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Over the last several years, dozens of apps have emerged to help musicians stay creative while they’re on the go. These applications provide multi-track recording, synths, drum machines, DJ apps to pitch correction and AutoTune applications, in the compact format of a phone or tablet.
It’s incredible how many apps for musicians are available at no cost. Despite being free, I’ve found that it’s impressive how functional and diverse a lot of these applications can be, and many of them allow you to transfer files to your computer for more in-depth editing.
If you’re like me, sometimes the key to inspiration is changing things up a little bit and not sitting in front of the computer trying to create something new every single day. Instead, you can sit on the couch or your porch or lie in bed and still be creative.
The accessibility of fun and creative tools can easily be taken for granted when you’re at home. So if you feel inspired to learn something new or just want to add a fun tool to your bag of tricks, go ahead check out these seven awesome applications.
Djay is one of the most popular DJ apps in the Apple Store right now. If you’ve ever enjoyed being the DJ on long car rides or at parties, this app is a great way to explore DJing in a fun way. The application allows you to integrate your phone or tablet’s music library to use for your mixes and gives you the option to add effects, make loops, and change the tempo and keys of the songs.
You can also use Djay to make videos, as well as drum beats, so you can remix your music library. I especially like this app because it is very responsive to effect transitions and intuitive to learn.
The Korg Kaossilator is an X-Y pad synthesizer that allows you to trigger electronic and acoustic sounds by tapping or moving your fingers across your phone or tablet’s screen. The app is packed with hundreds of synth, bass, and drum sounds that span genres including hip-hop, EDM, house, and dubstep.
The app also includes a loop sequencer that allows you to record layers up to five tracks to create songs. My favorite feature of this app is the scale/key feature that makes it easy for melody creation and playing along with your music.
Moog Minimoog Model D
If you’ve always wanted a Moog Model D synthesizer, this is an incredible app that takes on the sound of the original and adds some cool features such as effects, and four-voice polyphony. The Model D app includes 160 presets and adjustable controls for the filters and oscillators. The app allows you to play four-note chords and has an arpeggiator and looping recorder.
The app is equipped with two effects, a stereo ping pong delay and a time modulation effect module called The Bender. The presets that you make in the app can be shared easily with friends and can be backed up in the cloud. This app can be used as a brain to run a MIDI controller as well.
Voisey is a collaborative application that connects singers, rappers, and producers worldwide. The app features voice filters and effects, including Auto-Tune, harmonies, reverb, so you can immediately emulate the types of sounds that you hear in modern-day pop records. The app can also be used to create split-screen videos with your friends.
This app can be used as a practice tool for singing and also something really experimental when you dive into the effects that are available for use as well.
Endlesss is a collaborative music app that has multi-tracking and social networking capabilities, so you can make beats and connect with musicians around the world. Its most impressive feature is its live jam feature which gives you a plethora of instruments, effects, and sampling options that can be used to create a song with your friends in real-time. You can also explore the music of other producers and invite them to collaborate with you.
Bandlab is a music creation app that has a multi-track editor equipped with hundreds of instrument presets, guitar and bass amp modelling, and sample packs for remixing tracks. Bandlab also allows you to connect with other producers by making videos and playlists of your music.
The app also features a tool called Creator Connect which matches you with potential collaborators based on your location. This app is especially impressive because it has unlimited cloud storage, so you can continuously record tracks and download them from the Bandlab desktop site when you’re ready.
Fender Play is an application created by the guitar industry giant Fender. The app was created to help students of all skill levels learn bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and ukulele virtually. The application teaches you basic techniques, how to read music (both TAB and standard notation), tune your instrument, play with a metronome, and learn songs as you progress.
If you have a guitar or bass lying around and you’ve been meaning to get better at playing it, sign up for Fender Play, as they have a special three months free trial.
Cost: Free trial for three months (then $9.99/month)
While you’re home, it’s good to have fun being creative, without the pressure of creating — so music doesn’t end up feeling only like work or chores. I hope these apps help you find some inspiration, while you’re at home or on the go.
It’s important to mention that several of the apps mentioned allow you to send files to your computer for further editing in a DAW, or have external MIDI controller capabilities. So you can take your musical projects with you wherever you go!
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