Gyrosynth for iPhone

Gyrosynth: iPhone

Music apps come in many shapes and sizes and exist for a variety of purposes. At their very basic, music apps can be designed to simply entertain people that enjoy a bit of musical creativity with their entertainment, with games like Dropchord filling this gap quite well. Then you have serious music recording, production, and creation apps such as Garageband or Xewton Music Studio – apps with serious production power, recording capabilities, and no time for any light-hearted nonsense like fun or accessible entertainment.

Then you have the weird apps that don’t quite fit into any one category in a comfortable way, and this brings me to the wonder that is Gyrosynth, the unique synthesiser app that isn’t your normal musical instrument. Whilst many apps that focus on bringing you just a select few instruments with standard touch-screen interfaces, Gyrosynth allows you to make unusual forms of music in a distinctively different way. The clue as to the nature of the app’s interface is in the title and before we begin, shall we just say that it is at very least interesting, and that’s putting it mildly.

As may have been obvious from the app’s title, it is a synthesiser app that allows you to generate some unusual sounds using only the motion of the device itself. That’s right, there’s no screen tapping to create sound here: the app uses the power of the iPhone’s gyroscope to detect the movement of it, allowing you to control the pitch, yaw, volume and cut-off. The way that the synth sound is produced feels remarkably similar to the famous instrument of weird design known as the Theremin . This unique way of playing the synthesiser of course makes this app one of a kind, but exactly how useful is it for making music?

Well, firstly, it can’t be denied that this app has some novelty value that makes up quite a large proportion of the motivation for people purchasing the app in the first place. Waving your phone around in the air and creating strange noises sounds like quite a lot of fun after all, and serious, up-tight musicians may scoff at the outrageousness of it since classic notation mechanics and music making games such as the flash-based Notessimo are probably more suited for actually making real music. The app does offer a modest range of sounds however including vocal, square, saw, and even the ridiculous R2D2 sound. Effects like boost and delay can also be applied to change up the sounds that the app produces.

There are a few preset scales that you can use in order to produce a more professional sound as well, with the Theremin selection being the most fun to play with, allowing you to play the theme for Dr. Who with no problem at all due to the incredible accuracy of the iPhone’s gyroscope at detecting tiny movements. Two Asian scales, a blues major, and a blues minor also add a bit of variety to the way that you play your music with it. You can even use the app to record your mini compositions and can even export them via Itunes, though this feature is relatively limited and could do with a bit of expansion if developer BeatStreet ever get around to releasing another update or even a follow-up to this wonderful little app.

Though this app hasn’t received the popularity or warm reception that it deserves, it will entertain anyone that happens to stumble across its unusual interface and intuitive design. It isn’t in the same league as competing synthesiers like the Animoog, but it does act as a wonderful distraction and novelty instrument with a novel interface that lets you use the movement of your arms and hands to make some pretty crazy-sounding music. 

Grab Gyrosynth now at the App Market

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