According to my statistics my 12 Great Android Apps for Musicians article has been my most popular post so far.
Obviously, I can’t know every app that’s out there. But fortunately I have you. I’ve received lots of e-mails as well as suggestions in the comment section of the initial post letting me know about additional useful and cool apps.
First of all, thanks for that. I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know about an app that you’ve found useful – and for the nice compliments about my site in general or a specific post.
Anyways, here are more useful, cool Android apps for musicians.
Play around with the engaging Arpio to create cool-sounding, arpeggiated phrases. The user-interface is intuitive and makes it fun. No need for long explanations – just watch the video below.
But here’s a bonus tip on how else to use Arpio to improve your musicianship. Use the app for ear training.
Simply play the different diatonic arpeggios of the scale and listen to the sound of each scale degree.
You’ll quickly get a feel for the diferrence between e.g. a 1st, 4th or 5th degree of the major scale, even though they all are major chords.
When I was a kid starting out on piano I had this little device that looked like a ruler, that I could stick behind the keys and that would show me which keys to press for each scale.
It really helped me learn my scales.
With Scale Logic you can have such a device with you all the time in form of an app. Best of all, it doesn’t matter what instrument you play since it’s not geared towards a specific instrument.
It helps you to visualize the whole step/half step scale sequence in every key. You can set it up to display the scale in a “number line” fashion or on top of a piano keyboard. Also, you can choose between major, natural minor and harmonic minor scales.
There’s a minor “bug” in how “more exotic” keys like Cb major get presented. Instead of using Fb (which would be the correct spelling) an E note is used. However, the developer Matt Parry is aware of this and will fix it in a future update.
I really like the clear, simple way the Scale Logic app presents the formulae. This is a helpful app that offers a lot to anybody who wants to learn or brush up on their scale knowledge.
Are you tired of schlepping a collection of Fakebooks to your gigs? Then the following 2 apps are for you…
Pickin’ and Grinnin’ Songbook
Unfortunately, this app is incompatible with my old(er) Sony Android device. Fortunately I’ve been able to “comandeer” my girlfriend’s phone to test it out for a short time.
For gigging musicians, especially when they use a tablet, an app like this is a god-send. To have access to your complete song collection with easy access, control over the text size, the ability to transpose the chords on demand, and many more useful features – is priceless.
Best of all, the main functionalities of the app are free.
In-app purchases allow you to add more options like setlists and auto-scroll.
So, for €1.98 you get more than a thousand songs and chord progressions.
And again, like with the “Pickin’ and Grinnin’” app you can search, zoom, and transpose to your heart’s content.
Want (or need) to learn an unfamiliar tune?
There’s a Spotify or YouTube link available for you right there leading to a rendition of the song. A great and educational feature, especially for beginners of the style.
By now you’re probably already sick of me mentioning my older phone with limited internal memory… but what I also value about the Fakebook is the low size of only 2.5 MB.
Considering what you get and what’s included in the app that’s quite astonishing. And the local storage, meaning that there’s no internet connection necessary to access all your songs, is also worth mentioning.
TrackID came pre-installed on my Sony device and I have to say that it’s really useful.
You hear a song on the radio, at a restaurant, in a club and would like to know the title or artist. Simply fire up TrackID and let the app do its magic.
Occassionally you won’t get a result (or TrackID will tell you that it doesn’t recognize the input) but given the myriad of songs out there I’m constantly amazed what’s already possible.
Got a new gig with a band playing West African music?
But what if you don’t have a background in the style? Which CDs to listen to? And what if you don’t have the budget to order a bunch of CDs for your preparations?
Just search for some West African radio stations with the TuneIn app and listen to some authentic music to get the right feel.
Of course, you aren’t limited to West African stations. Target your desired location or find and listen to stations by genre. Think Salsa, Celtic, Flamenco, 70′s, etc…
Additionally there’s Podcasts. Or you can use this for brushing up on long-forgotten language skills. And I’m sure you’ll find other uses for the app as well.
SoundCloud is one of the major players (if not the biggest) in the field of social music platforms. Most likely you’ve already come across the typical SoundCloud player that is used around the web for embedding music tracks.
Heck, I’ve been aware of SoundCloud for years – but have mostly used it on my desktop and never thought about searching for an app version.
Of course there’s one – so if you are a SoundCloud junkie and also like to check out music on the go then make sure to download the app:
BandFriend helps you to find other musicians in your area and connect with them in no time. Are you trying to rally up some band members to form a new band or are you new in town and trying to find people to jam with? Maybe you are just looking for some like minded friends to get started learning an instrument. No matter what you are looking for, BandFriend can help you. Fill out your musicians profile and instantly get access to other local musicians, no matter where you are.
