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5 Great Smartphone Apps for Musicians

Today’s smartphones are a serious boon for music lovers. Among other things, they give users the ability to store days (and even weeks or months) of music right in the pockets, not to mention allowing them easy access to all of it with just a few simple swipes and clicks.

But the musical benefits of owning a smartphone certainly do not stop there. The devices can also deliver major advantages to musicians who own them. Consider these five great apps that can make life easier for musicians:

  1. The Metronome by Soundbrenner: Keeping time is essential for any musician, whether he or she is a beginner or a seasoned pro. And with this app, musicians of all experience levels can have tempo-keeping help within easy, anytime reach via a digital metronome on their smartphones. Powerful yet intuitive to use, this app offers reliable precision, the ability to quickly and easily change time signatures, addable accents to emphasize beats, simple setlist management and a range of customization options. The Metronome by Soundbrenner is available for download in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
  2. Guitar Tuna: All musicians want to keep their instruments in tune and for players of stringed instruments, Guitar Tuna puts an easy way to do just that right in their pockets. Despite the guitar-specific name, the Guitar Tuna app supports simple tuning for a range of stringed instruments, including guitar, bass, violin, viola, ukulele, cello, mandolin, balalaika, and banjo. Once the user clicks through the instrument menu to select his or her instrument of choice, the smartphone displays the headstock of that instrument on its screen. Then, as the app detects the string being played via the smartphone’s microphone, it highlights the specific string being tuned and tells the user whether the string needs to be tuned higher or lower until the perfect note is hit. The app is available via the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
  3. Topline: Created by the Abbey Road Studios of Beatles fame, this app was designed to help songwriters address one of their most common concerns: forgetting their original song ideas. With Topline’s multitrack recording capabilities, songwriters can easily import beats, vocals and instrumental tracks. They can also record as many as three vocal tracks on top of the original track and then mix the resulting audio using the app’s built-in mixer panel. Further, the app enables users to build and organize their songwriting projects, add lyrics, tags and photos to help them quickly ID projects, export projects as M4A audio files and easily share the projects with others. Topline is available via the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
  4. Songwriter’s Pad: Another tool created to help bring out the best in songwriters, this app goes beyond giving lyricists a digital space for recording their song ideas by offering a creative assist when writer’s block strikes. When the right word or phrase for a song lyric feels out of reach, Songwriter’s Pad can inspire creativity with a word and phrase generator that offers wording suggestions based on a user-provided emotion or mood. It also provides a Rhyming Dictionary that offers poetic options when rhymes are hard to find and a thesaurus/dictionary tool that helps songwriters find similar words and their meanings. Other helpful features include easy-to-add chord notation to help songwriters put music with their words, a built-in audio player for recording ideas and the ability to import backing tracks and beats to accompany their vocal ideas. Songwriter’s Pad is available for use with Apple devices and Android devices.
  5. forScore: In addition to serving as an on-the-go digital sheet music reader for smartphones and tablets that enables hands-free page turning, forScore also allows users to store, organize and manage their digitized sheet music with ease. The app takes things a step further by allowing for simple modification and annotation of stored scores via typing with a keyboard or writing on the screen with a fingertip, and musicians can even compose their own songs using the app. And by allowing PDFs of sheet music to be shared via Dropbox or Bluetooth in addition to letting users capture and import sheet music with their phone’s camera, simple sharing is another key forScore benefit. The app is available to users of iOS devices via the Apple App Store.

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