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Music-making apps for iOS

Macworld takes a look at some of the other newest and best apps for making music on iOS

If you want to make music on your iPhone or iPad device you aren't just limited to GarageBand. Macworld takes a look at some of the newest and best apps for making music on iOS.

GarageBand 1.2

Apple updated GarageBand with the launch of iOS 5.1 and brought in new features that addressed the one major shortcoming of the previous version - the ability to edit your work. There are a host of other new features as well, including track merging and a new Smart Strings instrument.

It costs £2.99 and is a real bargain considering it is by far the most fully-featured music-making and editing app for iOS available. If we do have a complaint though - only a minor one, mind - it's that support for an external keyboard or microphone is only available on the iPad version of the app.

ReBirth for iOS

Essentially a suite of sequencers, ReBirth for iOS impressed us with its ease of use and the quality of sounds and effects available. It costs £4.99 for the iPhone/iPod touch version and £10.49 for the iPad and it is integrated with Facebook, meaning you can work on collaborations with friends.

However, exporting your work can only be done in the proprietary ReBirth format or as a low-quality MP3, which is a serious shortcoming. Also, the multitude of controls available are difficult to get to grips with on a touchscreen, especially on the iPhone version.

Figure

Figure, like ReBirth, is the work of Propellerhead Software, and is brand new to the App Store. Costing 69p, Figure is designed to be easy for first timers to get to grips with, letting you program Drums, Bass and Lead Synth on the move.

It is very easy to use and sounds great, though unfortunately there is no export function whatsoever.

SongMaker

The latest version of SongMaker, 2.0.3, was released last month and costs 69p. The app is designed to let you sing over a backing track - some 30 royalty-free tracks are included and you can buy more within the app - and then add harmonies and adjust the pitch.

Backing tracks can also be remixed, though beware - if you have an early-generation iPod touch you'll need an external microphone as the device doesn't have one built in.

Alchemy Synth Mobile

Camel Audio's Alchemy Synth Mobile is a free app that turns your iOS device into a synthesiser, featuring a mini keyboard with scalable keys and you can plug in an external Core MIDI keyboard.

However, if you want advanced features such as the ability to export WAV and MIDI files then you'll need to upgrade to the Pro version, which costs £10.49.

MadPad - Remix Your Life

MadPad is an app that helps you to create music using the sounds made by everyday objects. You can record sounds of just about anything you can imagine, or use the sounds from the 50 sets provided in the 69p app.

It's also easy to share your creations through Twitter with MadPad. There is an HD version for iPad too, costing £1.99.

How To Rap for iPad

If you don't have much in the way of musical talent, and your singing voice isn't up to scratch, then don't fret - you might still be able to rap. The £2.99 How To Rap for iPad app is designed to teach you the fundamentals of this particular genre, including patterns, hooks and songwriting techniques.

The app also promises to teach you about "grammer" (though evidently not spelling), metaphors and rhyme schemes, so even if you don't manage to learn how to rap your poetry appreciation skills should get a boost.

History of Rock for iPad

If you've come to the conclusion that you have no musical talent and merely want to enjoy a comprehensive and lavishly illustrated history of rock music, then this is the app for you.

For £2.99 you'll be able to read about the origins of rock and its many sub-genres, with YouTube and iTunes links included so you can see or hear the artists in action. It's also optimised for the retina display of the third-generation iPad.


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