A musician’s arranger that talks your language

Eli,  Paris, France

Plays piano. Likes jazz, blues and Latin.

A MUSICIAN’S ARRANGER – That’s what I call this App. Why? Because the problem with everything else I’ve seen is that we musician’s use one language when we speak of our arrangements and those Apps always speaks another language.

Eli, Paris

What do you say when you sit down with your buddy musos, and someone calls a tune? You might say let’s play this or that tune, and if you’ve all played it together, everyone will know how it is arranged. But if it is not a tune you’ve all played together before, what then? I expect the leader will call the tempo to be used – medium fast, say, and perhaps the feel also – Bossa or Reggae or whatever and whether there’ll be an intro section or you go straight in from the top. You might agree on the number of choruses and perhaps the order of solos. Well, it’s that sort of language you want from your backing tracks. You want to know if there’s an intro and, if so, how long it is. You want to see the number of choruses, so you decide on the solos etc., and you’ll want to know about the tempo and the rhythmic style. That’s the sort of information you get with this App, and it’s how you ‘arrange’ your tracks as well – in musician’s language – not in flashing lights and weird controls – just plain English musician’s arrangement language.

As you scroll through the list of tracks, each track has its arrangement spelt out like that, for example – 8-bars intro, 6 choruses of a 16-bar tune with a 4-bar ending using this rhythm at that tempo. That makes sense to other musicians and me and is the sort of language that would be used between us as we play together. That’s why I call this App a ‘musicians’ arranger.

An understated wonder is a wolf in sheep’s clothing with ultimate usability

Wendy, Florence, Italy.

Plays guitar and clarinet. Likes classical music and classic popular folk, Latin, jazz and blues, particularly on the clarinet!

WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING.  My experience is similar to the others. This App, at first glance, seems bland and uninspiring, but its a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s the very essence of UNDERSTATEMENT – like Braun or B&O. No flashing lights. No gimmicks. Just GREAT DESIGN and a TOTAL RETHINK as regards USABILITY.

Wendy, Florence.

The backing tracks are the best imaginable and are ready in no time. They really do sound like a drummer is playing the ACTUAL SONG. I don’t know how they achieve that without knowing everything about the song. It’s uncanny. I have tried other music generation programs for getting backing tracks, with minimal success. I always give up on them at the end because they take up so much of your time and don’t sound that inspirational anyway. It’s not like that with these Song Rhythm Tracks. 30 secs tops and they sound just great. No duds. The organisation and playing of tracks aren’t mentioned much, but it’s brilliant and so understated.

You don’t need to use another player. The inbuilt player is a ‘musicians’ player – big buttons, quality speed variation which persists to your next play. Here’s another big thing that isn’t mentioned very much. You can always see the arrangement on the screen, so you know what you will be playing along to. And it’s in the musician’s language, which is just what you want. Great. I haven’t had to arrange most of my tracks as I’ve found one using the inbuilt search feature. I’ve arranged a couple, though, and it was so easy. There really isn’t anything else like this. Super simple arranging. Great sound. Total Understatement. I just love it – even on my iPod Touch! I play a lot of Latin Rhythms, and they have them all. And they sound so authentic. I recommend this App to people who care about music and sound and aren’t looking for a flashing-lights-toy but something that will satisfy them for the rest of their lives. Real Quality is rare, but this is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Maverick and a True Innovator for the practical musician

Sandra, Perth, Australia.

Plays guitar . Likes folk music.

TRUE INNOVATION.  What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Only perhaps that this App is a true innovator. A maverick you might say. It seems to do everything differently. It wasn’t what I was expecting but now everything else I’ve tried seems redundant. What do you really want to do? To play with flashing lights – pretending to be hitting real drums? Or to get an MP3 file which is a professional quality backing track to a song you are playing? That, I think, is the innovation.

That’s what you get here. It’s like a cross between the ‘Music’ App and a musician’s backing-track service. You select the track you want and the Alive Drumming servers give you it. Then you have much more musician-friendly setlists and player than you get with the ‘Music’ App. Playing becomes a real joy instead of struggle. It’s what all of us musicians want. We want to play our instruments and have great rhythmic backing with a minimum of fuss and bother. That’s what this App delivers. A true innovation for the musician.

