The folks from Mad Sun were on deck at MacWorld | iWorld 2012 with a new version of Notion music creator for the iPad. Notion1 was released about 5 years ago with a new iPad version released in the last year. There is a planned iPhone version that should be available in March or April.
The program lets you play back, modify or create a musical composition in staff notation with the ease of the tap and drag iOS interface. Notion uses samples of the London Symphony Orchestra (recorded at Abby Road Studios) as the basis for all orchestral instrument sounds. When creating a score, the user can select various sections: orchestra (by section), guitar, percussion, etc. There is a chord mode which lets you build chords one note at a time. Notion comes with an extensive array of notation options, including key, time signature, dynamics, etc. More goodies in the new version include an improved interface, tempo control, and over 10GB of enhanced samples from the London Symphony, Roy Wooten, Victor Wooten and Neil Zaza (guitar samples). Sequencer Staff will record MIDI on a standard staff but will retain all of the MIDI data.
Progression is the guitar only portion (included in Notion). The user can create a piece as either guitar tab or as standard notation. The interface for Progression looks like a fret board (24 frets) so the guitar player who isn’t as comfortable with a piano keyboard will feel right at home. The program comes with effects for tremolo, slides, string bends, vibrato, hammering, a slap bass effect and others. Like its big brother, Progression draws on audio samples as played on acoustic or electric guitar and bass (you can tap select to mandolin, banjo or classical guitar).
Both programs can create a printable version of your composition that can be saved as a .pdf, exported as a MIDI file or as music XML. There is also a built in professional audio mixer with multiple channels and VTS effects. Progression is bundled with IK Multimedia AmpliTube amp modeling so you get some quality and variety for your guitar compositions.
Notion and Progression are not synthesizers; they use real audio samples so when you create a score the program goes to its sample library to fetch the appropriate audio sample. The program then applies whatever effects you have assigned to blend all of the elements into a seamless whole.
With the addition of the iPad version and the “coming soon” iPhone version, a very powerful tool is getting a lot more portable. Be prepared to pay a little extra for all the functionality and quality audio: Notion desktop version is $199.00, Notion for iPad is $14.99; Progression desktop is $79.99 and Progression for the iPad $4.99.
If you are serious about music composition this is a great tool.