iPad and Music Creation

So I have had my iPad for a while now. I have used it plenty for many types of activities. I’ve even used it to play music from…. I mean there is iTunes on it right! Of course I have Unreal Book and Forscore on it as well to hold all my digital printed music. I’m “playing” music all the time using the iPad. But what about actually using it to create music, using the iPad to generate the music, as in using it as the instrument!

There are plenty of nifty little fun music making apps in the store, some of which have made the developers a lot of money too. But I want to “really” use the iPad in a professional sense. I want to use the iPad this year in my performing groups as one of the instruments. In this post I want to mention the two apps that I have been playing with this summer that have proven possibilities in this category. There is a third app that I just found tonight that I will mention as well. I know there are other apps out there as well. The nice thing about the app world is that the apps are pretty reasonable as far as pricing. But I still find it hard to spend that money.

The first and most exciting app is MorphWiz. Here is the description from the web site…..

“MorphWiz is a both an expressive musical instrument and an exciting visual experience. Created by Jordan Rudess and Kevin Chartier, MorphWiz is enjoyable for beginners and seasoned musicians alike. It contains over 50 presets programmed by the wizard himself, Jordan Rudess, to allow for an instantly musical experience from the moment the application is first opened. For more experienced users, a wide array of synthesis, effects, and visual options allow the instrument to be precisely configured to the user’s tastes.”

Jordan Rudess has created a ton of demo videos on the website that are well done and show the exciting potential of MorphWiz. It was because of these videos that I convinced myself to go ahead and purchase the app one dark evening….. ooops…. or the whole Wiz thing took over! Seriously though…. it was very late when I downloaded the app and it was several hours later that I tore myself away from the iPad to sneak into bed. The app is amazingly fun, versatile, mesmerizing and intriguing. There are a bunch of different sounds preset for you, if you want to tweak the presets and save your own version you are allowed to do so. There are scales galore that allow you to set which notes are being played, different effects, sliders that make sweet timbre changes, and many other ways in which to make things interesting. This is a synth that is very elastic in the sound, extremely expressive and draws you into your own little world – especially with headphones on! Go get this app! (ADDED NOTE – My son, who is a junior in high school and a percussionist, surprised meas drumline the other night. He apparently loves what this app does as well. He was very eager to show it to the other kids. So I handed over the iPad, plugged it into the sound system and let him go with it. Of course MorphWiz choose THAT moment to proceed to crash. I had to take the iPad home, delete the app and re-download it from the app store. Very weird. (Jordan – are you reading this? Why?) BUT when an app like this gets the attention of teenagers I tend to pay even more attention to the possibilities.)

ProKeys by BeepStreet is another app that while I was out camping this summer I found myself spending more time with than I should have been. Again there are videos on YouTube that can really give you a feel for how this app works. There are two keyboards on the screen. There are a decent number of sounds preset for you. This app also allows you to record, simple recording but it still records. The app records your playing as well as from the mic. There are some effects built in as well. OF course I almost forgot how much fun Magic Piano from Smule is as well. This app is even good enough that you can even  play Flight of the BumbleBee on it! Video link

One last App that I just ran across tonight is nanostudio. This is not actually out yet for the iPad but it has been designed for the iPhone and iPod Touch so of course it will work on the iPad. As horrible as those apps look when running on the iPad – I HATE THEM – this is one app that looks very interesting. Check out the videos see what you think. There is a free DESKTOP version of nanostudio that you can download to your computer and play with as well. (PC or Mac)

BeepStreet, the same company that does ProKeys, has an app called iSequence. This may be fun as well.

Well that was more than I said I would talk about but there are so many options out there. I would love to hear what other apps people have been playing with, creating with and enjoying. If you have an app for the iPad that helps CREATE music and would like me to review it on this blog then send over a code for me to download it and I would love to spend some time with it.

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