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Entries in MooCowMusic (3)

Kiss the sky! iFourmance, an amazing iOS band perform Purple Haze and rewrite the rule book

We have seen some pretty amazing iOS music creations over the last few months, but Purple Haze by iFourmance is easily one of the best yet. Watch the entire track and then remind yourself that every instrument is in fact an iPhone running mostly Guitarist, Bassist or Organist by the legendary MooCowMusic.

Mark Terry of MooCowMusic was so 'blown away by this performance' that he had to fire up his copy of Guitarist just to check that is was indeed possible to play that riff.

´╗┐You can pick up an entire album of iFourmance tracks on iTunes. The full album even includes a couple of video performances.

´╗┐Congratulations to both MooCowMusic and iFourmance for pushing back the boundaries of iOS music creation. It's hard imagine where all this might end up in a few years from now. Who would have thought that multi-touch would have such a huge impact on music creation? Actually, we did.

Making music with the iPad - Keyboards

One of the key creative areas taking the iPad app space by storm is music creation. We are not talking full blown songs written on the iPad necessarily, but that's not out of the question. In the few weeks since the iPad’s US launch we have seen a proliferation of synthesisers, piano simulators, DJ apps, stringed instrument emulators, drum kits, an Accordion app and even a Cat-voiced Piano (we kid you not).

Interestingly, Music Creation now has its own link on the US iTunes Store, so we are not the only ones who think this area of iPad app development is noteworthy. So with that, we present the first in an ongoing series of key app roundups for music creation on the iPad, first, we are looking at Keyboard/Synth apps.

 

Pianist Pro

We have already posted about Pianist Pro, we thought it looked great and we were really impressed with the app’s features, especially with the built-in drum machine and Appregiator, but in the last week MooCowMusic have added MIDI export capabilities to Pianist Pro (so your musical creations can be sent to Garageband for example and enhanced and built upon on your desktop machine), data file export to Mac or PC, and fixed a few issues, so it is worth another look, or get the upgrade for free if you already have the app.

Check out the video below for more on Pianist Pro’s features, we think it is a viable alternative for those without an external keyboard, or who want to experiment and get their ideas down, even if you are not going to use it for actual recording of performances in your DAW.

 

 

Virtuoso Piano Free 2 HD

If you don’t want, or need, all the features of Pianist Pro, you could try out the more straightforward Virtuoso Piano Free 2 HD, made for the iPhone originally, and now optimised for the iPad in this version, this free app is fine for playing around with ideas, practicing or learning the notes on the keyboard, or for children to pick up and play with straight away. This link will take you to the app store where you can download the free app now. 

 

Magic Piano

You have probably heard of Magic Piano by Smule made specifically for the iPad, from the creators of innovative iPhone apps such as Ocarina and Leaf Trombone. We mentioned it yesterday and there are lots of videos on YouTube with people playing a variety of songs in the app. Magic Piano takes a slightly different approach to music making on the iPad.

What blew us away is the creativity and imagination that has gone into the app. There are different ways to play the tunes including a circular or spiral keyboard, or users can play along with preloaded songs by tapping along with ‘beams of light’, a little bit like TapTap, but more elegant.

There are different difficulty modes so that, even with no musical ability, you can start tapping away on the screen and create a pleasing sound with the ‘No Fail’ mode. We think this is brilliant, a way for anyone to create ‘music’ on the iPad, have fun, and impress their friends, without the technical barriers of making a reasonable sound that could be presented by a straight forward keyboard simulator.

If you are a bit of a keyboard wizard already, you can challenge yourself with the ‘Game Mode’, where you have to tap the screen in the correct place, or your song sounds out of tune.

But the really unique and creative function of the app is the Duet mode. The Magic Piano app can hook you app with another user from anywhere around the world, and you can play a song together in a virtual duet. Or if you want to, you can just browse the globe and listen to other people playing duets.

Whilst it is not a serious music creation app, the fun factor and accessibility for those who are not musically trained, and the capability of the app to provide challenges to the more advanced user, makes this a recommendation from us. Even better, Magic Piano is on offer at the moment for just $0.99 (or 59p). A genuine bargain!

 

Synth

When we were kids we loved that scene in Ferris Beuller when he used the synth to make coughing, sneezing and snoring sounds to fool his (extremely gullible) parents that he was ill in bed.  We even talked about doing this on our iPads before the launch.  Now we can, with our final app in this brief round-up.

