Recently I've been preparing to move home and finally did last weekend. Naturally I had to pack up all my musical gear, equipment and of course, my Mac. In the week leading up to the move, I've had my iPhone and nothing else. With no creative outlet and the pressure of looming project deadlines, I found myself scouting the app store for a fix to help me start fleshing out a few creative ideas.
This is what I found that worked well for me.
1. TonePad and TonePad Pro
The iTunes Store describes TonePad Pro as "...the easiest way to make music. Discover the inner musician in you. Create songs by simply touching." And this is exactly what I found. With a 16 x 16 matrix, and an easy-to-use user interface (literally start tapping your fingers and music is made), I found myself coming up with little melodies and tunes immediately. Although you only have the 16 x 16 matrix, to me, what initially seemed quite limiting soon became a boundary for creative focus.
You can save an unlimited number of tunes to listen back to, and upload them to a shared server where your buddies can check out what you've been musing. With the paid version, you can save your melodies into a ringtone that will sync back to your iPhone, too.
Flourish is something a bit more immersive. While having a steeper learning curve, there's loads more to explore here. The user interface is really fresh and unique (especially for the iPhone), and presents a creative challenge in focusing your composition whilst giving you the space to try different approaches to what you are creating.
Basically Flourish represents musical phrases as physical loops:
-Record loops with expressive multi-touch keyboards.
-Generate percussive and melodic sequences.
-Build arrangements by ear or by eye.
-Select from a consonant collection of instruments.
-Sequence loops by connecting them in chain.
Check out the Flourish website for a few demo clips.
Let us know in the comments below what other apps for the iPhone / iPod Touch, or the Mac, that are inspiring you to make music.