User Guide

Session Shed Basic User Guide  

Session Shed

Drum and Synth Sequencing for Android mobile phones.

"This release is an alpha/beta version for test and evaluation purposes. There are no restrictions to unctionality, but saving is limited to 16 bars of music. Additional functionality (e.g. FX processing and more internal sounds) is currently in progress.

Thank you for trying Session Shed! If you have comments to make, or feature requests, please do so at"

Create music quickly and easily with ...
Single Tap note editing
Sample based drum sequencing
5 dual oscillator analogue synth tracks
Build complex rhythmic patterns with ...
mixed time signatures
flexible grid quantization options
Easy & fast copy/paste" 

Bar Header

There is a bar 'header' above every bar. It has several uses including setting the start bar for playback, adding & deleting bars, and for quick copy & paste.

  • Tap on the '+' to create a new empty bar.
  • Tap on the '-' to delete the bar.
  • Long Press on the '+' for quick copy/paste. All note data and bar settings copy into the following bar.

If loop mode is active you can set the loop start/end bars, and when a header is selected, you can edit the bar's time signature and grid quantization settings. More about these later ..."

Loop, Play & Rewind

Loop Button ..

  • Tap to toggle loop on/off. An orange line over the bar headers indicates the loop range.
  • Tap in a header's left half to set the loop start. Tap in the right half to set the loop end.

Play Button .. 

  • Tap to start/stop playback.

Rewind Button .. 

  • If loop is active, rewinds to the loop start bar, otherwise rewinds to the currently selected bar. Mixer / Pads

Grid Editor/Mixer/Sample Editor

Use these buttons to switch between the main editing screens

Grid Editor .. use for basic note data entry and to edit note velocity data.

Single Tap in the grid to add/delete notes

Long Press in the grid to 'drag' edit

Velocity editing is accessed via File menu

Mixer .. use to balance levels and pan. There is a channel strip for each Synth/Drum track, and for each of the 16 drum samples.

Sample Editor .. process drum samples with an ADSR and 4-bandEQ, and to import your own samples to create custom drum kits. If a synth track is active, this becomes the Synth Editor.

File Menu

Tap to open a file menu of common and editor specific functions.

Menus have their own close button, but can also be closed by re-tapping this button. This button is also used to close off editing for Note Velocities, Grid Quantization, Tempo and Time Signature.

Clock & Tempo

The clock displays the position of the play cursor in minutes and seconds.

The bpm indicator displays the current song tempo. You can tap here (or select from the File Menu) to edit. Drag vertically to set the tempo ... dragging near the left of the screen gives coarse editing, becoming increasingly fine as you move towards the right.

Current Track

The currently active track is shown here, either the Drum Track, or one of the Synth Tracks.

Tap here to open the track select menu.

Grid Editor ...

  • For the Drum track, the grid editor has 16 horizontal grids, one for each of the loaded samples. Notes are displayed as 'triggers', with sample names appearing as you edit.
  • For the Synth tracks, there is a full 127 note Piano Roll style grid. The octave C's are always shown, with others note pitch names appearing whilst you edit. Notes are displayed as rectangles, and rhythmic values can be selected at the bottom of the screen.

Navigate through a song with drag, flick gestures, and zoom using pinch.

  • Pinch in the right of your screen for horizontal zoom, and in the left for vertical zoom." +

Note Editing

Single Tap in the grid to enter/delete notes.

Long Press to enable drag editing.

Drum Track ... notes are displayed as sample 'triggers', and  sample labels are displayed whenever you enter or drag a note.

You can double tap the Grid Editor button to toggle all labels on/off.

Synth Tracks

  • notes are displayed as rectangles
  • select rhythmic values at bottom of screen
  • note pitch names are displayed as you enter or drag a note"

Drag Editing

Drum Tracks ..

long press on a note trigger to select it a drag it around

Synth Tracks ..

long press on the end of a note to edit its length

long press anywhere else on the note to just drag it around"

Velocity Editing

Once you have some note data you will likely want to edit note dynamics. Velocity editing is available via the file menu. If you have entered some note data you will see velocity bars in the highlighted area in the lower psrt of the screen, and the notes will show their current velocity value.

Edit these values by drawing with your finger. By default, all vertically aligned notes will be edited to the same value. You can override this behaviour by tapping any row (highlights grey), giving you selective control over which synth notes/drum samples you wish to edit.

To scroll left/right in velocity mode, drag over the bar headers.


The Mixer is used to balance levels and set panning for the drum & synth tracks. There is a channel strip for each of the synth tracks and the drum track, and one for each of the 16 drum samples.

