In the beginning, you will look at the controller to find the notes you are looking for.
  • Over time you will develop muscle memory and will know which button to press based on the sound you want to produce.

Tuning the Launchpad ⚒

  • Launchpad Mini does not have the note mode, but it does have a custom mode. You can use it to create a layout that mirrors any of the tunings of Launchpad X or Launchpad Pro.

Sequential Arrangement

  • Notes appear in sequence and do not repeat.
  • 5½ octaves are available. The most of any other arrangement.
  • Good for playing with both hands.
  • Many chords may be difficult to play with one hand.

Two Finger Layout

  • 1½ Octaves are available.
  • The same note may be repeated up to 4 times.
  • Most chord shapes are available for the same chord.

Three Finger Layout

  • 2½ Octaves are available.
  • The same note may be repeated up to 3 times.
  • Fewer chord shapes are available for the same chord.

Four Finger Layout

  • 3 Octaves are available.
  • The same note may be repeated up to 2 times.
  • Fewer chord shapes are available for the same chord.
  • The grid is split in half making it the easiest to play with both hands.

Five Finger Layout

  • 4½ Octaves are available.
  • The same note may be repeated only once.
  • The last chord shapes are available for the same chord.
  • Offers a good balance between playability and the number of octaves available.

Chords 🎹

  • Chords are made up of notes played simultaneously.
  • There are over 4,000 possible chords. It is impossible to memorize all of them, and you don't have to.
  • Chords sound different on different instruments, because of the overtones.
  • Different chords make people feel different emotions. Major chords are considered happy, minor chords are considered sad.

Essential Chords 🎻

  • Cmaj, Gmaj, Amin, and Fmaj are the 4 most popular chords used in pop. music.
  • They can also be written as C, G, Am, and F.
  • They can be arranged in a different order to transmit different emotions.


Mithen, Steven. (2009). The music instinct: the evolutionary basis of musicality. Ann N Y Acad Sci..

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