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Entries in instrument (2)

Pix and Stix: Hit your iPad with Real Drumsticks?

We thought we had seen all the variations of iPad accessories there could possibly be by now, but the creative chaps who came up with The Wallee iPad Case have hit upon a new idea. Pix and Stix is a Kickstarter-ish project, intended as a solution for musicians who want to make their GarageBand (or other music app) playing experience more authentic.

Consisting of a set of 'electro-conducive' rubber tipped drumsticks and a guitar plectrum, the Pix and Stix set is offered for $14.99 AUD on pre-order. It looks like they are after around $8000 AUD (~£5300) in total and they are already 25% of the way there after only a day or so!

Video Evidence?

We wanted to see a video of these things in use, especially the drum sticks, before placing an order so we emailed the team behind Pix and Stix but they said there is no video at the moment. They did say they intend to do one once they have hit their target. We think this might stop some people ordering to be honest, but interest is still strong.

How Strong is the iPad Glass?

We are a little concerned at the damage whacking the heck out of our iPad screen may cause, especially during a more frantic drumming session (or in the hands of our 3 year old). We would expect a company like this to have tested these things out though, and the iPad screen is surprisingly strong anyway.

One Plectrum Only?

We also have a nasty habit of losing plectrums constantly, so only having one plectrum included in the set could mean a lot of expensive replacements (plus shipping from Australia, another $14.95 AUD).

It is a creative idea though, and we are sure they are going to reach their funding target given the amount of tech blogs that have covered the project already. You can follow their progress on Twitter.

What do you think? Are you pre-ordering?

Magic Fiddle by Smule

It is a great week for music apps and iPad. Check out the quartet in this video. They are attempting to play Canon in D Major on an iPad app and, for the most part, manage to do so.

That app is Magic Fiddle (iPad only)  which has recently been released by Smule, the company behind Magic Piano amongst other fun apps. Now you can annoy your family and friends with off-key caterwauling on your iPad like never before. What's more, you can now annoy the rest of the world too with Smule's Globe mode!

But seriously, Magic Fiddle uses a similar approach to Magic Piano to enable you to play any of the 20 included songs and more which are available from the Smule store. You touch on the correct string as musical 'notes' fall towards the bottom of the iPad screen and use different techniques to emulate the sound of a fiddle. It's a little bit like a posh version of Guitar Hero. 

Fiddle or Violin?

Smule do not call the instrument a violin, but refer to it as a fiddle so that it encompasses any bow stringed instrument. The app includes tutorials that cover bowed instrument techniques such as bow, pluck, trill and vibrato. They do this via an '8 chapter interactive journey' that features step-by-step instructions including posture, holding your fiddle (iPad), scales and apreggios.

There are also game elements to enjoy and spur you on to play better, including medals and badges and a global leaderboard. If you ever used Magic Piano you will already be familiar with the Smule globe. This is where you see a spinning 3D Earth with representations of all the other Magic Fiddle users playing songs around the world. You can listen in and 'like' their performances if you wish to.

Check it out

It looks like another winner for Smule who have a way of making music learning and experimentation fun and collaborative whilst keeping people entertained, and at just $2.99 (£1.79) it is accessible to everyone, so we think you should try it out.

If you do try Magic Fiddle let us know how you got on and what you think of trying to play a bowed instrument on your iPad.