omposing is an important musical skill – and it’s worth mastering. While you may not create a piece worthy of the next Top 10 Songs For the Violin, the process of composing is a way to reverse engineer what you’ve learned as a musician. Plus, creating and working on compositions of your own provides a healthy respect for both contemporary and historical composers – it’s a complicated skillset.
The good news for the contemporary musician is that you can put those blank music pages and pencils aside. Music composition apps are the wave of the future. In addition to converting what you play into notated sheet music – including accurate rhythm and key signatures – these programs also offer recording and editing features, so you can hone your skills as you go.
Note for beginning musicians: If you’re a beginning musician whose composing skills exceed your ability to write/read music – always have your instructor play your composition back to you to ensure it was notated correctly. You may find you’ll need to tweak the digital version a bit if the microphone or amp doesn’t pick up – and notate – the music as you intended.
Music studio gets rave reviews, especially because it packs a powerful composing punch for just $14.99. Available for both iOS and Android, Music Studio offers superb sound quality that is competitive with desktop and more expensive hardware application options. It has won a respectable amount of awards as well as rave ratings from some of the most stringent reviewers, including AppAdvice.com, razorianfly.com, and appfreakblog.com.
In addition to the normal range of basic, digital composition features, Music Studio offers 183 studio recorded instrument options (123 of which are free), 100 drum loops, the ability to play/record two separate instruments at the same time, and you can edit whole tracks, bars, or even individual notes.
This incredible software is designed to be used by your smartphone, computer, or tablet and offers integrative options for music composition. While you can sign up and use basic features for free, most serious music composers will prefer the premium version of Noteflight, which can be purchased for $7.95 per month, or you can save by paying $49 for a calendar year.
Technically, it’s more of a software program rather than an app, but it runs great on any of your mobile devices (iPhone or Android). The notation editor is simple to operate and easy to learn, and the features allow you to write, play, and share your compositions with its worldwide community. Plus, you can view other works from composers on the site and learn from their examples.
This innovative music notation software offers composers a unique way to create music. Recently developed by Sven Emtell and Sven Ahlbäck, anyone with a smartphone can write and share their compositions with this amazing tool, and send it to anyone online, either using email or by posting on social media sites. At only $1 to purchase the app, this is a great option for beginning (or anxious) composers who want to get their feet wet but aren’t interested in sorting out the bells and whistles contained in other apps.
With the unique, ground-breaking app ScoreCloud Express, you don’t have to necessarily know how to write music notation, you just need to be able to play, whistle, or even hum the music that you want to write. It records the sounds you create, and then accurately translates them into the correct pitch and note values, creating your written work instantly. The music composition app, ScoreCloud Express can be downloaded to your iPhone or iPad. Since it only requires some kind of sound to operate, even beginner musicians can hone their compositions skills using this incredible new writing tool.
Musical Note Pad (FREE)
This Android app is free to install and offers aspiring composers a fast way to write simple music scores on their smartphones. While it doesn’t get high-ratings, that’s because it’s less complicated and advanced than other apps. So, as with ScoreCleaner Notes, this simple composition app is ideal for beginners.
In addition to writing your work, this music composition app allows you to hear your results immediately, playing them back for you in one of over 128 MIDI instruments the app includes. Another benefit of this app is that it allows you to zoom the screen out, for improved viewing, and the touch screen features make it easy to adjust, writ and correct your notation. This app is free to download on your Android device.
Ensemble Composer (FREE)
This is another free Android app that makes music composition easier for beginners. With simplified “undo” options, you can explore a number of alterations to your score very quickly. This effective app allows you to hear your compositions with up to 15 MIDI instruments simultaneously in its playback feature and has simplified options for a stress-free way to save your scores for future editing. This free app for music composition is a great start for beginners.
This new iPad app combines all the features you need to create original compositions and is becoming very popular with composers. Although it costs $9.99 to download, it gives you the option to start from scratch or import a MIDI, ABC, or Symphony file so that you can edit them in the app. Instead of inserting just basic notations you have access to every kind of symbol you need including, dynamics, tempo changes, repeats, and much more. The playback feature allows you to hear your creations immediately, and this music composition app ranks high with users.
Music composition apps like these are a major bonus for musicians on the go. Gone is the need to be seated at a desktop computer or in front of expensive recording equipment. Instead, you can compose anytime, anywhere – as long your gadget of choice is along with you. Apps for music composition are especially beneficial during those inevitable moments of inspiration that occur in the car, in a dream, while walking down the school’s hallways, or while waiting in line someplace.
All you have to do is pull out your smartphone or tablet, hum or whistle your riff into the device’s microphone, and your next musical masterpiece is waiting to be developed when you have a little more time. Get those creative juices flowing, and we invite you to share your prized composition(s) with the StringOvation community.