Although most music apps try to replicate and hack inconvenient tasks in the analog world, there exists a whole slew of apps aiming to create experiences that people have never even considered before, developing their own weird and wonderful new instruments that's only spatial burden is your phone's internal storage. Here are some of the coolest, strangest musical instrument apps you can find in the App Store (in addition to one Android-exclusive app to make all the musicians with an HTC feel special).
Continuing with last week's discussion of generative music pioneer Brian Eno, we'll kick off this list with his music app called Bloom. With a simple interface featuring twelve distinct "moods", Bloom creates crystalline bleeps by having the user tap around the screen. If you choose to leave the app alone, your compositions begin to grow on their own and change in structure. ($3.99)
2. Bubble Harp
Through Bubble Harp, you can create intricate spider webs that produce varied string arrangements. The arrangements become altered as you change the pathways for the strings. ($1.99)
3. Magic Piano
Magic Piano is like a cross between guitar hero and a rave, allowing you to recreate classic songs by tapping glowing orbs. With over 900 songs, Magic Piano's library is pretty diverse in genre and period. The app includes choices for synth, organ or harpsichord arrangements in addition to piano, but subsequent editions of Magic Piano promise to deliver even more options.($1.99)
4. Pocket Shaker
Not as mathematically complex as some of the other musical instrument apps on here, but Pocket Shaker's novelty makes this one worth checking out. The app features ten different percussive instruments that tend to revolve some kind of heavy wrist action, a gesture that the app tries to recreate. If you ever thought a song needed more cowbell, here's an easy opportunity to add it as liberally as you'd like. (Free)
Soundrop creates kaleidoscopic percussion noises by making the user draw lines that "soundrops" hit against. While this musical instrument app might be simplistic, the options are endless. Brighten your geometry skills by learning how positioning lines at different angles might effect the sounds produced by the way they hit them. (Free)
This is based on a DIY kit produced by Maker Shed (but now discontinued) that allows you to make abrasive sounds. By moving your fingers between the pads and the knobs, you're able to alter the frequency and tone of the sounds it produces. The app provides you with three different synthesizer kits, each a different color, and none of them are recommended for those with delicate ears. ($0.99)
The DR-OM app recreates the popular science-lab function generator that many people reused as a hacked synth during the 1970s. The app contains two oscillators that allow you to alternate the low frequency oscillators and control the voltage control filter. The results are spooky, and perfect for anyone trying to make meaningful post-rock music or something. ($1.99)
8. Strange Attractor
If you're interested in creating dark electronic music, the Strange Attractor app might be a good starting point. Tweaking the sound generator creates intense sounds that resemble old school techno through an effects processor based on chaos theory. This is an app worth checking out just because the visuals match the sounds so well, with fluttering fractal graphs to compliment the audio's glitchy drones. ($2.99)
Figure is one of the more pop music-making apps on this list and definitely one of the best. This app helps you create a bumping techno song through a clean and incredibly well-designed interface. Combining drums and synths into one app, it makes developing a catchy electronic beat seem almost as easy as pressing play. ($0.99)
Right now Orbits is an Android-exclusive musical instrument app, but it's such a nifty app we thought it was worth covering. Describing itself as an "interactive sonic sandbox", the app creates music by making the user create "particles" that interact with each other through sound. Like Bloom, the particles in this app can generate themselves without your guidance to "evolve" the soundscape. (Free)
Want to experience more music and technology? Head over to Chromatik for free sheet music and tutorials?