Quickly create backing tracks with your iPad or iPhone
The iPad can be a great tool for musicians wanting an easy way to play around with ideas. SessionBand is an app that can be used to generate backing tracks with chords.
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We recommend taking a couple of minutes to read through the instructions in the app. Once you know where everything is SessionBand is very easy to use. The keyboard icon puts SessionBand into the Edit mode to add or adjust chord blocks.
All 12 scales are included and each has seven variations including the seventh and sus4.
Often tracks made up of chord blocks like these can sound very repetitive and it is hard to know where you are within the track. SessionBand can add fills to chord blocks as well as as an End style. These are easy to add and do a good job of adding a sense of progression.
Each style is made up of five instruments and there is a mixer for adjusting the individual levels. There are level lights on each track as well so you can make sure that nothing gets too loud and distorts.
Once the chords have been set up it is then very easy to change the style through the menu.
There are twenty styles included with the iPad version of SessionBand and 16 on the iPhone version. Extra styles can be bought from within the app.
SessionBand is up against some fairly stiff competition not least from Apple's own Garageband. One features it doesn't come over very well as Garageband can record audio as well as arrange tracks with chords. Garageband will only show eight chords at once on the Smart Keyboard, Guitar, Bass and Strings tools, and it requires you to play the parts in the record mode. SessionBand does much better if you want to build parts more slowly and it makes it easier to experiment with different styles.
There is also Propellerhead Figure, which is also designed for making tracks on the move. Figure is a more intuative app so less useful for making tracks to practice along with.
Tracks can be saved for editing again later and can be shared via email. They are sent in the SessionBand format so the recipient must also have SessionBand to listen to them, a little disappointing.
There is a good series of videos explaining how the app works on YouTube here. You can watch the first video below
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A useful composition and practise tool for both the iPhone and iPad
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