Technology has opened up avenues for the creative at heart to construct and share multiple mediums of entertainment and culture. We live in an age where making music doesn't require a recording studio, and entire albums can be constructed on computers that fit in the palm of your hand.
Imagination and inspiration go a long way, and all that is required additionally is a smartphone with the right app. If the Gorillaz were able to create an entire album on a 1st generation iPad, anything is possible. Here are 12 apps to assist aspiring and inventive musicians.
Left: Cleartune - Chromatic Tuner - Right: BeatMaker 2Cleartune - Chromatic Tuner
For help tuning stringed instruments as well as wind instruments that can sustain a note, Cleartune has good range. The note wheel display makes finding the desired pitch quick and easy with a precision of up to 1/100th semitone. The A4 calibration is adjustable within 0.1Hz increments for even the pickiest tuner who wants everything perfect. $4Also available for Android
Beating out its predecessor with a newer (and easier to use) interface and a huge selection of back beats, BeatMaker 2 is a powerhouse music production app with as much credibility under its belt as it has features. Create a tempo from scratch within the app with a choice of highly customizable drums, MIDI keyboards or record your own using a microphone. Volume, pan, groove and pitch can be altered to help make a beat that smoothens the song writing and recording process. $20
Left: RTA (Real Time Analyzers) - Right: FourTrackRTA (Real Time Analyzers)
When a second opinion is required to answer 'does this sound right?'
RTA will offer the truth. This app will listen and display frequency ranges that are present in audio samples. Musicians who are keen on finetuning their abilities for recording or live performances will find RTA essential and very reliable. $11
Once the songs are written and it's time to get productive, FourTrack just might be the best $5 you spend. Record and layer audio to costruct songs to perfection in true 16-bit, 44.1kHz quality. Complete with export features for recording software on desktops. It's also great to have when jamming out during the songwriting process; just plug in your guitar with GuitarJack and record tunes as inspiration strikes. $5
Also available for Android
Left: B-Rhymes - Right: Droid DJB-Rhymes
Lyrics allow people to connect with music in a personal way. When it comes to making the words fit the finer details of the song, B-Rhymes will help tie up the ends of the verses. Pronunciations, Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com support is built in along with a visual enunciation guide on each option to create a perfect flow of words. FreeAlso on iOS
Aspiring DJs will find much to love in Droid DJ. Playing with twin decks to load two songs at a time to create new and interesting remixes. Effects such as speed, pitch and fast stop can be added to introduce an experimental side to find new and unique deliveries to electronic music. Great for playing around or as a serious component. $4
Left: ChordBot Pro - Right: PocketBand ProChordBot Pro
ChordBot will help greatly with the songwriting process if your weapon of choice is a guitar. Using a minimal UI to deliver an effective chord sequencer, this app will be a very loyal bandmate. Songs can be completed in-app and exported in MIDI or WAV format to create a foundation for tracks in progress. $5
A powerful tool for DJs and rockers alike whom will find exactly what they're looking for with PocketBand Pro. A wide range of polyphonic synthesizers (125 instruments), 35 drumkits, a synthetic modulator and recordings from the microphone can be received and editted into a finished track. A thriving creative community is attached to the app so tracks can be published, remixed, voted on and even collaborated with other users. $10 (On sale for $5 right now)
Windows Phone 7
Left: Archetype Guitar Tuner - Right: Sound LooperArchetype Guitar Tuner
Tuning your guitar is an exercise in regular maintenance and Archetype Guitar Tuner makes the experience easier to handle. Simply pluck the string and see based on the visual how close or far off the proper pitch is. $2
Working with back beats and sounds is all part of the songwriting process. Sound Looper takes recordings and adjusts the volume and pitch to create an infinite loop that you can work with. Great for various genre of music from beat boxing to rock. Considered to be the best in its class because of the effective interface. $1
Left: Rhythm Exerciser - Right: The ListenerRhythm Exerciser
A sense of timing is essential for playing an instrument and whether you're born with the skill or not, it's always wise to keep it sharp. Rhythm Exerciser contains 100 exercises for beginner, intermediate and advanced classes to create or enhance rhythm in musicians. It also has step by step instructions on how to practice these exercises for better musical proficiency. $3
A great idea can disappear into thin air if not properly noted. The Listener is a helpful app that records sounds clearly and organizes user content efficiently with additional options such as Dropbox, SoundCloud and SkyDrive syncing. We love the skip silence function that avoids recording quiet periods to prevent pockets of data (and time) being wasted. $1