Here at iSmashPhone, we've often expressed our interest in concepts that use the iPad as a musical instrument. The device's touchscreen interface and simple menu navigation make it a wonderful little piece of hardware for musical applications. Polychord is an example of one of those applications. The interface is simple, and things are laid out so that even a novice musician can create simple musical compositions on the fly.
Part of what makes iPad instruments so much fun is that there is room for every design to be totally different. This one combines an interface that allows you to choose a chord (such as D minor) to be played back for you. Hitting the chord button plays the chord once, while an arpeggiator continually plays the notes of the chord in rapid succession and drums and bass play in the background.
To the far right is a yellow "strum" section, which looks almost like yellow piano keys. Here you can play different notes to accompany your musical piece. It's easier than it sounds, and it didn't take much tinkering around with the App before we came up with something that made us say "that sounds kind of cool."
Users can also control the volume of the various parts of the composition, such as the chord, the drums, the bass and the arpeggiator. Our favorite part? The "Bitshift" function. This can lower the bit rate of individual playback tracks to make them sound like the old games we used to play back in the days of the original Nintendo Entertainment System.
The interface is simple. It's always cool to see the various musical Apps we play with get different kinds of user interfaces. Because this one actually contains musical terms, it can cater to the more seasoned musician just as well as someone who's having fun with the App and has no real intent of taking their musical knowledge beyond that. One thing we noticed when using it, was that it makes a great little "scratch pad" for someone who may be composing music. For instance, we found out that D minor and F major go very well together.
We would like the ability to record our performance data for playback and recording later. It doesn't have to be anything too fancy, just a way to keep something cool we compose.
Much easier to understand than most of the musical Apps currently available, Polychord should cater to those who don't want to learn the more complex menu navigation of some of the instruments we've seen in the past. The interface is nice, and the application could help one learn the basics of chord structure. Still, we think it would be awesome if the App added the ability to save your performance for future playback.
4 out of 5
Check out some other musicians who have taken a liking to their iOS devices: Here