iOS Apps For Composers
Composers are finding more and more ways to integrate iOS devices into their lives. There are some great hidden gems for composers in the App Store. This AppList will showcase some of the best apps for composers with iPhones or iPads.
SymphonyPro is the first real option for composers to write music on their iPads. The app is like a Finale or Sibelius for the iPad. The app will let you import MIDI, ABC, or a Symphony file to continue work on it. The app includes a built in 88-key keyboard for fast note entry. SymphonyPro currently supports up to six tracks with four voices per composition. The app will play back your composition to give you an idea of what it sounds like. If you need to add text, the app supports that too. The app was just released in January of 2011, so it is still very new. The version 1.0 of the app offers some great features and currently is the only good app that lets you compose music on your iPad.
Symphony is the iPhone version of SymphonyPro. The app includes many of the same features as the bigger brother, but is optimized for the iPhone’s smaller screen. If you need to write music on your iPhone, then this is the best option.
NumPad - Wireless Numeric Keypad
NumPad is an iPhone app that helps any composer using Sibelius or Finale. The app includes a custom keypad to easily adjust the quick entry selection. The iPhone becomes your new way to change between a flat, sharp, or natural sign. The app can also help you quickly switch between beat durations. NumPad is pretty simple, but it can help you get around Sibelius or Finale with ease.
AirDisplay lets you use your iPad to help you while you work in Finale or Sibelius. The app turns your iPad into a wireless/touchscreen display. The app will run on your iPhone, but the larger screen really makes it useful on the iPad. If you are running Finale or Sibelius, having all of your toolbars and panels on your iPad is simply great. The touchscreen allows you to simply tap an icon to select. AirDisplay is another app that can help you as a composer be more effective while you work.
Sibelius Essentials 1
Sibelius Essentials is an iPhone app that helps you understand how to use Sibelius. The app features tons of different instructional videos about the popular music notation app. The app is pretty simple. Sibelius Essentials is wonderful for the newbies trying to learn Sibelius.
A nice alternative app to Symphony is iComposer. The app is a bit trickier to use, but offers some nice features. The app lets you compose into multiple staves and allows export and import of the popular MusicXML file type. The app can also transcribe what you are humming. That feature alone makes it a great one to have on the go. The app is pretty limited, but it's great for what it does.
PianistPro is great for two reasons. The app provides a wonderful way to flesh out musical ideas, which can be done by playing on the keyboard. The app is also fantastic for those needing a MIDI keyboard for Finale or Sibelius. PianistPro supports wireless MIDI output to desktop apps. The interaction between the iPad and your Mac or Windows machine is seamless. The combination of the iPad and MacBook Air is now a truly mobile setup for composers. It is amazing that the iPad has now replaced some very expensive MIDI keyboards with a $9.99 app. Composers looking for a MIDI keyboard app should grab this one.
MusicStudio is an app that lets you play to create music. Instead of composing in the traditional manner, you simply perform and record. The app features a multitrack editor and full MIDI support. The app allows you to actually hook up an external MIDI keyboard to your iPad through the Camera Connection Kit! The app recognizes all of the keys played on the external keyboard and lets you record your performances. The app includes 40 free instruments and has an additional 50 available for purchase. The app is loaded to the brim with features and is a no brainer for composers.