Several months ago, a developer contacted me about an iPad app that was in development, and I encouraged the developer to contact me when the app was released. About two weeks ago, that app became available in the App Store, and I wanted to bring it to your attention.
The app is called “Disco Fingers” and the basic app is free, but there are in-app purchases (premium instruments – $4.99, publish music to the cloud – $0.99, and beat boost – $0.99). The premise is that you are given a palette of fingers, which, when placed on a grid, create different tones. The palette is customizable, as each finger has a different sound (or capabilities). Your experimentation with each finger will let you decide which sounds you want to use. Some fingers function as a MIDI percussion-type map, others are actual sounds that represented at different pitches. You can also record yourself as one of the fingers, with the app providing some customization of tone quality.
The grid represents the e minor pentatonic scale, in an eight bar repeated loop, all at the same tempo. Your creations, if you buy the upgrade, can be shared with the world; and you can also listen to creations by others–so there is a social aspect to the app as well.
The app is easy and fun to use; the lack of different keys, overall structure, and tempos does not have any negative impact on the app–but also gives the app room to grow.
This app is a wonderful way to teach about a MIDI piano roll without ever knowing what a piano or a piano roll is (or does). Work on this app would result in a better ability to edit MIDI events on a piano roll (such as in GarageBand).
So–download the free app today; chances are that you will like it so much that you will be willing to pay for the additional services with the app–and the good news is that the free version comes with enough tools that you can actually use the app and feel like you still have a functional app.
Part of their press release appears below:
A Music Composition Tool For The Tone Deaf
The brand new Disco Fingers app aims at getting non-musicians to create and share their own music.
According to the founders, almost everyone who tries the app manages to make music within a few minutes, which separates Disco Fingers from the plethora of other music-making apps.
“We built the app because we couldn’t find any music composition tools that are both simple and fun enough for complete beginners and that also give you a sense of achievement,” CEO Per Harald Borgen claims.
The three-person startup spent nearly a year testing out different solutions, dedicated to finding the best way for amateurs to compose music.
The result is a humorous music toy that looks more like a game than a composition tool. Users interact with the app by placing dancing creatures on a 2D grid, which generates beats that sound surprisingly good.
The app also gives users the ability to record their own voices, which they can process through various pitching and effect filters.
Once users have created their masterpieces, they can broadcast them on Disco Fingers’ internal radio channel, making them available for all other Disco Fingers users.
“One click, and people from all over the world can listen to your song and become your fans,” says Borgen.
The more fans your beat gets, the more it spreads, making it possible to create “viral hits” on Disco Fingers FM.
You can also send your composition privately to a friend, share it through social media, or export it as a ringtone.
“The beta testers have used it to create birthday songs, to send funny messages to their friends, to create fan songs for their favourite football teams, and in many other creative ways,” says Borgen. “Once they have used it for a while, people manage to create music that sounds really good.”
Disco Fingers will be free to download but will cost a few dollars if you want access to its premium features, which include all the instruments and voice filters, the ringtone export function, and the ability to remix beats you hear on Disco Fingers FM.