Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Making Music on Your iPhone

There's no doubt that technology just seems to be advancing faster and faster these days. One need only look at how far cell phones have come in the past few years to see evidence of this. Once just a means of communication, now cell phones are more like Swiss Army knives full of useful gadgets from cameras to MP3 players. With the introduction of Apple's iPhone, the cell phone has now started to smudge the line between phone and computer. This has exciting possibilities all around, but especially for electronic musicians. With that in mind, I thought I would compile a round-up of some of the currently available iPhone Apps that turn your phone in a musical instrument. This is by no means a complete list, but it should give you a good starting place...


Synthpond by Zach Gage ($1.99)
Touch-based sequencer where the user moves 'nodes' around the screen to alter the music. Best used with headphones, this one also uses node position in spatial placement of the notes allowing them to be moved around the stereo field. Check it out on synthPond

Destiny Digital Synth by Magnus Larsson ($1.99)
16-bit 'Digital Wave Micro Synth' with 7 sound presets including a drum set playable from an on screen piano keyboard. More sound patches are promised for the future. Check it out on Destiny - Digital Synth

Digidrummer Lite by Magnus Larsson (FREE!)
Play drums with your fingers on 8 virtual drum pads. It allows you to have your Ipod music playing along in the background so you can jam along with your favorite songs. Check it out on DigiDrummer Lite

Digidrummer by Magnus Larsson ($0.99)
Sampled drum machine with record and playback functions, saveable beat library, multiple drumsets and more! Check it out on DigiDrummer

Creation Gig Bundle by Magnus Larsson ($5.99)
This bundled package consists of 3 programs: Bedrum (a classic drum machine), Destiny (a digital synthesizer), and Digidrummer (a sampling drum machine users can add their own samples to). Check it out on Creation - Gig Bundle

Minisynth by Yonac ($1.99)
Aka 'The MiniApollo". Virtual analog type synth playable from an onscreen piano keyboard. The synth has 2 oscillators (each with 4 waveforms to choose from), a modeled lowpass filter with cutoff and resonance, attack and decay filter envelope, glide, reverb, and more. Check it out on miniSynth

Noise.io Pro By Amido Inc. ($9.99)
A synth and sequencer combo boasting a ton of features including 3 generators, 2 filters, 3 LFOs, 3 sequencers, 6 effects, unlimited presets and an apparently very active users community. Check it out on Noise.io Pro

Sound from Sound Synthesizer by Intelligent Gadgets ($2.99)
Essentially an FM synth you control by singing into your iPhone (or indeed by using any sound your iPhone can pick up) through the use of a special pitch to note algorithm. Check it out on Sound from Sound Synthesizer

Pitch to Note+ by Intelligent Gadgets ($3.99)
Uses a polyphonic pitch to note algorithm to display note or chord information using the iPhones built-in microphone. Check it out on Pitch to Note +

Synthesizer by Stefan Welebny ($0.99)
Extremely simple, additive-based synth. Check it out on Synthesizer

Voxbot by Xyster.net ($1.99)
Speech synthesizer that will speak any text you type into it. Check it out on VoxBot

Cosmovox by Leisuresonic ($2.99)
Essentially a theremin for your iPhone. Allows you to control a full featured synthesizer tuned to over 50 different scales using the iPhone's built-in accelerometer to track the location of your hand motions. Check it out on Cosmovox

BtBx ("BEatbox") by Pure Profit ( $3.99)
Drum machine offering both a sequencer and keyboard view, 8 drum sounds, 2 instrument sounds, 2 real time synthesizers, 16 step/16 pattern drum machine style sequencer, tempo adjustment, full low pass filter with cutoff and resonance, distortion and delay effects, and much more! Check it out on BtBx ("BeatBox")

Android FX by Pure Profit ($0.99)
Tap and slide your finger on the iPhone to produce all manner of blips and bleeps that would make R2-D2 nod with approval. Check it out on Android FX

PASY02 by Pankaku Inc. ($0.99)
Control the sound of this synth by manipulating an onscreen 'net'. Check it out on PASY02

BPM Tap Tempo by Audiodog ($0.99)
Tap-based utility for calculating a songs tempo, setting appropriate delay times, or setting an LFO rate to sync. Check it out on BPM Tap Tempo

FMScreen by Piticule ($1.99)
An FM synth for your iPhone controlled by tapping or sliding your finger across the screen. Check it out on FMScreen

iXY MIDI Controller by CM Software Design ($2.99)
An XY pad on your iPhone for controlling your MIDI instruments (over a wifi connection with your computer). Check it out on iXY MIDI Controller

Metronome-iTick by Music Motion (FREE!)
Simple digital metronome with adjustable time signatures and tempo. Check it out on Metronome-iTick

MiniPiano by Junpei Wada (FREE!)
Simple, 3 octave piano simulation. Check it out on MiniPiano

Shazam by Shazam Entertainment Ltd. (FREE!)
If you've ever heard a song and wondered what it was, this is the app for you. Simply hold up your iPhone to the music and within seconds it will identify the song for you. Check it out on Shazam

Ocarina by Smule ($0.99)
Innovative virtual ocarina you play by blowing into the iPhone's built-in mic and fingering notes on the touchscreen. Legend of Zelda your butt off! Check it out on Ocarina

Pocket Guitar by Shinya Kasatani ($0.99)
Virtual guitar for your iPhone that lets you press and strum strings just like the real deal. 6 different instrument sounds are included along with 3 different editable effects. Check it out on PocketGuitar

MixMeister Scratch by Mixmeister Technology (FREE!)
This app allows you to play a song from your mobile device and scratch over it just like a DJ.
Check it out on MixMeister Scratch

Chords by Adam Zapletal (FREE!)
Simple chord reference tool for guitar chords featuring 28 chord types for each note. Check it out on Chords

More Cowbell! by Maverick Software (FREE!)
For win you have a fever and the only cure is more cowbell. Simple, playable cowbell for your iPhone. Check it out on More Cowbell!

Harp by You Just Made Music ($1.99)
Use your left hand to pick chords and your right hand to strum out notes on this virtual Harp for your iPhone. Check it out on Harp

Tuner 440 by Francois Baronnet (FREE!)
Free guitar tuner for your iPhone. Check it out on Tuner 440

GuitarToolKit by Agile Partners ($9.99)
Combines a guitar tuner with an extensive library of 1300 chord variations for quick reference. Check it out on GuitarToolkit

iTabla by Vidya Multimedia (FREE!)
A digital tabla and tanpura that fits in your pocket. Check it out on iTabla

Oblique Strategies by Far Out Labs (FREE!)
A virtual deck of Brian Eno & Peter Scmidt's infamous Oblique Strategy cards. Designed to be used when a musician is stuck on a song, the deck provides vague/crytpic statements that the musician is supposed to use as a way of getting 'unstuck' . Check it out on Oblique Strategies

BeatMaker by Intua ($19.99)
Full featured music creation studio for your iPhone. Too many features to list here, so just check it out on BeatMaker

2 comments:

teodora said...

great collection! I found another drummer app from Japan, free and simple, 9 pads, to play-along.
http://www.kenmaz.net/drummer/

teodora said...

and there's a 4-track mixer (not very cheap):
http://www.sonomawireworks.com/pr-fourtrack.php