More and more people are taking their work on the go, and music composers are no exception. A growing of number of tablet and smartphone apps has made it easy for composers to create, save, and share their music without being tied to the computer and dashboard. Although they won’t replace the studio anytime soon, these apps are fast becoming a central part of composers’ lives.
Simply put, this app allows you to write music on your tablet. Experts compare it favourably to Sibelius or Finale, two well-known desktop composition programs. The 88-key virtual keyboard allows for easy entry, and the quick playback option allows you to keep tabs on your progress. The app is created by Xenon Labs and retails for $12.99 for the iPad. Symphony, a smaller, limited-feature version for the iPhone, sells for $4.99.
This iPhone app offers a quick but detailed introduction to Sibelius, the music program. At $1.99, it gives you access to dozens of instructional videos and lets you try out some of the most useful features. You’ll eventually want to get the full version, but if you’re still getting the hang of it, this is definitely worth the time and money.
Despite its name, this app isn’t just for keyboardists, although it has come to serve as a MIDI keyboard for composers working on desktop apps. It transfers surprisingly smoothly from the iPhone or iPad to a desktop computer. The quality is at par with even the priciest MIDI keyboards on the market, so at $9.99 it’s definitely a great buy.
This is more of a companion app to a full-featured program such as Sibelius. Basically, it gives you a customized keypad so you can, for example, switch between flat, natural, and sharp signs on your phone. It’s also great for playing around with beat durations. It’s not the most glamorous of applications, but if you like multitasking or like working on multiple files at once, this can save you hours of finger work. You can get it for $3.99 on the app store.
Another productivity tool for composers, Air Display by Avatron Software allows you to arrange all your Sibelius or Finale toolbars on your iPhone or iPad screen. This allows you to access features of the program in one tap, instead of shuffling through long menus. At $9.99, it’s a little pricey for a “help” app, but it saves a considerable amount of time especially if you’re using every feature on the table.