Making Music On My iPad With Soundrop

by Bill Hartzell

I can’t remember how I ran across it but I’ve had the Soundrop app on my iPad for a few months now.  As you can see in the video below, it’s really more of  a game than a music-making app.

Using the sound harvesting techniques I outlined in a previous post, I’ve been recording the output of my Soundrop sessions to create some raw source material for my music and sound design projects.  Tonally, Soundrop is a one-trick-pony.  You either enjoy the mallet sounds or not.

Here are two short pieces I put together in Pro Tools using only material taken from Soundrop:

Soundrop Experiment by SoundSavant

In “Soundrop Experiment”, I took a 2 minute 30 second long section from the raw Soundrop recording and copied it to four tracks in Pro Tools.  I then inserted a copy of the Sci-Fi plug-in on each track, with different settings per track, to do a moderate amount of spectral modulation.  Lastly, I applied some very elaborate volume automation for each track using the pencil tool’s random option, as you can see in the screenshot below:

I really like the way this turned out.  It sounds like a very demented marimba falling down a flight of stairs.

The second piece “Soundrop Vignette”, is a very short, three-part fugue.  I took a one-second loop and copied it to three tracks in Pro Tools.  I pitch shifted the loop on track 2 down one octave and the loop on track 3 down two octaves.  Finally, I automated the effects to create the craziness at the end.  I love doing that!

Soundrop Vignette by SoundSavant

So can you write a song with Soundrop?  Probably not, but as I just demonstrated, just about anything that makes noise can be turned into something interesting.  I encourage you to spend some time looking for new aural inspiration.  There’s probably at least 5 potential sound sources within arms reach of you right now.  Use them and make some happy noise!

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