January 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Bargain Alert: SongDasher Lets You Write Songs Fast on iOS

songdasherWe focus on apps for mere mortals here — and, by that, we mostly mean people who are not musicians. Still, there are plenty of musicians and music types out there who might appreciate SongDasher (iOS) app, especially because it’s free until February 15, after which it will cost $6.

This is not an app for recording songs for release; it’s for busting out song sketches — fast. The SongDasher interface is basically a vertically-oriented step sequencer for programming simple beats using only the built-in drum sounds. It defaults to 4/4 time. If you don’t know what that means, that’s okay — it’ll sound normal — and you can also change the tempo from the default of 120BPM.

SongDasher works in sections that you can move around as you please. When you load it for the first time, you’ll see the lead-in, the song beginning, and a new section option, followed by “end of song.” Once you get the drums about right, you’ll need your voice or an instrument to start laying down your ideas.

You can record up to six simultaneous tracks per section in this fashion, which should be more than enough for whatever you have in mind. There’s no metronome, but that’s okay, because you can hear whatever drumbeats you’ve laid down for that section. And as you record new tracks, you’ll hear what you recorded before, so you can build up a layered sound fairly quickly.

Once you’re happy — or at least not totally displeased — with the ideas you’ve laid down, and your arrangement of said ideas, SongDasher offers plenty of options for uploading the mixdown to SoundCloud, Dropbox, or Box, with the ability to set the track as private, as needed, in case you are David Bowie working on another secret album. You can then share links to the track via email, Twitter, or Facebook.

In order to be perfect, SongDasher would need some onboard instruments, rather than making you write all of the parts through your iPhone microphone — like, at least a piano keyboard. But if you are the type of person who thinks of musical ideas while you’re sitting in a waiting room, on the bus, or wherever, it could come in super-handy — just watch out for that background noise, because it will end up on your track.