As a professional union musician and general lover of music, I can never seem to get enough out of the musical side of my iPhone. Although the App Store is well-categorized and has an excellent search function for finding music-related apps, there are loads of hidden gems in the App Store that you might not find unless you know what to look for.
Here are three of my favorites music apps for the iPhone and iPod touch.
1. [itunes link=”http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bumpmusic/id348672744?mt=8&uo=4″ title=”bumpMusic” text=”bumpMusic”] ($.99):
Apps don’t come much more underrated than bumpMusic. First released in January, 2010, this jukebox app only has 7 user ratings. However, it’s the ultimate app if you’re interested in impressing your friends.
BumpMusic allows you to control your music by bumping the table your iPhone is sitting on, all within the app’s 60’s style jukebox interface.
Simply bump the table and it starts your selected songs (synced from iPod), bump twice to skip to a new track, and bump three times to go to a previous song. Tap the center of the jukebox to re-arrange and add songs to the app’s playlist. If you download the app, be prepared for some lag and bugginess. Still, it does exactly what it says, and remains responsive to even a subtle bump.
It’s safe to say the app was inspired by Happy Days’ Fonzie and his amazing fist-bumping abilities. While the Fonze had a way with the ladies, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend pulling this out on the first date, but it’s fun and entertaining nonetheless.
2. [itunes link=”http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dragonfly-search/id383513703?mt=8&uo=4″ title=”Dragonfly Search” text=”Dragonfly “](free):
Dragonfly Search is a great app to help you discover new things about your favorite artists. It’s powered by Last.fm, so it tracks the listening statistics of millions of users worldwide, such as global listening trends. If you’re not a Last.fm user, which I’m not, don’t worry. The app’s central feature is its search functionality.
Dragonfly’s initial menu categorizes searches into departments such as Artists, Albums and Events among several others, making it easy to search for exactly what you want. For example, tapping ‘Events’ and searching for Aerosmith provides you with the band’s touring schedule.
Searching for an album title retrieves the album’s background information. Tap ‘Top Artists’ and you’ll find Last.fm’s most popular artists. I’ve found this to be a great way to discover new music.
Soon, the app will provide information on what hardware and gear was being used by a particular artist or in an album/song. For a free app, Dragonfly’s ease of use and clean interface make it a great pickup in the App Store, and its future updates look bright.
Steinway & Sons has been making world class pianos for 150 years. The company’s foray into the mobile app market is a bit less storied, but Steinway’s full-featured metronome app is fantastic.
Musicians can customize the time signature, visual indicator, and sound options to your own preferences. You can also change the look of the metronome by adjusting the wood finish color scheme, which is something no other free metronome app can do. The polished design of the app, from the dial to the customizable wood finish, is its unique feature that sets it apart from other metronome apps in the App Store.
Three months ago, I couldn’t have recommended this metronome in good conscience. The time-keeping was notoriously inaccurate and unclear, which is obviously a deal-breaker for a metronome. With the most recent update (version 1.1.3), however, Steinway fixed the beating perfectly, and added other features such as landscape mode and a visual indicator. Hopefully in the next version, the volume capability gets a healthy raise. In the meantime, this free app deserves high marks for its functionality and feature set.