Songwriter’s Pad iPad App Review
I love songwriting. It has the power and ability to make great men cry and to make little girls invincible. It allows people to dream, dreams and live in worlds far away.
The pen and paper has been my trusted “go to” for many years. I have piles of paper and files with little scribbles. Some legible and many others appearing more like hieroglyphics. My phone is almost full of audio snippets of ideas, s. Some of them in a tiny little whisper so not to seem too crazy to the passers by as I walk down the street.
I’ve heard that creativity breeds in chaos, but my organisation of my scribbles and little voice notes started to verge on out right anarchy. So my search for a bit of technology to lend me a hand began.
Songwriter’s Pad is an iPad app that I’ve started using and this is a review of my experience with it.
The first thing you will notice when launching the app is the interface has the new IOS 8 feel to it: p. Predominantly white background with blue text for menus and icons. I like the spaced out layout. I and it doesn’t feel cluttered.
The Songs menu gives you the list of your songs and is also the place where you can organise folders and add new songs. The edit functionality does take a little getting used to. You can duplicate a song from here as well but I would have liked it to be a little more accessible to quickly create new versions of a song.
Blocks allow you to add different writable sections of a song like verse, chorus, and bridge. There is also a freestyle block if you don’t want to be bound to the separate writing blocks. Once you start a song in freestyle mode you are fixed in that mode and can’t use any of the other blocks.
Words, phrases, rhymes, dictionary, and thesaurus are available under the Ideas menu. Words and phrases can be a great way to help you with a little inspiration if you are stuck. There are 9 different emotions listed. Tapping on a specific emotion will randomly select a word or phrase related to it. You can then add these to a words and phrases bucket on the side of the screen.
Adding chords is done through a copy and paste process. The chords appear in square brackets amongst your lyrics. I did find this to be rather tedious and time consuming. It’s almost easier to just type the chords in yourself.
You can edit the song’s meta data like the author, publisher, BPM. There is only space for one co-author so I suppose you would have to add a comma to separate more co-authors.
The audio recordings functions are basic, but it does what it needs to, including being able to have multiple takes for a song. There’s a function to play a backing track when you record but I found the functionality to control the playback of the track somewhat limiting.
There are also versions of the Songwriter’s Pad for iPhone, Windows PC, and mac. The functionality varies slightly between these versions. You are able to sync the songs and audio between them which is handy should you have an idea on your iPhone that you want to work with on your iPad. You do however have to specify whether to upload or download the song. This means you need to remember which device has the latest version. As you use the Songwriter’s Pad servers to sync the songs there is and additional charge if you exceed 50MB of bandwidth.
• Simple, uncluttered interface
• Words and phrases ideas
• Sync between devices
• Usability issues for some functions
• Lack of song history tracking
• No sync automation
There are a couple of usability issues but not ones that I would say are a deal breakers. I would however have liked to see some sort of history tracking which would allow me to see different versions of a song at different points in time. This is something that Tunesmith does quite well.
While the syncing is a nice feature you can burn through your free allowance quite quickly so you may need to consider an additional cost, which ranges from £0.69 to £13.99 per month.
Overall, if you are looking for a decent basic songwriting iPad app, I would recommend this app. At a price point (without the sync allowance) of $9.99 / £6.99 it is good value and is well within the reach of any songwriter.
The iPhone version which is quite similar to the iPad version is available for $5.99 / £3.99.
The desktop version is available for $67 but Ii consider it to be rather overpriced as it seems to have slightly less functionality than the iPad version and an older looking interface as well.
iPad version 3.5 stars
Tunesmith (with Rhyme Genie), $24.95 (desktop only). http://www.rhymegenie.com/
Master Writer, $9.95 monthly / $99.95 yearly subscription. http://www.masterwriter.com/
• Caylam is a songwriter, vocalist and nomadic nut.
• He loves pop and is proud of it.
• Born in South African and supposedly living somewhere in London.
• Loves to just be himself.
Caylam Castle is a vocalist and songwriter, who loves pop and is proud of it. Caylam was born in South Africa but now lives in London, and is normally found wearing his trusty skinny stripped jeans. You can learn more of his work at his website below. www.caylamcastle.com
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