If you’ve ever dreamed of controlling Ableton Live on your Mac with a touch screen interface then perhaps the iPad could make this a reality. OK so I know I’m jumping the gun a bit, it hasn’t even been ported over to the device yet but I can dream. Luckily for me there are lots of applications for the iPad that will allow me to compose music. Maybe eventually we’ll see a cut down version of Ableton Live on there too.
In the meantime, I’m using Beatmaker which gives me a wide variety of music making functionality. It comes with a fairly sophisticated sequencer which allows you to build up loops and create a track on the fly. There is an option specifically for creating drum loops where you can actually record your taps on the screen. Loading the pads up with sounds of your choice makes it really interesting as you don’t have to necessarily use drum loops. You can load up synth stabs, strings or even voices and loop them together in any way you like. This allows for a great deal of creativity which will let your imagination run wild. The only thing that I think is missing from Beatmaker is some sort of virtual instrument. It would be nice if I could create my open sounds by playing around with some filters and parameters on a virtual synth. That way I wouldn’t have to rely on pre-recorded samples which makes it work more like a sampler than anything else.
There are of course lots of ways to make music on the iPad. You can use one of the other applications such as Rebirth to export samples and loops and then load them back into Beatmaker. I love exporting 303 synth loops and layering them up to make some crazy Acid bass-lines. My headphones can hardly keep up with the noises that I end up with! Give Beatmaker a try, its the best iPad sequencer available.