Dancing at parties or clubs can be a terrifying prospect if you don’t have any training in (rhythmically) moving your body to music. And enrolling in classes to learn isn’t much less frightening. But even if you have two left feet, there’s a dancer lurking somewhere beneath your skin — and an app may be just the ticket to get you over enough of the embarrassment to shake your thing in front of other people or check out proper classes. These eight apps are sure to get you grooving, grinding, and gliding to the beat — or at least flailing a little less.
It's a good year to be a music lover. Earlier this year Apple gave us iTunes Radio as a worthy alternative to popular services like Pandora and Spotify, and today Google finally released its native Google Play Music app for iOS. Whereas Apple's design for iTunes Radio seems to mimic Pandora, Google Play takes a tack that's more reminiscent of Spotify, but with the welcome option to add all the music files from your computer and play them in the Cloud.
Cosmetically, GarageBand 2.0 doesn’t look very different than the previous version, though there are some slight visual tweaks to bring the overall aesthetic in line with the rest of the flattened-down look of iOS 7. Perhaps the single most important functional change is that you can now create compositions with up to 16 tracks on all supported devices running with pre-A7 processors – double the amount allowed before – and up to 32 tracks on the newest A7-equipped iPhones and iPads.
Portable speakers are known for being portable first, and sounding great...well, almost never. Bose is aiming to change that perception with the SoundLink Mini, a diminutive 1.5-pound speaker that connects to any device via Bluetooth. With seven hours of playback on a single charge, and surprisingly good bass, the SoundLink Mini is an itty-bitty powerhouse, whether it’s on your desk or hanging out in the backyard.
It sure is something to realize how much power is in your iPad, especially if you’re a musician pining for classic analog synthesizers — heavy, expensive, temperamental instruments that are increasingly hard to find, and even harder to maintain. Arturia, creator of the Minimoog simulation app, iMini, has done it again, delivering an exquisite simulation of the venerable Oberheim SEM (Synthesizer Expander Module), that company’s very first synth. In many ways, iSEM is an improvement upon the hardware it models, starting with the fact that it’s polyphonic.
Virtual ANS is a happy aural mutation unlike anything else on your iPhone or iPad. While it bears a resemblance to the longtime Mac-only wonder MetaSynth, it’s a lot easier to fall into from left field, not to mention much less expensive. The app is a software recreation of an extremely rare Russian synthesizer (of which only one remains in existence) that used light and optics as the foundation of its synthesis engine. Time is plotted from left to right, pitch is mapped vertically, and onto this grid you'll use a variety of basic drawing tools to "paint sound," essentially.
There are few instruments as versatile and adaptable as the piano. From the classic compositions of hundreds of years ago to contemporary hits, the piano is capable of contributing to nearly any piece of music. However, the instrument can be a bit intimidating to approach, thanks to the eighty-eight unique keys spread across it. Luckily, it doesn't have to feel that way. With the help of the eight apps we've rounded up, those interested in learning piano can feel right at home running their fingers up and down the ivories. Maybe one day you'll be the one composing music that encourages people to take up the instrument.
Most guitar slingers tend to pick up the instrument and start emulating their favorite musicians, learning how to play by example and sheer brute effort. While this approach is valid, it tends to lead axe-wielders towards certain chord shapes, and limit the kind of music that emerges from the fingers doing the comfortable trip up and down the neck. Jamn is an innovative app that brings some much-needed musical theory to the fretboard, helping to figure out how chords connect with each other and thus lead the way to a more substantial range of musical possibilities.
Remember on Mad Men when Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce opened up shop, and Roger Sterling's office got the mod makeover? If AirPlay and iPhones were around in the 1960s, Wren's V5AP would have no doubt scored a spot right next to the vodka. But this speaker dock isn't just pretty; it's got the goods, whether you're listening to Sinatra or Daft Punk.
Over the last week, my work experience has been a much happier place. I’ve listened to my favorite artists and discovered new favorites. The secret to this happiness is Muse, a fantastic little $5 app that does one job—stream Pandora radio stations—extremely well.