Music is an integral part of my life even though I can't play a lick on any instrument and my singing has been likened to what a drowning moose might sound like.
Ah well, I'm content with limiting my audience to whatever happens to be flying, crawling, slithering, or walking pass my bathroom window while I'm showering. I know I'll never be a star, but I do enjoy belting out a tune every once in a while. Apparently so do many others.
Singing seems to be the way most of us make music. Our voices are the most expressive, natural, easy to use, and convenient instruments we have. The range sounds the human voice is capable of producing is amazing. One just has to sit in on a choral concert to begin to see, and hopefully appreciate what the human voice can accomplish.
Even I sound ok in a choir.
More broadly, making music has a certain satisfaction, knowing that you've played or sang an even remotely recognizable tune often grants us an easily won feeling of accomplishment. Even more, when you make music in the company of others it often becomes infectious. I can't tell you how many times I've joined in or was joined in humming or singing a familiar song out in public by complete strangers. We didn't care how badly we sang or if we knew all the words, the song just needed to be sung, by us, right then. And for the length of that song we've shared a brief, but real bond, and the link between two people who've never met before nor will likely meet again was the music we were making. (Excuse me while I wipe a solitary tear from my eye.)
Ok, enough self mocking and sentimental frivolity. The basic fact is that we make music because its satisfying to do so. Our ancestors knew it. They created the precursors to the instruments we use today. The problem has always been that instruments, even something as seemingly simple as a tambourine requires more skill to play decently than one might imagine. That's why I enjoy some of the apps available on iOS devices. They are skill agnostic. You can't carry a tune in a bucket? When you sing it sounds worse than a blue whale passing gas. Sheet music and Chinese look equally unintelligible? (Unless you can read Chinese.) No problem! Not only can you make music, what you produce can impress others.
Free apps, my friends. Free apps. There's much to talk about this week so lets get it.
Novation Launchkey [9 MB, runs on all iPads capable of running iOS 5.0 or later, Maker: Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd]
Have you ever caught yourself humming a tune that you may have just made up? It might not be anything complex, but for some reason that certain set of notes seem right for the mood and the moment you're in. Most of us play with sounds, often doing it absentmindedly because its something that comes naturally to us. That's the concept behind Novation Launchkey, an iPad only app that lets you play with music.
Just touch the screen to produce a sound. Where you go from there is up to you. Use the simulated synth keyboard or the panel with rotating nodes to get some unique tunes. Vary tempo, volume and lock in a loop you like. Select from a huge array of sound "plug ins", each providing a different palette of sounds to launch your next session from.
Great layout for making music
If you're familiar with hardware synths Novation Launchkey offers a variety that will connect to your iPad for more music making fun.
This app is free for a limited time and it can do far more than I can talk about here. Grab it while you can.
Guitar! [60.4 MB, runs on all iOS devices capable of running iOS 6.0 or later, Maker: Smule Inc]
Smule first came on the virtual instrument scene with their truly innovative Ocarina app that turns your iPhone into a virtual wind instrument of the same name. Today Smule apps lets you play other virtual instruments as well.
Take their Guitar! app for instance. You pick and strum to tunes you know, or just pick and strum in free play mode. The app provide 3 free song you can play to. The better you are to more points you get. Get enough point and you can get other songs to play. There are some more popular songs that you have to pay for if you want them, but if all you want to do is make music then forget the pay-for songs and play with the freebies.
Play familiar tunes with ease on Guitar!
After you've played you have the option to share you great talent to the rest of the world. You can also hear what others are playing.
Guitar! is fun. Get this too.
More Smule fun. Sing!is even more fun than Guitar! You basically sing karaoke style, either solo or duet. Duet singing does not cost, but solo song have to be purchased through credits won by singing a lot, or with real cash.
Personally, I like the duets. There are a lot of songs that I'm fuzzy about the version being sung so doing it once or twice in duet lets you get the feel of the tune.
Get enough credits and you can launch your solo career without paying a dime.
Singing a duet in Sing!
Share your efforts with friend and get feedback, or comment on their tunes. What's also nice is that you can adjust how you sound using filters, kind of like apply filters to jazz up your photos.
Sing! is definitely worth a tryout.