I was prompted the other day to write a review of SongDasher – a piece of software for the iPhope or iPad from Far Out Notions, LLC. What I got in an e-mail was: "SongDasher is a streamlined song crafting tool with six tracks of audio, programmable drum beats, and flexible section-by-section composition. SongDasher allows musicians to quickly and easily capture musical ideas, and share their compositions with friends and bandmates through a variety of social media and cloud services". And so it does. Here is the link to SongDasher.
I am not an iPhone aficionado and so I would much rather see the same application for Androids, but, either way – I was pleasantly surprised. It was about time someone put together a simple and intuitive piece of recording software for phones.
It took me about two minutes to figure it out. There are only a few simple steps to putting a pretty complete song together, using SongDasher:
- I started SongDasher, clicked on the Add button to add a song, and gave the song a name.
- The song showed up with a couple of 'sections' (measures). This surprised me in two ways. I did not expect the song to already have a "count-in" measure and a "song-beginning" measure. Also, it is good to know that the measures / sections should be added before the song is recorded. That is not the way most recording software works, but I guess it makes sense with the limited capacity of the phone. Either way, I clicked on the Edit button, deleted these two sections, and started anew.
- I added a new measure and clicked Done – I was done editing.
- Each new measure comes with a six audio tracks and one loop grid, which itself has bass (i.e., kick), snare, closed and open hi hats, and tom. Drum loops are easy to build and so I put together altering kicks/snares.
- I went back to the song, selected track 1 for recording, and recorded some vocals on top.
Everything works as intended and is extremely intuitive. The mix can be controlled through volumes and pans. Songs can be shared. Sections can be looped / duplicated. Even the help works and makes sense (although, I did not have to use it, the software is quite self-explanatory. If this application grows bigger, the help will need a search).
In comparison with computers, mobile phones have two obvious limitations – they have smaller memory / space / processing capacity and they have (still) limited options for navigation with menus and buttons between screens. Thus, any mobile phone app would usually have less of the bells and whistles that full-blown computer applications do. SongDasher seems to have found the right balance, allowing just the right amount of functionality to allow the recording of a complete song.