Entries in music creation (35)

Friday Fun: "Eye of the Tiger" - Made on an iPad

You may have seen this already, but we loved this and wanted to share it with you.  Jordan Hollender (Flash only portfolio site), a New York based commercial photographer and all-round creative artist, has produced this humorous video to accompany Scott Harris' cover of 'Eye of the Tiger'.  It was created as part of a promotional exercise for commercial production company Zbabam Productions (another Flash based portfolio site).

Of note for us though is that all of the music was created using iPad music apps, and then the video was shot with Canon DSLRs (a 5D Mk II and 7D) over a couple of days and edited in Apple's Final Cut Pro. 

We have been banging the drum (pun intended) for music creation on the iPad since we started this blog, and here is another fine and fun example of what can be accomplished with a few apps and a very healthy dose of creativity.

What do you think?

Sheet Music on Steroids now on your iPad - Etude for iPad released

We let you know back in mid-March that Wonder Warp Software were planning to release an iPad specific version of their brilliant piano tutor software Etude.  Well yesterday the Etude app was updated to a Universal app that will support both the iPhone/iPod Touch and your iPad, with device specific user interface and features.  

The iPad version looks really nice and they have maximised the use of the screen space to show much more of the score at the same time.

Even better, if you already own the Etude iPhone version, your iPad version is free! Otherwise, the app will only cost you $4.99 (£2.99), which is a very good price when you consider that you can download all of the sheet music and songs to play for free, with premium, artist licensed songs coming soon.

Etude can be downloaded from the app store now, or you can see more information about the app and a video demo here.

There's more - Free Mac software 

If you are on a Mac and want something to help create chord progressions or use as a teaching aid, you can get a free copy of Wonder Warp's SimpleChord desktop app.  This software lets you look up piano chords and create chord progressions of your own, and supports an external midi keyboard too.

It also includes a midi export option for the chord progressions that you create in SimpleChord, and these midi files can then be used in Garageband very simply as a new track, ready for you to add the rest of your masterpiece, or just use it to practice with.

SimpleChord would normally cost you $12.95, so it is worth a tweet to spread the word. Details are here.

iELECTRIBE update adds much requested export options

We wrote about Korg's fantastic iELECTRIBE a few weeks ago and although we loved it, our only real criticism was the lack of export options, meaning that your beat creations were stuck on the device and couldn't be shared easily.

Well, just yesterday one of our favourite portable music creation blogs Palm Sounds gave us the heads-up on an update to iELECTRIBE which addresses the export issue. Korg has now added several export options including exporting a beat loop to your Mac or PC via the iPad file management interface in iTunes. This means it is ready for use in your desktop DAW, or you can solo a part from your track and export just that to your computer. You can also record a live performance and import via iTunes the same way.

From the Korg website:

iELECTRIBE Version 1.1.0 is now available! This update adds the ability to transfer audio from the iELECTRIBE app into a MAC or PC via iTunes, using CD quality wav files. This feature ultimately allows you to use iELECTRIBE patterns and performances in your DAW or video editing software. Current iELECTRIBE owners can update for free.

It is an impressive update and answers nicely the requests from users for an export option. The video below shows the export options in operation, they look great and very straightforward to use. We found the second part of the video particularly interesting where they record a track with live effects.

iELECTRIBE remains at the introductory price of just $9.99 (£5.99) until the end of June and, as we said in our original post, at that price it is a bargain, grab it now!


Get Creative With Groovemaker On Your iPhone To Win An iPad

 If, like us, you have been playing around with IK Multimedia’s Groovemaker on the iPhone for a while, you will know how much fun it can be pretending to be a supersonic DJ doing all the cool funky stuff they do (we are not cool or funky so we won’t try and say the things they do). Now that the Groovemaker app is on the iPad, with an extended interface enabling you to access more features at once, we think it is even better, but we will be looking at that in another post in the near future.

If you haven’t got your iPad yet though, IK Multimedia are giving you the chance to show off your groove creation skills to the world, and possibly win an iPad in the process. Basically, you create a video of your amazing Groovemaker creation in action (including yourself in the video if you want to), upload it to YouTube with the required tags and other info, then promote it like crazy however you want to on the social networking sites that we all know and end up having to use every day.

It looks like you have to create your unique composition on an iPhone or iPod Touch, as (we are guessing) if you record it on the iPad you are just being greedy because you have one already, but you can use the free versions so it won’t cost you anything. You have until 30th June 2010 to get your video viewed as many times as possible to stand a chance of winning.

We think it is a great way to promote music creation amongst users, combined with a healthy dose of competition (and a good dollop of marketing on the side). If it is your thing anyway, why not give it a shot? If you do enter a song, let us know in the comments and we will drop by and check it out.

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!



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).

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