Musicians and Tourists: Music and Travel Apps for the Studio and the Highway, Pt. 1

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Many of you were on the road on July 4, and you either drove to other states to see family, vacation sights, or to get away by yourself to a secluded place where you could enjoy the celebration of American independence. Others spent the day at music concerts, or traveled on the road to perform the next music gig that was sure to net them some income to put food on the table. Regardless of what it is you did to celebrate the day, you will need the following music applications in the future:


  • Retro Recorder
  • Oblique Strategies
  • BPM
  • SPL Meter
  • IStroboSoft


You will need the following trip applications as well:


  • ITravel
  • Motion X GPS
  • Appigo’s To Do
  • Urbanspoon
  • Fotopedia-Expedia Hotel Bookings Apps


Retro Recorder is an iPhone application that removes the sound distortion present in recordings. The application also works well for interviews, so you may want to use it for those if you are a musician who is considering hiring people to join your band. The application has two faults, however: 1) it does not have a pause button present and 2) allows new recordings to override your previous ones. This means that your stellar recording that would make your next big hit may not be present anymore if you use this app. The app only costs $0.99 but provides a stellar recording sound at an inexpensive price.


Oblique Strategies is a free application produced by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt that was designed to provide “strategies” and ideas for aspiring songwriters who cannot seem to get over their terrible case of  “writer’s block” from time to time. This occurs in the life of every songwriter. As a former music major in college and someone with a former songwriting hobby, I understand what writer’s block is like: sometimes, you are on the top of the world with a new song idea. At other times, you simply do not know where to go. If you find yourself in this situation rather frequently, this free app will “free” (pun intended) your mind.


“BPM” is an acronym that musicians recognize as “beats per minute”; the app “BPM” does the same thing as its name suggests—it calculates the number of beats per minute, or the rhythmic speed, a song possesses. A free application by CHEEBOW, the BPM app stands out in that it allows you to calculate the rhythmic speed of a song that is not planted within your iPhone’s database. When you tap the screen of the BPM app, it will tell you how many beats per minute the song is going—even though the song is not contained within the iDevice. You can call this the “smart” BPM!


The SPL Meter is Studio Six Digital’s professional successor to the SPL application. The SPL Meter comes with functions such as “speed,” “octave,” “calibration,” “low” and “high range,” and so on. The goal of the SPL Meter is to reduce the sound of your tracks so that you do not blow out your ears or cause yourself to go deaf over time. The ear can only sustain noise at a certain capacity; beyond that, high decibels are a health risk. This app will help musicians continue to write songs with great sound, all while understanding the significance of keeping the ears from growing deaf. You can get this useful app for just $0.99.


IStroboSoft, costing $9.99, is a tuning app that helps you tune your notes to perfection before playing them. If your “E natural” is off by the slightest margin, the iStroboSoft will provide a “flat” (b) or “sharp” (#) symbol by which to indicate it. The key to tuning notes on an instrument (guitar, keyboard, harmonica, other instruments) is to learn when a note is sharp or flat and adjust accordingly. If a note is sharp, you should “tune down” a whole step or half step; if a note is flat, you should raise the tuned note either a half step or whole step. This application (though expensive) will provide what you need to become a more professional musician.

These are the music apps of the week that any musician should have on their iPhone. If you want to read about travel apps, stay tuned for the next iPhone 3GS jailbreak post.

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