Pierre is a co-founder of Flat, an online music score creator that allows you to compose with friends. Please welcome Pierre as he joins me for a Q&A session! *applause*
MMB: Could you give us a summary of what Flat is?
Pierre: Flat is a collaborative music score editor that offers the ability to collaborate in real time on the same composition with your friends. It’s like Google Documents. We focus on a new experience to create the simplest, easy to use music tool.
MMB: What inspired you to develop Flat?
Pierre: Basically, we’re 4 musicians. We all met during our computer sciences studies. Vincent my CTO & co–founder plays cello and I am a drummer. Back in those days, it was almost impossible for us to collaborate easily spur of the moment.
It was mainly due to two things:
- Existing software was too professional and the learning curve was so hard.
- None of software offered real time collaboration. Meaning, that to collaborate easily, you had to be in the same room, etc…
It clearly appeared that we could create a web application to change that. However web technologies weren’t mature enough at that point. Three years later, we had to submit a final study project to our school. We thought it was a great opportunity to try to develop Flat. We received distinction for our work and started over once we get graduated. We are now almost one year old and we’re proud to see that we managed to address the collaboration issue!
MMB: Could you take us through the steps of creating a score using Flat?
Pierre: Of course. It’s pretty easy, actually:
- Click on create score
- Enter your sheet music name
- Select your instruments
- Set the time and key signature
- Start to compose your masterpiece
MMB: Does Flat save all your music?
Pierre: Flat automatically saves your work. We called it the smart history! When you have made many changes or apply a major modification like changing instruments, a transposition, etc…
A version will be created. None of your work can be lost. You can go through all your version history and revert to an old one whenever you want!
MMB: The collaborative aspect of Flat sounds pretty cool, how exactly does that work?
Pierre: As I said previously, it’s just like a Google Documents. You invite a collaborator, grant him access, and you can start to collaborate. Based on a set of colors you’ll see what collaborators do. There is not a limit of the number of collaborators. Flat can be used directly within Google Hangouts video chat, as well. So users can collaborate in realtime and take advantage of the video. It happens often that we have 10 people inside the Google Hangouts session. It’s pretty stunning!
MMB: Can you create scores through a MIDI device and/or write in the music?
Pierre: As I am writing my answers, Corentin is going through the last checks of the first version of MIDI composition. It will be online by the beginning of the next week.
MMB: If you can use both methods, is it easy to switch back forth?
Pierre: You can use any kind of input to write in your sheet music. You can easily switch from your keyboard to midi and back to using your mouse. We’re spending most of our time thinking how to keep Flat as easy as possible. If something is inconvenient for us it will be worse for the user.
MMB: Can you create score through the microphone on your computer?
Pierre: We did some research on that topic. It’s a real challenge that we intend to implement within the beginning of 2016!
MMB: Is it mobile device friendly?
Pierre: We have maintained a mobile device version of Flat. However we have understood that usages are completely different on a computer and a mobile device. This is why, instead of developing a different experience dedicated to mobile on the same product, we have started to work on a mobile app of Flat. Crazy engineers have just joined the team to create it before the end of the year.