Mobile music creation on Apple's iOS devices

Archive for April, 2014

The Horn Of Plenty: iOS Music Apps

At this moment in time, the plethora of iOS music apps along with the low pricing structure gives us abundant — and maybe for some, overwhelming — choices for how to make music.

Even if not overwhelmed by the choices, if you’re a typical iOS music maker, you’re still faced with many decisions on how to begin, and then continue and complete a music project. How does one decide which synth is best for a given tune, when the choices are each so rich and immersive?

Personally, I often let the apps take me to a starting spot. Maybe you bounce from one to another or maybe a certain sound leads to a certain melody or rhythm. At some point the sounds and notes seem right, and then, there is a take off point.

Where to start is one thing, to continue and if so, to where are the next questions. Many things can lead one to a dead end, and one thing that is worth trying (and I think worth mentioning) is to re-visit some old ideas with a totally new approach. Especially with a new technology such as the iPad.

In that vein, I have found some old midi files of mine and moved them, as unfinished and as rough as many of them are, here to the iPad and am ready for importing into apps. I don’t have high hopes to resurrect something that will become a masterpiece, more like a Frankenstein I’m sure…(which was a big hit song for Edgar Winter in the 1970’s so maybe, it’s not such a bad idea…)

Now the decisions loom; which apps for this midi file, where to start with this one? And within the apps, which sounds and articulations and dynamics will I choose? Should I change the key, or the tempo, or both, or neither? And just like following any other avenue in our quest to make music via iOS devices, it’s the journey that will matter the most.

So, follow that road…any road, as long as it is taking you on a journey of exploration and discovery. As it is for me at this moment in time, I have so many paths from which to choose. So many different beginning approaches to try. But all I can do, all anyone can do is try one at a time. Try to make something fresh and unique based on what you have and what you know. There is nothing new in music that hasn’t been forgotten so no matter where that road leads, it seems like a good idea to follow it, at least for a while…it may lead to higher rewards, and we won’t ever know about that unless we get out and travel those roads.

Be seeing you
– Bourne 24Apr14

Orchestral Music, physics, and me.

An evening with physicist Dr Brain Greene, a Phillip Glass score played by a live orchestra, and a pretty lady at my side. Not a geeky fantasy, but real life; and at our treasured theatre, the Paramount, in Austin.


Dr Greene led off the night with a mini-lecture on black holes, and that set up the second part of the show. His children’s book, Icarus At The Edge Of Time, was the basis for both the beautifully created film that was a blend of creatively light live action and animation — and the musical score for said film by Phillip Glass.

We enjoyed all aspects of the experience and it really tied in to a lot of thoughts and research I have pursued of late dealing with the physics of sound and sound reproduction (as related to music, mostly).

Anytime one can attend a presentation by a live professional orchestra, one must, I say! And I really admire Phillip Glass and his work, though I don’t enjoy all of his output (and there is so much…he’s quite prolific), There are serval of his works that I adore. As it turns out, the score for Icarus was really good, it really conveyed musically what was happening on the screen, even more in certain aspects of the story of a boy’s attempt to visit a black hole.

The orchestra was a no name “live” orchestra, I think it was formed from local musicians just for this performance, but they played together very well. The acoustics of the old theatre are pretty good and there is nothing like hearing a live string section, for me it is a special aural delight.

Inspiration can come from anywhere, but as a composer and music maker, (and really for any kind of artist) often a great source is exposure to other art. And after my immersion in an event that combined many of my favorites arts and interests, I do feel especially inspired. And the difficulty is focusing that inspiration, but that is the current goal, and I plan a follow up to this in a subsequent post.

Go out and listen to some live music…it can help you, and help other music makers.

Be seeing you
– Bourne