I checked it out and think that it is a very slick app. It is well designed with attention to detail. For instance, when you create your own profile you can add the styles you are into and there’s lots of pre-populated selections already in the system so it’s quick and easy to get a rich, detailed profile up.
Now, I’m not looking for new band members or people to jam with at the moment. But if I did BandFriend would be a good choice.
However, there’s 1 problem – the value of the app does currently also depend on your own location. When I searched for potential band members, there were only 3 people listed in my region – and those were almost 50 miles away.
But that is not the app’s fault at all. It just shows that as with any social network it needs a certain number of users to be really useful.
So, if you like the idea and the future potential then make sure to download the app and create your account. Hey, it’s free and the more people join the better it gets.
Maple MP3 Player
Almost every Android device comes with a native music player. It’s one of the core functionalities.
- But is your player able to change the playback speed without changing the pitch of the track?
- Can your player transpose the track up or down without affecting the speed of the playback?
- What if you want to loop a certain section of the song like just the chorus or the guitar solo?
I’m really excited about this app. This will be extremely useful for teaching.
All those songs where the guitars are tuned to Eb – I can easily transpose them up a semi-tone right in the player. Slow down a difficult section for easier transcribing or for helping a beginner student play-along with a certain section. Loop a song part for continuous practice and refinement.
Best of all, you can even combine all those options.
Transpose an Eb tuned Hendrix song, slow down the track by 25% and have it repeat the solo so you can practice playing to it on your standard-tuning guitar and have a fighting chance.
Music Theory – Chords in Keys
How well do you know your chords?
If I asked you, “What’s the vi chord in the key of F#?” how long would it take you to find the answer?
Knowing all the chords in all the keys is an essential skill to have. And let’s be honest, if you haven’t focused on developing this skill, most likely you are ok with the chords in the keys you usually play.
But in those more “exotic” keys…
How to fix this?
Install the Music Theory – Chords in Keys app.
In essence it’s a flashcard quizz. The app asks you a question like: Name the IV chord in D. Then you answer it in your mind or outloud and click the show answer button. Compare the result then repeat with the next question.
Spend a few minutes per day with it and you’ll know your chord/key relationships inside out in no time.
I’m not even sure if adding any kind of tracking or statistics would improve the app or just add unnecessary bloat. Right now, it’s a simple app – but it is a simple app that works and delivers exactly what it is supposed to do.
This is one of those apps where you think why didn’t I come up with this idea?
Remember those chord encyclopedia books?
You know, “12,875 Chords You Need to Know for Guitar” or something similar? The ones with endless chord diagrams that just left you numb.
Forget them and use the Chord app instead.
Build your own chord symbols and let the app display the possible voicings. You can even listen to the voicing by strumming over the diagram.
The free version will keep you busy for a long time.
The paid version adds more scales, altered tunings and a reverse search where you enter the notes and the app displays the possible chord/scale names.
This app is similar to the Chord app right above it. It was recommended in the comment section. My apologies to everyone who is easily overwhelmed by having to make decisions.
But I think it’s great that there are developers out there who put in a lot of work and effort so that we have those choices.
My advice: test them and then decide which app serves your personal situation better.
Useful and intuitive chord sequencer. Create your chord progressions and song arrangements and let the app play them back.
You can use it for ear training – to learn to recognize standard chord progressions as well as for practicing your improvisations.
I’m still happy with my Slick Metronome that I already showcased, but I’ve received multiple recommendations to check out the Groove Metronome and after looking into it, I totally understand why.
My phone is still running Android 2.3 but I was able to “confiscate” my girlfriend’s compatible Samsung for a test.
The stand-out feature of the Groove Metronome is that you can add a variable swing factor. This can really change the feel of a groove a lot, make it more human and musical as well as enjoyable while practicing.
I’ve put this app on my to-install list for when the time comes to upgrade my phone.
The paid version adds the option to add pre-loaded grooves to any time signature or shuffle feels. The free version only has one groove enabled.
If you’ve used any kind of looping device, you won’t have any troubles working with LoopStack. And if you haven’t, then LoopStack is a great place to start because it’s such an easy and intuitive app.
Record up to 4 tracks in 44KHz 16bit quality. If 4 tracks are not enough you can simply combine your tracks to make room for new recordings.
You can control volume and reverb for each track individually.