Drum Machines don’t work end-to-end. They’re not performance-ready

Eloa, Brazil

Guitar, sings. Loves conga, timbales, bongos and claves. Plays and sings bossa nova, jazz samba, merengue, lambada

LOVE THIS APP!!   Never seen anything like it. Drum machines don’t cut it, even ones with some good sounding rhythms. Nothing else works well end-to-end in providing rhythmic backing tracks to your song list. The closest thing I’ve seen to this App are those apps that have the full sheet music, backing tracks and are song based. You buy the sheet-music and backing music for a song. They are OK, a bit expensive and don’t always have your song, or the arrangement of your song, that you’d like to use. They can be a bit clunky as well and the rhythms tend not to be very good by themselves.

This App is so much better for me because (i) the rhythms are fantastic, (ii) it doesn’t matter if they don’t have your song, you can arrange it yourself, simply, and (iii) the tracks start cheap and get cheaper the more you use the App. How come? I’ve found I often use the same rhythms and song forms. When I select exactly the same combination for a new song the App recognises it has that already and doesn’t download it again. It’s a different track name in the App with a different title but the App must know it can use the same audio file. Smart. It is also performance-ready as far as the setlists and player go.  So I just use this one App and it’s fast and reliable for me during a performance. Totally love this app.

A unique arranger provides a lot of rhythmic support for little cost

Hilly, Tokyo for now

Plays guitar and piano and sings. Likes Latin and classic rock and pop.

I find this app pretty unique in its approach to arranging. It’s not the most comprehensive arranger available but it’s unique in its simplicity. It really does allow for some pretty easy ways to arrange a track from simply matching on the track title to selecting a well-known song form. You can even enter song forms using “stick notation” (see their website or the inbuilt help screens). You then get an arrangement based on the sectional structure of the song with options for intros and endings as well. This works surprisingly well providing a track that really outlines the sections of the song including bridges and middle choruses as well. That’s a lot of rhythm support for very little effort and cost.

They sound very good as well. For a lot of tunes, that’s all you need but for some tunes, you might also want drum breaks or different styles of drumming throughout the song. That’s not what Song Rhythm Tracks does – not yet anyway. I’ve heard they are working on introducing breaks right now (now delivered in release 3.0).

Still, there’s never been a simpler or faster drum rhythm arranger as this and the player and setlists make it more usable than anything else. I love the hundreds of great rhythms.

No.1 for Musician’s Usability

Ethan, Kyoto, Japan.

Sax player. Plays pop, rock, blues, jazz, bop, ballads, everything really.

IMMEDIATE MUSICIAN’S USABILITY.   What’s different about this App is that it makes it feasible for the average guy, with very little effort, to play their songs to very engaging arranged rhythm tracks. I’ve tried lots of them and I haven’t come across any other app that comes close to that.

This app combines a musician’s player, a setlist manager and an arranger in one app. It’s swift to select arrangements, and then you can put them into setlists and keep changing and reordering the lists as your set evolves. Now I grab my sax’ and my mobile phone and either play a setlist or quickly search and find tracks as I go through my books of lead sheets. If I don’t have a way for a tune, I will have and will probably be playing it a minute later. For me, nothing else has this sort of immediate musician’s usability.

Professional quality results, a simple approach with portable convenience

Ron, LA, USA.

Plays guitar, mouth organ, piano and drums. Likes country, rock, jazz and blues.

PROFESSIONAL AND USABLE. This App is incredible. I totally underestimated how good it is. The quality of the backing tracks is truly professional – professional, talented drumming, professional audio, professional arrangements. Coupled with that, I’ve never had an app like this before where it works so well keeping all the tracks in a table and being able to organise them into playlists. You can even play the entire list of tracks with one key press. Incredible. I still can’t get over that there isn’t anything else left to do. It just works great!

4 included “factory” tracks are OK. The Jazz and Blues Sampler app has 23 decent tunes included. These are good for evaluating the app, but the real power comes from using it to arrange your own songs/tracks. There’s nothing simpler than this. You won’t believe it. I’ve created some of my arrangements with 10+ choruses which are how our group plays. I carry it around with me on my iPhone and have it on an old iPad, which is good for our jamming. Still works on the old iPad. No problem with speed. Start with the [Jazz and Blues Sampler] app and add any tracks you want later. There are 1000s of rhythms to choose from – good ones too. There is nothing like this App – it’s nothing like the silly MIDI *dumb* machines. It is real quality, professional, and usable. Recommended.