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YouCompose

Category: Music

Ages: 18+ 11-14
Price: iPhone/iPad - £4.99

YouCompose is a compositional software for any musician interested in composing using either traditional or non-traditional practices. It provides you with a wide range of options in order to develop compositional skills, through recording, editing and manipulation. This can then be shared as an audio file or as a pdf across a range of platforms, giving opportunity for feedback and critique. An absolutely brilliant find, particularly for focusing new musicians on how to compose, harmonise, and develop more complexities to their compositions. Excellent accuracy through recording live and use of MIDI, and editing techniques.

Screenshots

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Teacher Review

This app can be used in a variety of ways, but certainly encourages independence and creative skills through composition, offering support to beginner musicians, or complexity to more developed composers. It offers you a short tutorial at the beginning, before letting you loose on the equipment, starting with composing a simple melody line. As you navigate your way around the app, you find much more to help you make your composition become more complex and interesting. As you first start to record your parts in via the keyboard device, it accurately recognises your touch on the screen, and records this in just like a sequencing software. From this, you can then edit these notes to correct any mistakes, or alter any compositional ideas.

The app offers you simplicity to start with. It shows you how to harmonise a simple melody, and harmonises your music for you! This really helps beginner musicians understand how to harmonise, giving them confidence in their ability, before editing the pre-made harmonisations, or then creating your own. As you progress through your composition, you can select from a huge array of instruments, offering different sounds in order to spark further creativity. It offers changes in rhythms and note durations so you can continue to manipulate your recordings or note editing. As you develop the structure of your piece, it offers you to select different keys. The huge benefit to this for beginning composers, is that it the shades out any notes that aren’t within the key you have selected, so that it makes composing more simple, for those that feel unsure or lack confidence in their creativity. So for example, if a composer would like to compose in D minor, you simply select this key, and it only offers the notes of that scale. Of course this can be edited in case you would like further chromaticism in your piece. This is fantastic for syllabus composition exams that are focused on simple compositions demonstrating progression throughout the piece, and appropriate functional harmony on most occasions. 

A major benefit is that it also provides the opportunity to share your work via a range of platforms, via AirDrop, email, exporting data files or audio. However, compositions also require a score. This sequencing software also allows you to export as a pdf for full score or just parts, again offering ideal suitability for composers. Students are also able to look into more complexities by offering movements, identifying changes in sections, adding lyrics, dynamics and expression. 

A fantastic feature of this app is the  understanding of different styles of music through the use of harmonisation. The app also offers you to select a style of music, and it will create a symphony, classical or jazz, that you can then read, manipulate and edit, in order to develop your own understanding of composition and structure through the modelling used on the app.

This app requires no further purchasing and has no advertisements throughout, which is very helpful when you are trying to play the piano at the same time!

However, there are some drawbacks to the app. When considering students who must submit their own work, it is very easy for the app to harmonise your work, therefore demonstrating a lack of independence, and this could cause issues with plagiarism that would be difficult to identify. Despite this, it can be so helpful for beginner musicians or composers, that this surpasses this slight issue.

Despite this, it is a very successful app, particularly when trying to encourage students to develop their compositional skills, which can often be such a difficult skill to develop, particularly independently. This app provides the independence for students, in order to develop their resilience and creativity. It enables students to work independently without your frequent intervention and teaching, and certainly will help them to learn and progress with their compositional skills. 

From the Developer

Artificial intelligence and music go well together. YouCompose is proof of that. With YouCompose you can easily accomplish complex compositional tasks in classical and jazz styles.

YouCompose comes with a powerful built-in assistant composer. She knows her music theory and can help you compose and arrange your music in many ways.
You give her your melodies and decide how they should be handled. She then finishes your composition, doing all the hard work that normally takes hours, but now is done in seconds.

It’s a great tool to create your own music for your movie, game or theatre productions for example. It's also great for songwriters but above all: it’s just fun to play with this app and enjoy its surprising results.

YouCompose is of great educational value as well. Many teachers from around the world already use YouCompose in their harmony, composition and orchestration classes.

Built-in instruments:
- 80 instruments are included with high quality sounds. You'll find all regular orchestral instruments, keyboards, organs, guitars, basses, chorus, percussion and more.
- With over 40 preset ensembles you can quickly setup YouCompose for ensembles like a saxophone quartet, string quartet or orchestra, woodwinds or brass sections and much more.

Creating and editing:
- You create melodies using the built-in virtual keyboard or a MIDI keyboard, by entering single notes in a grid editor, by importing a melody from a MIDI file or by asking your assistant to make one for you. 
Your assistant composer will then harmonize these melodies in a classical or jazz style taking into account the instruments you selected.
- A composition can be edited in many ways. YouCompose allows you to copy, paste, move and delete movements, segments and individual notes.
- You can ask your assistant to compose a complete 3 or 4 movement classical or jazz symphony for your ensemble all by herself, or let her add a new movement to an existing one. She can do that based on her own melodies or on melodies you provide.
- You can control the way she harmonizes your melodies, by setting Harmonization Points and other options, or you can also leave that completely to her.
- If you wish you can even combine classical and jazz styles within one piece.
- Special tools allow you to enter lyrics, apply melodic transformations or create dynamic effects.

Sharing and saving:
- YouCompose is Audiobus, AudioCopy and Inter-App Audio compatible and supports background audio. This means that you can record its audio using Audiobus, GarageBand or any other Audiobus compatible or IAA host App. In Audiobus you will find remote triggers for reverb and output level adjustment. With AudioCopy you can copy audio from movements, parts, segments or fragments to any other AudioCopy compatible app.
- YouCompose is CoreMIDI compatible. This means that you can also utilize a MIDI keyboard, a MIDI sound module or synth apps running on your device together with YouCompose.
- You can export audio files directly to other apps on your device. Supported audio file formats are: MIDI, aac, m4a, aiff, caf and wav. A m4a file contains iTunes data like ‘artist’, ‘song name’ and ‘lyrics’. You can export audio from movements, parts, segments or fragments.
- You can view your composition’s full score and the individual parts (transposed when applicable), print them directly from YouCompose to an AirPrint compatible printer or export them to any PDF viewer like iBooks.
- You can save compositions to your device and load them again later. Additionally, YouCompose allows you to send and receive them from other devices running YouCompose via Dropbox, email or an AirDrop connection.
- You can share your composition with others by sending an email containing a YouCompose data file, m4a audio files, MIDI files and/or a PDF document with the full score and the individual (transposed) parts.
- Several sample compositions containing well known melodies are also included in the package.

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