Music is a state of mind. In the past, people used to spend agonizingly long hours with tutors and teachers to get even a bit closer to mastering some single instrument. But now, when almost everyone has devices with instant access to YouTube, you can learn to make music without the standard education process with all its teachers and loans. And mobile apps can help aspiring musicians in this challenging endeavor.
The first thing a musician who decides to master guitar, bass or any other string instrument needs is a tuner. It is not necessary to buy a separate device – there are many accurate and functional tuners for smartphones and tablets for every taste.
One of them is GuitarTuna, which has a nice and clear design. You can enable both a simplified view, which will be convenient for beginners, and an advanced one, which allows you to tune your instrument with increased accuracy. The app supports alternative guitar strings and recognizes notes perfectly even in noisy rooms. There are many additional functions: metronome, chord library, games for learning them, etc. And the best part is that you don’t have to pay for the app.
‘Practice to the metronome!’ is what all music teachers tell you. Sure, a vintage mechanical metronome looks cool, but its functionality is a far cry from Soundbrenner’s digital metronome. This free app supports any size, and also gives you the ability to tap in your own tempo, save setlists for songs you’re learning, create click libraries, and can even sync with multiple smartphones, allowing you to rehearse with a group of up to 5 people. It comes in handy for home lessons, live performances, and studio work.
A musician who constantly records themselves grows much faster than those who don’t. It is useful not only to hear your own sound, but also to record ideas that often appear during lessons. And the record button should be turned on as quickly as possible, before the musical phrase fades from memory.
Voice Record Pro will help you do this. The app will allow you to record files in MP4, MP3 and WAV with sampling rates from 8 to 48 KHz – that is, you can even use them for future tracks. In addition to a nice design with VU meter and volume adjustment, there are many handy features: audio trimmer, pitch shifter and speed changer, echo overlay, reverb and other effects, equalizer, the ability to save your files to a cloud, and much more. All of that is absolutely free.
Tablature and sheet music editor
Guitar Pro – the most famous tool for reading, playing and recording tablature and sheet music – is now available in mobile version. It allows you to learn your favorite tracks anywhere, anytime: you can download files directly from the Internet. You can also record a chord sequence that suddenly appeared in your head. The application can help you memorize the guitar fretboard, give you an idea of musical notation, music theory and is extremely useful for all musicians, especially guitarists and bassists.
You have an app for reading tablature, but where can you get the tablature itself? The Ultimate Guitar: Chords & Tabs app comes to the rescue. It is, perhaps, the largest catalog of tabs and chords for guitar, bass and drums in the world. It will give you access to about 1.4 million tablatures for more than 800,000 songs, allow you to create your own collections and playlists, edit chords, take notes, edit lyrics, etc. Pro account will allow you to use official tabs with synchronized lyrics and backing tracks, transpose them to your own key, play the notes with interactive tabs at your own tempo, etc.
Making demos and an amp simulator
Anyone who owns an Apple device knows about GarageBand. Sure, it’s not a full-fledged DAW, but when you’ve got an idea, it’ll help you bring it to life in just a few minutes – you will get a full demo recording: voice, guitars, drums, keyboards, and bass. Drums can be tapped on virtual pads, and your guitar is easy to connect to a smartphone using a sound card and process through an amp simulator. The app will also allow you to download additional instruments, loops and sound packs, mix them and synchronize the result across all your devices that have GarageBand installed.
You can practice to the rhythm of the metronome – it is helpful. But not as fun or exciting as when real drums are involved. This is where DM1 comes to the rescue – a drum machine from Fingerlab with a classic and intuitive design that even a beginner can understand. The application will allow you to beat your own rhythms on virtual pads, create loops and patterns, download additional sounds and record your own, mix them and apply effects, import and export projects to the cloud. And it’s MIDI-compatible, which makes it a handy professional tool as well.
DJing and remixing
Ninja Jamm is a DJ app that allows you to create remixes on the fly. This is a powerful tool for working with samples and loops. It allows you to process them in one touch, apply effects, scratches, filters and various DJ tricks. The interface is intuitive and allows you to really do everything in one click, so many professional DJs even use it in their own live performances. Best of all, it gives you access to a gigantic and free library of sounds created by other musicians for free.
Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
Finally, to make release-ready tracks anywhere, anytime, you’ll need a mobile DAW. There are plenty of them in app stores, but very few can compare in popularity to the legendary Fruity Loops for smartphones and tablets – FL Studio Mobile. Professional functionality with a clear modern design, instruments and effects of the highest level, sequencer, mixer, audio recorder, sample browser, touch controllers, excellent optimization, multiplatform nature and synchronization of projects with the full-fledged piece of software – what else is needed to make a musician happy?
Today, almost anyone who has at least minimal understanding of music can create a song of their own or a melody just by installing an application on the phone. If you are already creating or simply wish to start composing your own music, the list of apps presented above is definitely worth considering. This selection will be useful for an aspiring musician.
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