Sample Editor

The Sample Editor features an ADSR (with start/end trim) and 4-Band EQ for the processing of samples, and the ability to load custom samples. Import your own Samples using the File menu... 

navigate to your samples folder

long press a pad to assign it to that pad

NOTE: Samples must already be in the SessionShed/Samples folder on your SD card, and (at least for now) must be 48kHz or 44.1kHz and 16-bit .wav format.

Synth Editor

Synth tracks all make use of a 2-oscillator anologue synth, comprising

2 Oscillators:

Square, Saw, Triangle & Sine waveforms. Tap to change wav type.

Pulse Width control for Square wav

Coarse & Fine Tuning

Amplitude/Filter Envelopes and a resonant State Variable Low Pass Filter

LFO (currently modulates amplitude)


Osc1 also has an experimental sample mode, currently with just one sample in use for test purposes. Future releases aim to support user samples.

Grid Quantization

Create custom grids (on a per bar basis) for more complex rhythmic patterns.

File Menu > 'Grid Quantization

Tap on 'Beat Select' to cycle through the beats of the currently selected bar, and then use the '+' & '-' to edit the beat quantization value.

Custom Q ..

Long Press the 'Beat Select' button to turn on Custom Q Mode. You can now select grid rows for individual beat/note Q settings! Very flexible!

Once you have a newly set up grid, this will copy to additional bars using the quick copy function of the bar header.

Time Signature

Time signatures are set on a per bar basis, allowing for time signature changes as a song progresses. Use the upper arrows set the number of beats per bar (range 1-12) and the lower arrows to select 4 or 8 (for simple or compound time). N


  1. Time signature editing applies ONLY to the currently selected bar, but as new bars are added they will inherit from the bar being copied.
  2. The default grid quantization after setting a new time signature is 1/16 notes (semiquavers) for simple time and 1/8 notes (quavers)for compound time."

There are many enhancements and new features currently in development that will make Session Shed even better, including:

  • FX Processing Modules
  • an Editable Tempo Track
  • an all-tracks arranging view
  • additional instruments, inc a GM compatiable mode.
  • MIDI import & export
  • WAV file export
  • A redesigned GUI that is better suited to tablets. This release is specifically aimed at small screens, so on a tablet looks very clunky!

Many thanks for giving Session Shed a test run. If you find any bugs or general annoyances regarding the use of Session Shed, please let me know! Any and all feedback is welcome, especially at this testing stage prior to an official realease on Google Play. Also any suggestions as to possible future features that would be particularly useful, once my own list is complete.

To keep all feedback/comments in one place, and visible to all testers, please use the thread I have created under 'Mobile Apps and Hardware' in the forums at


Velocity, Quantization, Tempo and Time Signature

  • Double tap clock to open/close note velocity editor.
  • Single tap on the 'Edit Note Velocities' text to cycle through other editing functions.


  • Double tap clock to open velocity editor (if already in grid editor).
  • Select which drum part(s) to edit with single tap - track(s) becomes highlighted and velocity values are displayed.
  • Drag to set values.
  • Double tap to insert new notes.

NOTE: to avoid conflicts between velocity editing and normal display scrolling (as both use drag), scrolling is disabled by default in this mode. Instead you can use the arrows that are now displayed in the bar's ruler button to move left/right by one bar at a time. You can also single tap the clock to toggle scrolling on/off (and velocity editing off/on).


  • Tap 'Set Beat' to cycle through/select which beat to quantize.
  • Tap left/right arrows to set desired quantization (min=1/max=9).
  • Tap drum parts (labels) to set inactive/active. default is all parts active.

Time Signature

  • Tap upper arrows to set number of beats per bar(min=1/max=12), and lower arrows to set 4 or 8 for simple/compound time.


  • Tap left/right arrows to adjust tempo.

(increments of +/-1 ... decimal/fractional tempo coming in future update)

Block editor

Use the block editor to quickly copy and paste, to create loops or to layout longer song structures.

Launch by long press to grid editor button. Ruler buttons just show the bar number and bars are displayed as plain rectangles. Empty bars (no note data) are black, and bars that contain notes are shaded grey.

Available Editing Functions:

(buttons at bottom of screen show possible editing functions)

Ruler tapped - ruler button and drum/bass parts are highlighted. Button functions allow inserting (before/after) and deleting of bars.

Drum/Bass bar tapped - becomes highlighted. Button functions to clear note data and group bars (if multiple adjacent bars are selected) to create 'blocks'.

Block tapped - becomes highlighted. Button functions to edit block size or delete.

Copy/Paste (bars and blocks)

  • Double tap a bar or block to copy to clipboard.
  • Long press to paste into desired bar.

NOTE: when pasting blocks, there must be sufficient empty bars available for the paste to take place. Paste does not over-write existing data. You cannot copy/paste between bass/drum tracks... as it makes no sense.

Block label editing

  • Long press on a block to launch keyboard for label editing

NOTE: bars cannot be labeled ... yet ...

beta do list