6 Mobile Apps for Songwriting On-The-Go

21 Nov

 

Last week, we established that much of the inspiration for great songwriting will hit you when you least expect it. Fortunately, we also explored several different ways to capture those moments of random inspiration so that no golden moment gets forgotten.

But writing on-the-go doesn’t need to be limited to making sure you remember bits and pieces of a song, be it a lyric, song title or melody. With the capabilities of today’s smartphone apps, songwriters have the ability to write a song from start to finish in the wild. The following are six apps covering all of the important bases for songwriters. Unfortunately, not all apps are available for both the iOS (iPhone/ iPad) and Android smartphone platforms, so I’ve added in some bonus apps as well to make sure everyone with a smartphone can benefit:


1. Soundcloud (iPhone/ iPad/ Android)


The Soundcloud app is a very simple and intuitive way to create audio recordings that are automatically saved to your Soundcloud account online. You will be required to have a Soundcloud account, though the account is free. Even if you have no interest in sharing demo quality recording of your music by posting your music publicly to their network, a Soundcloud account can be set to private, acting essentially as free cloud storage for your recordings!


2. FourTrack (iPhone/ ‘StudioTrack’ for iPad)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKITWfS41zw&feature=player_embedded#!

FourTrack is an incredibly powerful app that acts as a fully-functional four track recorder right from your phone. The app boasts an large suite of functions, including multitrack recording (4 tracks plus bounce), input monitoring, calibrated meters and faders, master FX and EQ, file import and sharing and of course, the best part off all is that this app can record at true 16 bit, 44.1 kHz (CD Quality).

Bonus: FourTrack is only available on the iPhone and iPad, but don’t fret! I’ve found an app for all of you Android lovers called Four Tracks Pro, which features less functions than FourTrack, but still works great for on-the-go recordings!


3. Nanostudio (iPhone/ iPad)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Stcf_8H_qVM&feature=player_embedded#!

Similar to FourTrack, Nanostudio is a fully functioning recording studio in a single app. The main difference here though is that Nanostudio caters more to electronic-focused songwriters and composers, with virtual analogue synths, sample trigger pads, a comprehensive sequencer, a sample editor, a mixer and multiple effects.

Bonus: As with FourTrack, Nanostudio is only available for iOS (iPhone and iPad), so I’ve gone ahead and found a suitable alternative for Android. There is a dev team called Niko Twenty who have published all of the same functions of NanoStudio, except their spread across several apps – instead of all being under one roof. This makes it slightly more of a pain to work with, but ultimately it works!


4. Evernote (iPhone/ iPad/ Android)


Evernote is a note-taking app that automatically syncs to your desktop. This app wasn’t designed with songwriters and musicians in mind, so it lacks music-specific functionality, but it’s core function as a ‘note taker in the cloud’ is perfect for all of you songwriters and lyricists with day-jobs and/ or lives. Notes can be written or recorded as an audio recording.


5. Songwriter’s Pad (iPhone/ iPad/ Android)


Songwriter’s Pad is quite like Evernote in that it should be a smartphone or tablet-wielding songwriter’s best friend. However, there are two major differences from everyone: Songwriter’s Pad was designed from the bottom up for musicians and songwriters, so it’s geared to the needs of a working or traveling songwriter. The other major difference is that unlike Evernote, this app does not act in the cloud, however it does allow you to export and email your work. The lack of cloud functionality is bit of a disappointment, but I’m certain that the variety of functions this app does have are more than worth the extra effort:

  • Create and edit songs by section (i.e. verse, chorus, bridge)
  • Re-order sections of a song (i.e. swap positions of verse 1 and verse 2)
  • Create ‘Extra’ sections within a song to keep ideas and edits
  • Change font style and size
  • Export lyrics .txt files via e-mail
  • Each new release will include additions to our word, phrase and rhyme database.

6. Gibson Learn and Master Guitar App (iPhone/ iPad/ Android)


Plain and simple, this app is a must-have for any songwriter who plays guitar. The Gibson app has the three most important basic functions that any guitar playing songwriter would need: a high-quality tuner, metronome and huge chord bank, so that no matter where you are, you can be sure that the song you are working on – and possibly recording with one of the apps listed above! – is done properly and accurately. Oh, and a big bonus, this app also features an array of free lessons straight from Gibson.


 

How do you write music on-the-go?

These apps are great for any songwriter who is looking to write while on the move, but there are literally hundreds of options available to you. List some of the apps you use to write songs on-to-go in the form of a comment below!

29 Responses to “6 Mobile Apps for Songwriting On-The-Go”

  1. Gruehle November 27, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention Garage band which is now available on the iPhone as well.

    • Jon Ostrow November 28, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

      I was going to mention Garageband as well but many of the apps on the list do what Garageband does just as well, possibly even better. Not putting down Garageband as it is a fantastic app… either way thanks for the suggestion – it’s definitely a great addition to the list.

      Jon

  2. Abba December 21, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    2nd garageband 

  3. Lorenzo D. Policelli February 1, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    For the cloud aspect, Google Docs works well too and can easily be shared with a collaborator for lyrics…

  4. Grimm560 April 23, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    I use either Documents-To-Go, the iOS notepad & voice memo apps, Music Studio, BeatMaker, Good Reader (has a text function), or SpringPad. Garage Band is fine for creating instrumental tracks but the vocal recording quality is horrible to me, the voice memo app has better sound. One I want to try is the FL Studio iOS app. 

