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How apps are revolutionising music

Iain Gillespie (via SMH) | June 27, 2013
Music apps are revolutionising the way music is made and challenging the very definition of music itself.

He admits he wouldn't recognise a mobile music app if it jumped out of a tree and screamed at him.

''I don't use any developments in technology,'' he says. ''I'm not against them, it's just that I'm an idiot and I don't know how to use any of them.

''Still, there have been massive and significant changes in the way people create music. You can do it literally in your bedroom, and people can make what used to cost $100,000 for just a few dollars.

''I saw a friend of mine only two weeks ago sitting on an aeroplane, wearing headphones and mixing his latest album during the flight.''

Reyne believes the older generation of successful music-makers is not threatened by the latest mobile wizardry.

''You're only limited by your imagination, and you can soon tell the men from the boys in any area of music,'' he says. ''A gifted musician is always going to come through - doesn't matter what they're using, whether they're banging on a stick or a rock or using the most advanced mobile technology. If you are a Mozart, you're going to come through.''

Another Melbourne musician, Brett Goldsmith, is much less resistant to using music apps. He has his own recording studio, has produced records for Olivia Newton-John and has successfully released his own album, Ordinary Life.

''Having had a good look at what you can do in terms of recording if you only had an iPhone or iPad, there seems to be some really good things out there,'' Goldsmith says. ''I think I might put myself to the challenge and do it myself.

''A lot of people use these apps like DJs. They layer one pre-recorded track on to another, add traditional studio effects like flanging or chorus or echo, then upload their masterpiece on to SoundCloud and share it with the world.

''Another group is more interested in getting an organ sound, a piano sound, a drumbeat or a keyboard-based guitar and then maybe singing on top of it, but they're not actually players themselves. They can plug a MIDI keyboard into an iPhone and source every sound sample in the world to tinker around with.''

Goldsmith says vocals or real piano sounds can be recorded at a high-level bandwidth using a microphone into an iPhone and then mixing them across 24 tracks. ''You probably could make a professional record, if put to the test,'' he says.

''Hypothetically, it would sound as good as the studio I'm sitting in now, but the real challenge would be the extra time and difficulty involved in playing a keyboard and mixing tracks on a small screen like an iPhone's, or even on an iPad.''


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