Songwriting Apps Review: Rhyme Genie, TuneSmith & Chordmate

In our first Apps Review Show, we take a look at Idolumic’s Rhyme Genie and Harmonic Sense’s Chordmate Apps.

First up was Idolumic’s Rhyme Genie a fully cross platform (PC, Mac & iOS) program that boasts over 330,000 rhymes and more rhyme types than you’ve ever heard of. The desktop versions are brilliant and much better than any online rhyme services I’ve found (it even give you Feminine Pararhymes – so you know, there you go).

A great interface too. It lets you select “similarity of sound” of the rhymes, gives you filters for adverbs, adjectives, nouns, verbs, etc, and lets you select how many syllables the rhymes have.

rhyme-genie

It would be nice to have option to search a rhyme you click on.

One strange bit is that the “Help” icon just gives you information on what the different types of rhymes are, as opposed to offering assistance on how to actually use the program. I think renaming it “Definitions’ or “Glossary” would be a better option.

They do offer video tutorials on their website to help you along.

Unfortunately for the iOS version, a byzantine process of installation (you just can’t get it from the app store so it takes multiple steps – I almost gave up numerous times) and a non-responsive screen layout causes the gang to recommend giving the iOS version a pass untill the creators are able to make a fully native iOS app. But the desktop versions are killer.

If you buy Rhyme Genie you get TuneSmith free!

TuneSmith helps you keep a list of your musical contacts, your songs and meta info about them (time, who played on them) attach sound files to the entry and even keeps a list of songs you’ve pitched to people (a must if you’re someone trying to become a pro songwriter) with a great CRM (Customer Relations Management) system just like those corporate sales folks have. I’m using this one myself.

tune-smith

If idolumic creates an iOS version where you can access all this info while you’re out and about, this might be the must have APP for anyone serious of their songwriting business. Nicely done!

A couple of rough edges: it requires QuickTime on the PC (which is free from Apple, and if you copy from Word, results can be a bit unpredictable since Word includes all its wacky formatting codes when copying. Pasting to NotePad on Windows and a text only program on the OSX, then copying from that to paste into TuneSmith (and really any other program) clears up all the cruft that comes from Word.

It would be nice if there was an “audio scrubbing” feature on attached audio files so you could find just the section you want, but that’s probably a fairly complicated thing to add.

You can download free demo versions of TuneSmith and Rhyme Genie at their site so you’ll have nothing to lose:

www.rhymegenie.com

 

We also looked at Harmonic Sense‘s ChordMate 3 for OSX and iOS and the OSX only Songs Pro.

www.harmonicsense.com

Give ChordMate3 your key and a chord, and it’ll give you some suggestions for the next chord. After you put in some chords, you can play them back with a guitar sound or a piano sound. It’s pretty bare-bones: no tempo and you can’t choose to play one chord for 1 beat then the next for 3, but you’ll get a sense of what it’ll sound like. And when each chord plays, the tab symbol wiggles in a friendly way. You can save your little progressions for later work. You can open the progressions between iOS and OSX which is cool. You can print or email your tabs from the app.

chordmate

You can’t drag entered chords into different positions and adding and changing chords require a trip to the top menu. It would be better if they made better use of double-tapping in the space next to a chord to add a new one, and double-tapping an entered chord to allow one to make changes to it.

Neel preferred Mathieu Routhier’s Suggester as it’s a bit more full featured. It has the same basic function as Chordmate but it adds an option for defining tempo, more sounds: “Piano, Vibraphone or Guitar”, and selectable arpeggios. You can touch and drag around the chords you add and you can add rests. Quite user friendly. You can also export you creations via text or MIDI for importing into your DAW of choice.

t1

www.mathieurouthier.com

(The author also creates an APP called “Backwards” that allows you to play any audio file backwards, ’cause sometimes one just needs to do that).

Song’s Pro (OSX only) includes a more full featured version of ChordMate and adds the ability to create lyric sheets with chord symbols on top of specific words. I really liked how you can indicate quite clearly exactly WHERE the chord falls within a word.

The interface is nice and spare too, but quite powerful.

songs-pro

 

idolumic’s TuneSmith does include some of these features (minus the chord suggesting features) and it includes it in a songs meta data, but it’s not quite a full featured.

tunesmith-lyric-sheet

 

Neel also enjoyed the EGDR-808, a fun alternative to a metronome based on the Rolands venerable 808 rhythm machine. As with the original you can adjust tempo and adjust swing amount. Additionally, you drop in fills automatically (4, 8, 12, 16 bars) or manually and it comes with 12 patterns and 4 fill patterns to choose from.

egdr808intro

www.elliottgarage.com

So there are lots of possibilities out there. Testing iOS apps is tough as you have to purchase first, but the desktop apps allow you to test drive them before you buy. And who can argue with that?

Let us know if you have any favourite programs or APPS that you rely on below!

Listen to the full episode:

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