Tuesday, May 14, 2013

iOS Arranger

Previous to my last post I've been thinking.
Why hasn't the iPad got an app that emulates the workings of an arranger keyboard? What I mean by that is an app that consists of musical styles, a sound bank and a sequencer. With Chordbot and Yamaha MMS you have the basic setup but there isn't a complete app that works in the same way as an arranger keyboard.
You may well ask yourself why we would need such an app with so many good music apps with different capabilities, not to mention Audiobus to bolt the majority of them together. After all, arranger keyboards are a bit of a niche market, they're for people who "don't really play" right? To answer that last point I usually respond "who does really play?". I for one used to play a lot but my sequencing is about 90% of my music making. And a niche market? Well maybe, sort of, but just look at the videos on YouTube and you'll find all sorts of people from all over the world using arranger keyboards.
The reason they sound a bit duff sometimes no matter the technology inside is that songs are arranged and songbooks are shared over the net so there always seem to be more players than writers where the output is concerned. Having said that the online community is vast so they're doing something right.
The one thing that these keyboards have onboard is a style editor. This is where you can get creative. It's what's needed inside the iOS app along with the above mentioned attributes that would make a difference. Styles like most other types of musical inspiration are just a starting point. They're there to get you going in the right direction with the right feel, it's down to you to make the changes that make your composition unique.
I imagine that the reason the big names haven't dipped their toes into the iOS arranger pool is one of price. They'd find it difficult to shift many £500+ music apps and they're not about to undercut themselves in the hardware market. That just leaves individuals or groups of devs to come up with the goods. There's a hole in the market and someone could make a killing if they had the inclination. It'd be a big task but with the software side in place the iOS music community could provide the content. I for one would support that.
The big question is will it happen? I think it will but I couldn't give you a timeframe. My hope is that as fast as iOS music has plugged so many gaps thus far that the day of an arranger app can't be too far away.
I'm looking forward to the future.

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