    Also, a really awesome app for iOS users is the social app PingMe. The app’s audio quality is truly incredible! When you create an audio clip, it sounds as if you’re right next the person speaking! When I say crystal clear, I mean it. I’ve had singers position their iOS device and then sing into the app, then I take that same recording and dump it into my DAW software. I would run a custom 4band compressor over the vocals, and in seconds I have an extremely clean clip, on key, and on beat, from an artist that lives in Cananda and I’m in Jersey. haha! 

    • Max Loh May 9, 2013 at 9:45 am #

      How is that even possible with such a crappy mic? I’ve always heard that “fixing it in the mix” is mythology; you can’t transform an iPhone recording into studio quality? Can you please explain more

      • LieauTheDemonLion May 7, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

        It is definitely possible. Lzzy Hale of Halestorm wrote and recorded “Break In” on her iPhone. It was later remastered in the studio. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find that version of the song.

  5. Evan Hodge July 11, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    Is there any point in making something about music clear? You need your head, a pencil, and paper. http://www.reality – no server required.

    • Chloe June 9, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

      hey, its great that thats what works for you and you know that, truely. But different people work in different ways and music is no place for snobbery. Of any kind.

    • rowan July 26, 2014 at 10:25 am #

      That’s great, if you want to carry a notebook, a pen, and staff paper everywhere you go. For some people that just isn’t practical. And it’s a given- the best ideas will come to you when your paper is out of reach.

  6. Prince of Android December 6, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    Sweet 16s social songwriting app!!!
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.redlagoon.sweetsixteenz

  7. Solomon Reese December 6, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    Songtrust, check out Sweet 16s songwriting app.  Dope everyday app whether on the go or at the studio! #lyricstogo

  8. Haleyjones January 1, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

    im doing evernote

  9. Douglas McGee January 11, 2013 at 12:58 am #

    I also use Evernote. I love that I can record audio clips right into the document. It works great for sketching out an idea. I’ve recently started using the app RhythmZone as a great rhyming dictionary and thesaurus. 

    On the hardware side, I often use an ipad with an apple bluetooth keyboard. I find a physical keyboard works much better for me while songwriting than the on screen touch keyboard. 

    If I’m on the go and inspiration strikes me, I’ll grab whatever I can to get the magic down. I’ll use my iphone with the on board app, or Evernote, or even just plain old pencil and paper. 

  10. Bljohnson1955 January 25, 2013 at 10:39 pm #

    Stymied…this phone’s hundreds of times more powerful than all NASA’s hardware combined..(I know,I worked on the Shuttle program)..BUT I cannot obtain a program that will help me transfer.my 550+origional songs, back room recorded since 1971 on cassettes over to cd an let me clean ‘em up an edit out all the…’…”Awww shit’s”.. and all the ” who put that $$&?/x cord over here under my bare feet”?..an the always popular question..”hey..anyone seen Pidgy”?. (..don’t ask.,).
    I REALLY DESPERATELY do need help here asap. I’m disabled/fadin an have 2 beautiful kids that already got horribly shorted when I snapped my neck. A few of these songs are good..an they’re all I have to leave behind.

    • Andre November 3, 2013 at 2:19 am #

      Hey, did you find a solution?

    • Brian August 27, 2014 at 9:20 am #

      Can you run a direct output line into a PC and use audacity to record from cassette player headphone out to mic in?

  11. Bryan August 16, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    I use songwriterplus.com to write song lyrics. Its on the web so I use it on my phone and desktop. It has some pretty neat tools for rhyming, recording, and sharing. It has other stuff but those are the only ones I use. Just though I would share.

  12. Romane September 7, 2013 at 6:34 am #

    Surprised you suggested Evernote didn’t think of that, the other apps are useful but i use an app called Song Box Lyric Writer, its quite easy to use for when I want to quickly want to start writing. Got fed up of writing in iNotes and then switching to music player all the time. It has both a media player and a Song writing pad. You would find it useful too.

    http://www.songboxapp.com/

  13. PitchanApp September 17, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    We use Evernote in the office a lot but I’ve never thought about using it for songwriting.
    People have been using our latest app: DuoVid for song writing and music collaborations.

  14. Jeromy October 6, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    try writing song lyrics in JotterPad X. I used it for 3 days and I really like it! And plus, its free! I seem to be more creative while using JotterPad. :D

    http://2appstudio.com/jotterpadx/

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jotterpad.x&hl=en

  15. Luke November 14, 2013 at 3:48 am #

    Songboard is an iPhone app that allows users to keep track of their songs tempo, timing, key and can add unlimited text and audio notes. You can also track the progress of your song (writing, recording, mixing, mastering). http://www.songboard-app.com

  16. anna July 26, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    I find evernote too bloated with features, many of which I don’t need for songwriting– it’s great as a desktop application but a bit cumbersome on my phone.

  17. nate medeiros July 29, 2014 at 10:49 pm #

    Hey guys I’ve been writing acouple of songs in the past years and they come to me randomly but they are mainly about these girls I’m dating and how I describe them maybe one of you guys can team up with me and we can create a killer song idk i like to experiment but I’d need a good app cuz right now I’m using my keyboard a notebook and a pencil

  18. 909GNB October 30, 2014 at 11:41 pm #

    The newest app on the android market is guitar notebook, great for on the go adding lyrics , frets and play feature .

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