6 music making apps for your smartphone.
Last updated: 2 June 2016
You may or may not already play a musical instrument, but have you thought about creating your own music? With a few clever apps on your smartphone or tablet you can make your own songs: mix dance tracks or chill-out tunes, practise the guitar, play the piano or even sample your own voice to create a unique sound and make yourself a YouTube star. Plus, if you’ve got the new HTC 10, the quality of sound from the boom speakers will be more than enough to impress your friends.
With our pick of music-making apps you can do all this whenever and wherever you like. And if you’re a bit shy, don’t worry - as long as you’ve got your headphones in, nobody needs to know what you’re doing. So you can remix that Justin Bieber tune or play virtual bongo drums to your heart’s content.
Ethereal Dialpad - Android (free)Ok, so it might sound like something you’d only find in a specialist pharmacy, but Ethereal Dialpad is an app you’ll find yourself coming back to again and again. It’s a touchscreen synthesizer that lets you create music by dragging your finger round the screen. It’s entrancing, addictive and – as it’s free - well worth a play.
Loopy HD - iPhone (£2.99)
With Loopy HD you can create music by recording your voice, instruments, beatboxing, or other sounds, then loop and layer them together. The technique is used by artists like Reggie Watts to great effect, and there’s a lot of fun to be had experimenting.
Although merging tracks, reversing recordings, cutting in and out of loops, overdubbing and importing other loops sounds extremely complex to a beginner, this app has the usability and sleekness that will appeal to any novice. So, why not give it a try?
NanoStudio - iPhone (£4.99)
NanoStudio has everything you need to create amazing sounds. You can record and mix samples, arrange music, share stuff and add numerous effects, synth layers and instruments. You can basically become a mobile digital composer and share your tunes on SoundCloud from wherever you are. Then just use the MIDI export feature to send it over to your desktop digital audio workstation (DAW) to work on when you get home.
Musyc - iPhone (free)
Musyc gives music-makers an exciting experience that’s reminiscent of video gaming. The app generates sounds based on the interaction between shapes that bounce, swing, collide and roll around a user-generated environment – much like a video game scenario (think Geometry Wars and Peggle). You even get a series of levels to work your way through.
Keezy - iPhone (free)
Keezy is one of the simplest apps to use when it comes to sampling sounds. The app comes with 15 soundboards already installed, but you can use your iPhone’s built-in microphone to record your own. Record anything, from your instruments and your own voice, through to pets and random household objects. If you know your stuff, then Keezy is described as “a very simple eight-track version of an MPC sampler”.
Beatwave - iPhone (free)
If you’re pretty clueless when it comes to music this is the app for you, because all you need to do is tap. Beatwave lets you create music any time on your iPhone or iPad, simply by tapping the screen. If you’re a novice music maker, you can’t get much simpler than this. The app is based around an 18 by 18 grid of glowing squares that you tap to create notes. You can activate solid lines to create chords, use zig-zag patterns to make arpeggios (a type of broken chord) and create beats and rhythm using two lines at the bottom of the grid. If you’re a complete beginner, and you’re feeling inspired, it makes sense to start with this app.
If you have any other apps that you’d recommend, tweet @ThreeUK with your suggestions.