The Menu bar
The Menu is always visible at the top of the Thor screen. From here you can access the general MIDI and Audio settings, as well as transport functions, patch selection, save functions and page selection. The items on the Menu bar are as follows (from left to right):
The Thor menu
- The Thor menu contains information about the current version, credits etc.
The Settings menu
- The Settings menu contains settings for Tempo, MIDI and Audio.
- Swipe the Tempo slider to set the tempo to which the LFOs, Step Sequencer etc. can be synced.
- If you have a MIDI keyboard connected to your iPad, tap “Source” and select its MIDI port to control Thor from it.
- Switch on “Play in background” to hear Thor also when you are working in other apps.
The Play button
- The Play button mimics the Play function in Reason’s main sequencer.
This means it will trigger a pattern only if the patch was created to respond to this. Most patterns are created to respond either to the keyboard or to the Step Sequencer RUN button on the Routing page. Refer to “Step Sequencer” for more information.
The Patch load buttons
- Tap the Patch load buttons to select and load patches, see “Checking out the factory patches”.
The Save button
- Tap the Save (disk) button to save your patch, see “Saving patches”.
The Page buttons
- Tap the page buttons to access the Keyboard, Knobs or Routing pages, see “The Keyboard page”, “The Knobs page” and “The Routing page”.
The Keyboard page
The picture below shows the Thor Keyboard page:
Thor’s Keyboard page features the following elements:
About the Controller panel
The Controller panel features general play controls that are global for the currently selected patch. See “The Controller panel” for more information.
The on-screen keyboard
Thor features a very flexible and user-friendly on-screen touch keyboard. The keyboard can be resized and configured in a number of ways to fit your songs and/or playing styles.
When you launch Thor for the first time, it opens up on the Keyboard page with the standard keyboard layout:
- The on-screen keyboard is “velocity-sensitive”.
The further down on the keys you play, the higher the velocity values.
Velocity values for the black (top) and white (bottom) keys
- The on-screen keyboard also responds to Keyboard Aftertouch (in patches that are created to respond to this).
Tap a key (anywhere) and then swipe up or down to introduce the Aftertouch effect. Swipe back to fade out the effect.
- Any changes you make to the keyboard are saved automatically.
The next time you launch the Thor app, the keyboard will be exactly as you left it.
- Move the keyboard range down or up by swiping the highlighted keyboard left or right:
- Expand or reduce the visible keyboard range by swiping to the left or right outside the highlighted keyboard.
This will expand or reduce the keyboard range on the side you are swiping.
Pitch Bend and Modulation
- Tap the Modulation icon to bring up the Pitch Bend and Modulation Wheel sliders:
- The Pitch Bend slider automatically reverts to zero (center position) when you lift your finger from the screen.
- The Mod Wheel slider modulates the parameter(s) assigned to “ModWheel” in the Modulation Bus.
All patches in Thor can have their individual ModWheel assignments, see “Modulation Bus routing section”.
The Assist function can be used if you want to highlight the notes of a selected key and color (number of notes per octave).
- Tap the Assist icon to bring up the Key and Color buttons:
- Touch the Key button and swipe vertically to select the key you want to play in:
In this example, we select the key of G.
- Next, touch the Color button and swipe vertically to select number of keys per octave.
In this example, we select 4 notes per octave.
All root notes in the selected key are indicated by dots on the keyboard. All keys in the selected Key and Color have their normal white and black colors. All other keys are greyed out (but remain active).
- Below the Key and Color buttons are Tonality “shortcut” buttons for quick access to additional tonalities:
- Tap any of these buttons to switch to the desired tonality.
The keyboard automatically switches to display the notes of the selected tonality.
The Collapse function is designed to work in combination with the Assist function. If you tap the Collapse icon, the keyboard is displayed with only the highlighted notes of the selected Key and Color (or any selected additional tonality), laid out side by side.
- Tap the Collapse icon:
The keyboard is reduced and now shows only the highlighted notes.
Now, you can play the keyboard without hitting any “wrong” notes!
The Latch Keys function works like a “keyboard hold” function, i.e. the tapped note(s) will sustain infinitely until you tap the same note(s) again (or deactivate the Latch Keys function).
- Tap the Latch Keys icon:
- Tap one or several keys on the keyboard.
The tapped keys get a little shorter to indicate that they have been latched. These notes will now sustain until you tap the same keys again (to deactivate them individually) or tap the Latch Keys icon to deactivate all notes.
- Note that the keys are latched with individual velocity values (depending on where on the keys you tapped).
The Strum function lets you play a chord on the keyboard and then trigger the notes in the chord by swiping up and down on the Strum pad. This way you can simulate guitar strumming. The Strum function can also be used in combination with the Latch Keys function, see “Latch Keys” above.
- Tap the Strum icon and play a chord on the keyboard (or activate the keys using the Latch Keys function, as in the picture below):
- Swipe across the Strum pad to trigger the notes in the chord:
The Strum pad
The horizontal bars represent the notes in the currently played chord, with the lowest note at the bottom.
- The velocity is controlled on the x-axis, i.e., higher velocity values are achieved by swiping further to the right on the strum bars.
- Alternatively, tap the Hit pad to trigger the all notes in the chord simultaneously:
The Hit pad
You can tap the Hit pad anywhere to trig the chord.
- The velocity is controlled on the y-axis, i.e., higher velocity values are achieved further down on the Hit pad.
The Knobs page
- Tap the Knobs button in the Menu bar to switch to the Knobs page:
Here is where you create and edit your sounds. At the bottom of the Knobs page is a small keyboard that you can play while editing your patches. Thor is a semi-modular synthesizer, which allows you to select and configure oscillators, filters and effects in a vast number of ways. See “Editing and creating patches”.
Navigating on the Knobs page
The Knobs page consists of four sections, laid out in columns: the Oscillator section to the left, the Filters and Mixer section, the LFOs and Envelopes section and the Global section to the right. Two sections can be fully visible (expanded) at a time. The other two sections are shown in a “collapsed” mode, with only a few vital parameters visible.
- Expand a section by tapping the red Expand button at the top of the desired section.
The section which has been expanded for the longest time will automatically be collapsed to make room for the new section:
Tapping the Expand button on the LFO+Envelope section...
...automatically collapses the section which has been expanded for the longest time - the Oscillator section in this example.
The big advantage of this “expand/collapse” method (compared to scrolling) is that it will take only two “taps” at the most to edit any parameter on the Knobs page.
The Routing page
- Tap the Routing button in the Menu to switch to the Modulation Bus and Step Sequencer page:
The Routing page contains the Modulation Bus section at the top and the Step Sequencer at the bottom. The Modulation Bus allows you to freely assign modulation sources to destinations, and to set modulation amounts. See “Modulation Bus routing section” for more information.
The Step Sequencer allows you to create patterns consisting of up to 16 steps. The Step Sequencer can be used for controlling pitch, length, pan, and a number of other parameters, individually for each step in the sequence. This allows you to create very complex and animated sequence lines. See “Step Sequencer” for more information.