Essential iPhone applications for my musical life

jesta Uncategorized

I love my iPhone. Since I got it it's become the central hub for my daily life, taking over from my laptop due to it's portability. I imagine that some time in the future it will be possible for my phone or mobile device to completely take over the things I do still need my laptop for now.

Although I use a lot of applications in my personal life, there's a few essential applications that I find specifically benefit my musical life – some that I already can't imagine living without! So I thought I'd take the opportunity to share them with you. In alphabetical order…

Band

Okay, this one is really a bit of fun. With Band you can jam on piano, bass guitar, drums and record your creations, overdubbing each part. But my favourite thing is the 12 Bar Blues instrument. Perfect for creating one man blues solos wherever you are. Feel like singing the blues in the middle of the supermarket? Do it with Band!

Beat Vibe (Mobile Compas)

Metronomes are available in many iPhone apps, but Beat Vibe is the best Flamenco metronome that I've found. It comes pre-programmed with very useful rhythms and flamenco palos such as Solea, Alegrias, Bulerias and more.

Bento

Bento is the iPhone version of the great database application from the makers of Filemaker. As a Filemaker user for years, Bento for me was a no-brainer. I use it to keep separate contact lists for gigs, inventory and lists of songs performed at various venues. You can use it for pretty much whatever you want to keep track of.

Boombox Pro

I really like the blip.fm website and Boombox Pro is the first application that lets me use blip.fm on the iPhone. Great for listening to almost any song for inspiration or for checking that your latest song isn't a complete rip off of something you grew up listening to!

ChordLab

My knowledge of chords and chord names is pretty good, but occasionally there'll be something that will have me stumped, or maybe I want to quickly hear different inversions. ChordLab makes this easy. Also useful is the circle of 5ths wheel.

Evernote

Evernote is definately in my top five applications. I use it for all sorts of stuff, personal, business or whatever. It's a great place to jot down lyric ideas, or record voice memos of song clips, all of which sync to Evernote on my studio computer ready for creating a new hit song (hopefully)!

FourTrack or 4 Tracks DX Pocket Studio

When I need to flesh out a song idea in more detail one of these comes to the rescue. It's just the old days when I had a four-track cassette recorder! So far I've used FourTrack more, but haven't really had a chance to put 4 Tracks DX through it's paces yet – although it seems to have more features.

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Guitar: Play and Share

You can't fit an acoustic guitar in your pocket, so when some impromptu busking is required Frontier Design Group's Guitar application is great. You can set up chords for various songs and strum away to your heart's content.

Karajan – Music & Ear Trainer

Any musician needs to improve their skills and Karajan is a good way to get some practice in at any opportunity. Ear training for intervals, chords, scales, pitch and tempos in a fun way.

Navigon

Takes the stress out of finding new gig venues and arriving late. Navigon is the first decent GPS app for the iPhone.

ProRemote

Remote control for Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Ableton Live or Soundtrack Pro. I use it to engineer my own sessions – I can stay at the microphone and still make adjustments on the mixer or use the transport controls.

Tunic Guitar

An amazingly precise and useful guitar tuner.

So there you have it – my top music apps at the moment. If there's two applications missing that I'd love to see the first would be an iPhone version of Masterwriter which I use for writing all my lyrics and keeping track of information about my songs. If it could sync to Masterwriter on my Mac that would be perfect. The second app I'd put on my wishlist is something that could act as a central database for all my music life. Bento comes close, but what I'd really like is somewhere to track gigs, contacts, fan lists, set lists, lyrics, expenses etc. all in one place specifically designed for musicians (something a bit like Indie Band Manager).

For a list of the other things on my iPhone check my personal blog where I'll be posting an article about that sometime.