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More Songwriting Power in Your Pocket

More Songwriting Power in Your Pocket

 

Here are 5 awesome apps that will help your songwriting:

Tuner: play in tune

Metronome: play with good time

Shazam: what’s that song called? who is playing that song?

B-Rhyme: slant rhyme dictionary

GarageBand: multitrack recording in your pocket

 

This is a follow up article to Songwriting Power in Your Pocket – optimizing your phone for songwriting with on-board apps

 

Note: All app links go to the Apple App Store, they are not affiliate links, but included for your convenience.

If you have an Android phone, please leave your app recommendations in the comment section at the end of the article to help others 🙂

 

 

 

Tuner

Nothing screams amateur louder than an out of tune guitar 🙁

True story

I was at a songwriting workshop… tuned my guitar, set it down in the case for 10 minutes, picked it up, started to play my song for a songwriting critique. Amateur move, I had to stop after the 1st chorus and retune my low E string. I must have bumped the tuning peg… leaving me with the choice: stop and retune, or keep going (out of tune) and finish the song expecting to get critiqued for being out of tune and not knowing it. Damn! I stopped to retune and destroyed my flow… took 15 seconds to get it back but it felt like an eternity….

 

Lesson learned:

  • Always check your tuning. Learn to tune by ear, have a tuner to double check,
  • Use a clip-on tuner on stage… cut your volume and tune it

 

 

Pocket Hz

https://appsto.re/ca/ECxdG.i

Pocket Hz tuner
Pocket Hz tunes what ever it hears

 

Advantages

  • Clean design, easy to read, no ads
  • Visual Meter: Green in tune, red not
  • Pitch and Octave of the note
  • Hz – pitch, in cycles per second to first decimal, extremely precise
  • Digital Meter: cents deviation from pitch… precise tuning in the photo, my low E string is -1 cents flat even though the meter reads green in tune

 

Disadvantages

  • picks up background sounds, might not work on stage

 

Bonus with PocketHz

You can play-along with any song in your music library, speed up or slow music (keeps it on pitch), transpose it up or down up to a tone, and select part of a song to loop and practice

 

 

 

Play-along with your favourite musicians

 

 

 

Metronome

A metronome keeps a steady pulse, measured in beats per minute (bpm). 

 

True Story:

I had terrible time when I was working on my first university degree playing saxophone… speed up if it’s easy, slow down when it was harder, didn’t really count, couldn’t sightread because I’d stop after every mistake. Donnie Palmer, my sax teacher, taught me some exercises to properly use a metronome… play songs, play scales, improvise… do it all with a metronome.

Lesson Learned:

 

You can use any metronome. The features I look for are:

  • sounds good (no ugly beeps)
  • easy to change tempo (no pushing + a hundred times, give me a dial or a slider)
  • easy to read, no ads (don’t distract me!)

 

Metronome App

My favourite is called Metronome, but I couldn’t find it in the app store, only for iPhone… not sure if it was discontinued….

 

metronome2

 

 

Advantages:

  • Tap entry, a must have feature, tap the tempo of a song into the metronome
  • 38 bpm – 225 bpm, simple dial quickly changes the tempo
  • Easy to push mute button
  • Pleasant click instead of a noisy electric beep
  • Choice of a flash, with or instead of a click, for noisy situations
  • Looks good, wood finish choices for the skin
  • No visable ads… Options & Info link to ‘buy a Steinway piano’, another link for iPad sheet music @ etudeapp.com

 

Disadvantage:

couldn’t find it in the app store after searching for it several times… sorry, you have to find your own metronome 🙂

 

Action Steps: 5 minutes

  • Search “metronome”
  • pick 3 free ones
  • try for 1 minute each
  • keep your favourite, delete the rest….

 

 

 

Shazam

https://appsto.re/ca/ZEk_q.i

 

Shazam1
Shazam knows what you are listening to!