Synth by Retronyms (the people that brought us StudioTrack the awesome multi-track recorder for the iPad, amongst others) is a polyphonic synthesizer for the iPad based on a simulation of the traditional midi keyboard.

This sits on top of the sample database from the DopplerPad app that Retronyms made for the iPhone/iPad. There are 40+ instrument sounds supplied, Delay and Distortion knobs to tweak and a Mod wheel for some funky effects whilst playing. Of course, the most exciting thing about this app for us is the Sampler.

When we were younger, these synthesizers cost thousands of pounds and there was no chance we would ever be able to see or touch one, let alone own one, so to have this on the iPhone with DopplerPad and now the iPad with Synth means a great deal of retro fun for us.

At the start of the video demo below, if you listen carefully, you can hear the Sampler in action, and it makes the purchase of this app a given for us.

Whilst not a full blown Synthesizer that a pro might use, for getting the creative juices flowing and exploring sampling of real world sounds, we think this is a brilliant app, and at a price of just $0.99, it can’t hurt to download it now and start playing around with it, even if it is just to renact those Ferris Beuller nostalgia moments.

 

We hope you enjoyed this roundup and find at least one of the apps useful, but if you are using another keyboard app to create music on the iPad let us know in the comments.

In future posts we will be looking at Loop apps, Guitar apps, Drum pads, and others too, so if you have any suggestions for these or any other music creation apps, again let us know in the comments and we will consider using them in our roundups (giving you full credit of course).

Play Realistic Piano on your iPad with Pianist Pro

MooCowMusic have built quite a reputation for awesome and useable music apps on the iPhone.  We have been using their music apps from the early pre-app store, jailbreak only, days (remember Band?).

Well, they have been working very hard on a new version of their popular iPhone app Pianist, especially written and enhanced for the iPad, they call it Pianist Pro.

In addition to the cracking features found in the iPhone version such as:

  • Multi-touch (polyphonic) keyboard
  • Configurable metronome
  • Multi-track recording
  • Dual keyboard display
  • Scrollable keyboard (multi-octave)
  • Configurable labelling of keys
  • Virtual soft and sustain pedals

Pianist Pro includes features that take advantage of the enhanced graphics and processing power in the iPad, as well as the biggest advantage over the iPhone, the screen size.

Using Pianist on the iPhone was, let's be honest, a bit of a challenge sometimes. Accuracy was always an issue, especially when the pace picked up.  Chords are possible on the iPhone but we can imagine that using the iPad is a world away from trying to squeeze our fat digits on to the iPhone's screen.

This has given MooCowMusic a lot more space to play with, literally! According to their site

"A key design goal in Pianist Pro was to remain as close to the real world as possible. We have found that this helps to mask the fact that one is interacting with a computer screen rather than an instrument, promoting creativity."

The app looks great, and there are some nice interface touches too, especially in the configuration screens, and the whole app really does have an authentic, real world feel.

Here are some of the additional features found in Pianist Pro for the iPad:

  • Appregiator - allows configurable runs of notes triggered by keys or chords

Pianist Pro includes a new mode called the 'Pattern Arp', allowing you to define patterns of notes that turn a simple held chord into a complex musical phrase.

  • Additional instruments such as Acoustic Guitar, different Organ types (Church, Distorted, Mellow), Synths and Pads
  • Drum machine, with a lovely looking interface
  • Scale piano - allows playing scales easily just by sliding your finger across the screen
  • Pitch bend and modulation wheel which can be used with the additional instruments

For anyone who does not have a physical, external, keyboard and who wants to record into GarageBand for example, this app seems ideal, and certainly a whole lot better than the 'Musical Typing' option.

According to the MooCowMusic website Pianist Pro is the top grossing Music App at the moment and 30th top selling app overall.  At £5.99 Pianist Pro seems well worth the investment, it offers a lot of functionality for the musician needing to record a song idea, play around with some melodies, or even for those learning and experimenting with music.

We are thinking about this type of app being used in the Education field or for Students themselves to create music and elaborate on ideas.  With the potential shown in the video demo below, Pianist Pro is definitely going to find a place on our iPads.  Check it out at the App Store here.