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It's Music Time!
One of the most popular types of app for any mobile platform is one that allows you to make a noise. While some people are content with lightsaber apps, many more enjoy the experience of being able to make music with their phones, either by learning music notation, tuning their instrument or playing a virtual piano, guitar or sequencer.
And if you can't play, you can listen!
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There are many Android apps available that are ideal for experienced pianists, budding pianists and anyone who wants to enjoy a virtual keyboard on their mobile device. Some of these apps feature trainers to help you to learn how to play this popular instrument, and with a multi-touch enabled phone you can get great results!
Many guitar based apps are available on Android, but of particular interest are those that allow you to find and view guitar tab. Tab, or “tablature” is the guitar-based music notation system that features a six-line staff representing the strings and numbers representing the fret where the strings should be held. It is a lot easier to read than standard notation – particularly for beginners – and there are many websites providing tunes in this format. Guitar tab is a great way to learn the instrument!
The power of mobile phones is considerable, and perfect for producing excellent results that musicians can use. If you have any doubt about this, check out the MicDroid app, which will auto-tune your voice. That’s a powerful app that will give your voice a robotic quality, among other enhancements.
If you thought that vocal enhancements on your mobile phone was the best it could get, think again – Android users are lucky enough to have the ULoops sequencer app, which ties in with the FruityLoops website to provide you with endless loops and samples for creating new beats on your phone in minutes.
More sequencer software is available for Android users in the shape of Sonorox, a basic tool that nevertheless provides excellent results. Inspired by the Yamaha Tenori-on, the Sonorox user interface is fiendishly simple, and you’ll be creating great beats within seconds of loading it up.
One of the most widely used formats for electronic music is MIDI, a useful data set that instructs MIDI-capable devices to play specific notes in a specific order. Various MIDI apps are available for Android, and these can be used in much the same way as the sequencer apps you may have seen above.
If any of these apps have piqued your interest in creating music on your phone and you’ve just realized that your existing musical ability isn’t that great, a wide selection of apps for learning music are available, teaching guitar, piano scales and standard notation.
Believe it or not, Napster lives! The name of one of file sharing's most notorious services lives on in this completely legal new service which offers a massive 11 million track library of music from which your favorite songs can be purchased and downloaded to your phone. The app is free, easy to use and offers MP3 streaming to your Android phone!
Another blast from the past is Winamp, once the favorite free-to-use MP3 player on Windows. Now available in various forms (including a desktop app) Winamp can be found on Android and is among the better third-party music players. Highly usable and featuring some interesting extended options (such as searching for songs from your library on YouTube) this is a music app that you shouldn't miss.
Media syncing is something that most Android users dream of, and get slightly irate about when they see the ease with which iPhone and Windows Phone users can transfer music, videos and photos from phone to PC and back again. This is all set to end with DoubleTwist, however, a smashing phone and computer-based app that effortlessly manages data synchronization between your Android and desktop computer.
Among all of these top media player options for Android, let us not forget Google Music, the new service which brings cloud music storage to Android phones. In an iCloud-baiting move, Google Music allows users to stream MP3s from a new cloud of music to their PCs or mobile phones. Currently in beta, the mobile player is improving, and this is certainly a service that you should be trying out. As it is in beta, however, you will have to wait for an invitation...
There are of course many other applications that don't offer music-creation tools, but instead prefer to let you enjoy the fruits of someone else's creativity. For instance, the Pandora app for Android will play you a great selection of new music based on tunes that you have enjoyed in the past, while Shazam is slightly different in that it helps you to identify music that is currently playing in the store or bar that you're in.
If you're a real lover of music, however, none of the above suggestions for a media player will suffice. What you will be looking for is an MP3 (or preferably a lossless format) that offers a multi-channel equalizer, delivering considerable control over the audio output of your phone so that you can enjoy the songs in your music library at their very best.
- Image credits: Android Market, https://market.android.com/