Back in April of 2014 Olympia Noise Co released a great little app called dot Melody (currently $2.99 in the app store) focused on allowing for some fun music making without having to know a lot about music! Sounds about right for some of our young musicians doesn’t it? I say little app because this app is designed for iPhone but it of course runs just fine on an iPad.
Here is the main description from their web-site: “dot Melody is a multidimensional graphic arpeggiator, sequencer and drum machine. Move dots around to create intertwining melodies, bass lines, and drum beats. Switch chords and patterns on the fly. Select from a range of instruments and process them through delay and reverb effects.”
Pretty fancy way of saying tap the screen to put dots there that will make music!
It actually gives you a ton of different options for those that want to start looking around a little bit. For instance, if you hold down on the dot longer you will see where the rhythmic values and pitches fall. If you tap the three colored pie on the right you will access three parts; one a bass line, one a melodic part and one a drum part.
Tap the three chords on the left and the notes change to those chords (of course the younger the music student then this opens up doors to talking about building blocks of all music!)
The numbered circles on the right give you access to additional patterns that you can build up. Then you can string them all together to create a song! I’m not sure how many patterns you can create – I created 50 once and then stopped as my creative spurt at the time was fresh out of…. o never mind….
The real fun comes when you start digging around in the Gear Icon section! In this section you see a ton of other options like time and tempo options. The quarter note gives you the ability to setup your own chords – very sweet and easily I might add! The MIDI piano roll icon (the one after the quarter note) is one section I would send my students into frequently! This is where they can auto generate new patterns, reverse the pattern they created and mix up the order of the notes but not adjust the rhythms.
Then the sound wave icon allows you to pick from all sorts of other sounds to use. The Mixer icon is next followed by the delay and reverb icons.
The design of this app results in an extremely excellent looking app – they put a ton of time into making this thing look very pretty and fun to use! In fact if you really want to see how great it looks then take a look at the video below. I had to show you what this app looks like – I know you will like it!
- The inclusion of the effects was a nice surprise! The Delay and Reverb both add a nice dimension to your genius music.
- MIDI output is also a possibility, although I’m not so sure how many will take advantage of this feature, it sure opens up the doors to use this app to drive the sounds from another! Now your sound options have grown a ton!
- Again, the visual design is stunning!
- Audiobus is supported which allows for even greater fun because you can take what is going on in dot Melody, run it through some additional effects apps and into another app like Cubasis to record it! BUT AGAIN… I digress…. not really sure how useful this is for younger grade levels. But again that DOES mean that for your older students and the ones that want to work at their own advanced pace, this app opens doors to all sorts of levels of students!
- I’m not so sure how well this app would be to recreate a piece of printed music, especially a melody. This app falls more firmly in the use of accompaniment – arpeggiated patterns. This app can for sure be used as an musical accompaniment following a chord chart.
- Drum Machine this is not. It does have a drum part but to really build this complex drum track isn’t going to happen. Don’t get me wrong – the inclusion of the drum part in this app is vital but approach it for what it is!
- Not sure whose fault this is but if you use dot Melody on an iPad along with AudioBus you will run into issues with the little switching dock to jump back and forth between the apps in AudioBus. Simple fix is to simply double tap that home button and switch apps that way.
This app could cover a TON of music classes ranging from beginner to advanced! Music theory with this app could be a blast – the exploration of chords and patterns could take a couple weeks without boring ANYONE!
You really must watch the video below to get a sense of what this app can do and what it looks like! Eye candy all over the place! Even the icon itself is a masterpiece!
For the $2.99 that this app costs currently, dot Melody is going to provide a ton of fun for who ever uses it!
Just for reference, the actual name in the app store is dot Melody : Multidimensional Arpeggiator, Sequencer, and Drum Machine and as a reminder – it is only for iPhone.