Unlock the full version (so the loop does not reset after 5 minutes and enable save/load/export) for €1,49:
The Clave is a cool niche-oriented app that could have a tremendous impact if you are into Latin styles.
Select the type of Clave (2-3 or 3-2) the tempo and the style (Son, Rumba, Afro (6/8) and Bossa Nova) and listen to the correct clave rhythm.
Clap or play along, or just keep it running in the background while doing other tasks for a kind of subliminal programming and watch your rhythmic accuracy skyrocket due to your mastery of this essential (Latin) feel.
A notation software for your phone? Are you kidding? Those were my 1st thoughts.
Ensemble Composer definitely has potential. I just know that for me personally the screen real estate on my phone is way too small to input a longer stream of notes comfortably. So I’d reach for a piece of paper or maybe record myself whistling a melody or talking through my idea.
But on a tablet I could see this work and Ensemble Composer could develop into a viable alternative to other established (and much more expensive) notation software.
Check it out and see if it works for you.
In an online course about music production techniques the instructor (Loudon Stearns from the Berklee College of Music) recommended to have an SPL app installed on your phone. Just so you can develop a feel for those rather abstract dB levels you come across everywhere.
Simply measure the noise level of your environment – wherever you are and observe the reading.
You’ll also be surprised how loud (in dB) your environment is. At least I was, initially.
Depending on your phone the margin of error could be up to 5%. This probably is too much for professional situations where it really counts. But for getting a quick calibration going without having to schlepp a dedicated sound meter device with you, this is as good as it gets. And it’s a nice-looking app, too.
If you are familiar with Reason by Propellerheads then you’ll immediately feel at home when using this app. There’s a subtractive synthesizer, a PCM-based synth, a bass synth and a drum machine in a rack-style format with an FX rack, a mixer and a sequencer. You can even import your own .wav files.
This is an impressive app that’s lot of fun to play and experiment with.
For song saving and export you need to purchase the Unlock Key:
My music PC doesn’t have w-lan connection, so I haven’t tested this app myself.
I guess that I would still prefer the “real” faders of my MIDI controller box for a haptic, tactile mixing feel, but for some unpredictable, crazy effects that motion sensor controlling might come in handy.
So, check it out and let me know how it goes for you.
Download the free version:
Or the full version (no locked features):
Finally, I want to feature a variety of ear training apps. If you’ve read my posts about functional ear training and strategies to master chromatic notes then you already know how much value I place on developing your ears.
So even though none of the showcased apps follows the functional ear training method, they all do have their place.
Remember, there’s not just 1 single working method to train your ears and in my opinion it’s good to develop your ears coming from multiple angles.
Also, don’t think that you have to install them all and practice with each app a ridiculous amount of time/day. That’s NOT a smart thing to do. If you practice with the functional ear training software at home, then simply supplement and augment your practice with the occasional session on the go with one of the following apps.
Perfect Ear has many different exercises included. You can focus on interval training, scales, chord qualities, chord inversions and progressions.
The free version limits the amount of levels you get in each section. You can still get a feel for how things work and once you have mastered the initial levels you can then decide to upgrade to the full version for €0,99.
With Ear Tuner you can learn to recognize common diatonic chord progressions. The app will play a progression for you and you are supposed to click on the corresponding roman numeral for each chord of the progression.
Keep it simple by starting out with just the I, IV and V chords in root position. Or challenge yourself by including the other diatonic chords as well as inversions.
Currently there are only 4 levels to choose from, but according to the developer there are more to come.
Audio Guitar Chord Quiz
This last featured ear training app is especially useful for guitar players. It uses the common open position chord voicings.
Not only are you training to hear the difference between a major and minor chord, you’ll also develop a feel for recognizing those specific voicings.
So when you listen to someone playing the guitar who is happily strumming away those standard open position chords you’ll be able to recognize a G chord or a D chord because of their different sonic signature.
I’m sticking with the G and D chord example. Both chords are major chords and share that common major sound. However, based on the way they are played on the guitar there is a difference. The G chord has a fuller, more resonant sound because the chord uses all 6 strings. The D chord is played on the top 4 strings only and therefore has a thinner sound.
Once you hone in on these qualities you’ll quickly be able to differentiate between the various chords and impress people with your new “fake” perfect pitch abilities.
For more chord types and more keys purchase the full version for €1,34:
Any More Android Apps for Musicians?
That’s it for this round of Android apps for musicians. I’m sure you’ll let me know about any other useful apps that I missed so far by sharing your great finds in the comment section below. Or feel free to use the form on the contact page.