Audanika Generation Project — How it began.

Image: Gabriel Gatzsche with the music app Audanika.

Gabriel Gatzsche is sitting in the studio with an iPad in his hand. On the screen you can see a pattern with many rectangles with different colors. The fact that a music app is hidden behind it only becomes apparent at second glance. What seems confusing at first is a purposefully designed system with which melody, harmony and bass can be composed more easily like never before. But how could a piece of paper become an app which predecessor has been downloaded over two million times so far?

As a father, Andreas Gatzsche accompanied his sons to music school in the GDR in 1989 and saw how they had difficulties in the fourth grade in internalising the many connections between tones, chords and scales. Without further ado, he takes a sheet of paper and develops a so-called circle of thirds, with which his three sons can understand music theory in a comparatively simple way. From then on, they hardly have any difficulties with the theory units at music school.

Figure: Still made with a typewriter and by hand: In 1989, Andreas Gatzsche developed the basic idea that later led to the development of Audanika.

In 1996, a few years later, David and Gabriel, two of his sons, took up the system and, as part of a programming project in A-level, created educational software that digitally mapped the third octave circle.

Figure: The music theory software developed at school by David and Gabriel.

After school, David Gatzsche devoted himself entirely to music and studied guitar in Weimar. In his diploma thesis in 2004, he developed the system further and considered how to introduce colours into the system and how to make it easy to understand for children in music school lessons.

Figure: The third octave circle further developed by David Gatzsche in 2005 was the starting point for the development of Audanika.

Together with his colleague Markus Mehnert, Gabriel Gatzsche developed the idea further a year later, in 2005, in his dissertation at the Technical University of Ilmenau and the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology (IDMT). Under Professor Brandenburg, one of the inventors of the MP3 format, he learns to look at music not only from a music-theoretical side, but also from a perception-psychological and psychoacoustic perspective.

Image: Prof. Karlheinz Brandenburg supervised the development of SoundPrism as his doctoral supervisor (Source: Fraunhofer IDMT).

During this time, Gabriel worked at Fraunhofer IDMT on the so-called directional mixer, a special mixing console that could be used to position the sound on the Bregenz lake stage in an innovative way. This directional mixer already had two touch screens in 2005. Gabriel’s task was to develop the software for the interface.

Image: The directional mixer for the Bregenz and Mörbisch Lake Festival provided the inspiration for the development of a touchscreen musical instrument back in 2005.

One evening, as if by a flash of inspiration, Gabriel got an idea: if he could map his brother’s system onto a touchscreen, a completely new form of digital musical instrument could be created from it. And so, over the course of six years, the music app SoundPrism is developed.

Image: The prototype of the music app SoundPrism on a JazzMutant Lemur.

In 2010, Gabriel founds Audanika GmbH together with Sebastian Dittmann and launches SoundPrism. SoundPrism is successful and is downloaded more than two million times.

Image: The music app SoundPrism as the predecessor of Audanika.

Economic considerations, however, force them to generate further income. Gabriel and Sebastian decide to invest a lot of energy in the development of Audiobus over the next few years, together with Michael Tyson. Audiobus is the first app that allows you to transfer the sound from a music app such as SoundPrism directly live into a recording app such as Cubasis.

Image: The world’s first iOS audio routing platform Audiobus took a lot of energy.

In the meantime, Apple had released its own systems for networking audio apps with Inter-App Audio and Audio Unit Extensions. This meant that the economic basis for a larger team was no longer given. As a result, in 2017 the shareholders of Audanika GmbH decided to dissolve the “Audanika” team and liquidate the company “Audanika GmbH”. Gabriel and Sebastian leave Audanika GmbH and work in the private sector.

Then, in 2019, there is an unexpected turn of events: Gabriel becomes part of an EXIST founding team that wants to develop a decentralised networked wearable. With its help, outdoor groups are to be kept together within a radius of up to 15 km. However, Apple announces the AirTags, which anticipate such a system. Once again, the team is looking for a theme. Gabriel proposes to bring in his music app know-how and apply the networking technology developed so far to digital music instruments.

In the course of this development, Gabriel acquires the rights to the SoundPrism technology as well as the Audanika brand. The conditions for founding a new company are created and so Gabriel founds Grace Cloud GmbH.

Gabriel fundamentally improves the concept of SoundPrism. From now on, it will also be much better possible to play melodic sequences. And this new development will also be available on Android devices. Gabriel has also decided to replace the four SoundPrism apps (Pro, Standard, Link Edition, Elektro) with a single app called “Audanika”. This was launched on the market in April 2021.

Image: The Audanika as a newly implemented and significantly improved version of SoundPrism from the ground up.

Strategically, Gabriel also took a new direction. In the future, the Audanika brand is to invest heavily in the next generation, in addition to developing a professional MIDI controller. With the help of Audanika, we want to offer young people an intuitive introduction to music composition.

Image: Good relationships through making music together as well as strengthening the future generation are the core goals of Audanika.

Authors

I’m Tim Stapperfenne, studying Applied Media and Communication Science at the Technical University of Ilmenau. The topics of corporate, product, and innovation communication inspire me. I met Gabriel at a Sunday service. Since then, I have been supporting him in his public relations work. I am supported by the European Union, the Free State of Thuringia, and Grace Cloud GmbH with a Thuringia scholarship. Feel free to follow me on LinkedIn.

I am Gabriel, founder & CEO of Grace Cloud GmbH and inventor of Audanika. I am a passionate entrepreneur, software developer, musician, and Christian. I enjoy creating new things and collaborating with different people on an equal footing. As a husband and father of five lovely children, I have a heart for the upcoming generation. Feel free to follow me on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

My name is Jonas Lepper. I studied traffic management and logistics at the State Academy of Studies in Glauchau. I am multiple German champion in inline speed skating. Through Audanika, I discovered my enthusiasm for music and now enjoy giving composition workshops in elementary schools. I am funded by the European Union, the Free State of Thuringia, and Grace Cloud GmbH as an Innovative Personnel. Feel free to follow me on LinkedIn.

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