Apps & Mobile

The Week’s Top Music Apps: Beethoven, Soundboards, Seaquence & More

Beethoven_mediumGuest post by Wren Leader and Knar Bedian of

Between Google’s Moog-inspired playable doodle (Moogle?) and our editor’s nomination for MTV’s NILF award, it’s safe to say it’s been an exciting week for the music nerds at  In other, less-nerdy music news, American Idol just finished up its eleventh season. I don’t know about you, but I had almost forgotten about that show; apparently it has yet to run its course.

As we prepare for the summer, we’ve been busy looking for apps that can keep you entertained during those hot, lazy summer days. This week brings two colorful music-composition apps for making music without really trying, a new music trivia app for Android, and much more. This could very well be the only time you will ever see Beethoven and dubstep mentioned in the same article.

The Week in Reviews

  • Venerable Tivoli Audio Joins Music App Revolution via Bluetooth
  • Sonos SUB Adds Low-End Bass to App-Friendly Music System
  • The Hellfest App Is Brutal, As It Should Be
  • Rdio Wants To Pay Artists for Turning Fans into Subscribers

Apple iOS

Esonar2-156x238eSonar Pro ($1)

With over 200 sounds and a clean, colorful interface, the aptly-named eSonar Pro music composition app has much to offer. Six colored circles produce a certain type of sound (bass, synth, drums, etc.), while their location on the sonic map affects the note’s tone and the overall rhythm of the piece. Multipliers make it easy to clone sounds symmetrically, maintaining rhythm and tone, and the speed of the sonar can be changed by altering the BPM. By saving certain compositions on one of the ten “racks” you can create separate layers that can later be combined into one piece.

Zion Sound DJ (free)

The idea of dubbing samples on top of songs on your iOS device might sound interesting at first, but the free sample sounds available on the Zion Sound DJ app seemed a bit childish. While you can purchase additional “premium” sound samplers, this free app will likely disappoint anyone looking for an extensive DJ app.

Dubstep Soundboard ($7)

Dubstep is taking the world by storm — really. Performers like Skrillex and Rusko sell out big venues left and right. Now, it’s time for you to join in the bass dropping action. iPlayTones has released the Dubstep Soundboard, a user-friendly iPad app that is filled to the brim with synths, bass and effects to suit your deranged d-step desires. With an easy-to-use interface and seemingly-unlimited variations, it will appeal to people who want to make dubstep without a complicated mixer. For those not so crazy about dubstep, developer iPlayTones offers other options such as Bollywood Soundboard.

Ananda2-313x208Ananda Sukarlan ($3)

World-renowned pianist and composer Ananda Sukarlan hashis very own iPhone app, released through the developer PT Enervolution. Like thousands of other artist apps, this one includes selections of Sukarlan’s compositions and the usual pictures and videos, in this case of his work being performed. Why do we mention this one? Because his music is quite captivating and brilliantly played. Another thing that sets it apart is that it comes with sheet music allowing other musicians to play his music.

Beethoven String Trios ($2)

For beginning classical music fans, this little app provides a good stepping-stone into the world of Beethoven. Dreampocket compiled all of Beethoven’s String Trios into one collection into an app that’s not fancy — all you get is the music and a biography on the composer. In this one, Beethoven’s music is beautifully and truthfully interpreted with no surprises — perfect for someone who is hearing these pieces for the first time. We’d prefer if there were more information about the individual selections, but for a couple bucks, it provides a great introduction to the music of Beethoven. We believe you might have heard of it.

Google Android

Musiclibrary-142x238Music Library (free, $2)

Here’s one for readers with lots of records and CDs — the ones who still frequent record stores, that is. By manually adding albums, scanning barcodes, or importing spreadsheets from Google Docs, Music Library tracks the music you own, in part so you avoid buying duplicates, but also because it’s just nice to know exactly what you have. You can select which “shelf” where each album gets stored, while a wish list and filtering system help remind you what you have — and what you want — should you come across a record store or flea market. The paid version lets you export your Music Library app to Google Docs and eliminates ads.

Songify (free)

Though not a new app on the iPhone, Songify was finally released for Android this past month. For those who missed our coverage of the app, let me summarize: This app mimics the concept behind the Gregory Brothers’ “Auto Tune the News” YouTube series sensation. All you have to do is record an audio clip of yourself saying anything, and the app will auto-tune your recording to one of their hit songs. Various in-app purchases let you add songs like their most famous one, “Bed Intruder.” You can save and share the songs you create.

Guess the Song (free)

Like a musical version of the movie trivia game Scene It?, this lets you choose a genre, to start a mix of song clips requiring you to name the song or artist. The app keeps score and records your average response time, and reports them the end of each round, after which you can choose a new genre. The songs were surprisingly current, and though the app sometimes loaded too slowly, it certainly has potential as a fun game to play with friends this summer.

Web Apps

14tracks-199x23814tracks (free)

This one introduces you to new music through playlists that consist of, you guessed it, 14 tracks. The songs all come from, a music store dedicated to relatively unknown artists and genres. Hovering over a track or its album art brings up a quick blurb about the song and where it fits in to the universe of style. In the center, you’ll find a button to buy the complete playlist. Unfortunately, prices are listed in British currency, and you can only listen to song previews — no full tracks until you plunk down some pounds.

Seaquence (free)

This virtual music composition site mimics biological lifeforms. First, you choose one of five different sound creatures, which will change their shape according to the rhythm, notes, wavelength of the sounds you assign them. Once it’s ready, the creature swims in a “dish,” which plays the final combination of all your sound creatures. Yeah, it’s weird, but it’s fun. Saving and publishing your composition is simple, and the app provides a link so you can share what you have wrought.


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