 

 

This app blows my mind… turn it on and it can figure out a song… sometimes in less than 2 bars. An algorithm matches the sounds to a database through the internet.

 

Awesome even if it only told you the name of the song and artist…

Advantages

  • read lyrics in real time
  • listen on spotify
  • connect to iTunes (probably an affiliate link ?)
  • Follow artists
  • There’s an online community I haven’t checked out

 

 

Shazam2
Remembers your Shazams, helps you find and buy music….

 

B-Rhymes

https://appsto.re/ca/bcwuv.i

 

This app is a rhyming dictionary, specializing in Slant Rhymes!

 

Slant rhymes or loose rhymes are “almost” rhymes, similar vowel, similar but different consonants…

Slant rhymes or loose rhymes are “almost” rhymes

 

For example: in

“in” rhymes: skin, fin, sin etc, but slant rhymes also include ending sounds like “ing”, “ins”, “een” creating more lyric choices to for you to play with.

 

The more I write, the more I appreciate and use slant rhymes… they are more interesting and create more writing possibilities

 

Advantages

  • Includes pronunciations
  • click on a word on a list and find its slant rhyme
  • remembers what you’ve searched
  • You can pro upgrade for $3.99. I haven’t

 

True Story:

Everyone says you can’t rhyme the word “Orange” B-Rhymes gave me this many slant rhymes:

 

B-Rhymes Orange
Rhyme any word

 

 

Other Dictionaries:

Rhyming Dictionary – online

I love rhyme dictionaries, use them several times a song… there’s always a word I would have missed. 

 

I haven’t found a free rhyming app that I like. RhymeZone costs $3.99, https://appsto.re/ca/Q4HAD.i

 

But I internet it for free it at rhymezone.comI like this site because it you can also search for synonyms and related words but it has advertising.

 

 

Thesaurus.com

Presently my favorite way to find other words that mean the same thing… synonyms are an excellent way to find new rhyme ideas. The site has advertising.

 

 

 

GarageBand

https://appsto.re/ca/zQgxy.i

 

Multitrack recording in your pocket for iPhone… GarageBand is the best entry level DAW (digital audio workstation) in the world. 

 

 

GarageBand isn’t perfect, it has limitations, it has weaknesses… but it is intuitive, easy to play with and figure out.

 

You can record decent vocals with a tiny phone mic, because of auto compression… sudden changes in loud and soft don’t overload the recording.

 

True story:

In 20 minutes, I taught a 12 year old student saxophone student how to record himself on his iPad for an audition. Recorded it on his own, emailed it and got into the regional youth concert band.

 

Another True Story:

Last spring, I created a demo on my iPad to pitch a song co-write. My laptop was down, DAW non functional… how to email pitch a multi-track song?

GarageBand: recorded vocal, backing vocals, alto sax; used Keyboards, Smart Bass and Smart Drummer and could show someone else what I was hearing!

 

GarageBand Demo-Feed the Monkey
GarageBand track view, mix voice, acoustic instruments, virtual instruments and loops.

 

 

 

There are 2 versions of GarageBand:

  • iPad/iPhone is good and portable… I got it free several years ago, the last time I checked it was $5.99. Pay the money, it’s worth it
  • Mac OS – same idea but has more features, better workflow… is included on Apple computers… I use Windows on my laptop….

 

Advantages:

  • Multitrack recording
  • Virtual Instruments, with decent sounds
  • Smart Instruments, make sounds like an instrument even if you can’t play it

 

Upgrades, $50+ish each

  • iRig guitar connector, connect electric guitar to record it, amp sims can help the tone, guitarists should have one
  • iRig Mic, an external mic plugs into the listen jack… not necessary but improves the sound quality
  • iRig midi connector, connect your midi device to GarageBand, if you play keyboards get one, it will be a huge upgrade

 

 

 

Help others by leaving a comment…

What’s your favourite songwriting phone app?

 

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© Trevor Dimoff, EpicSongWriting.com, 2019