The 14 best music creation apps for iPhone and Android: how to re-make history’s greatest music with your phone

10. Autotune

As heard in: everything

AutoTune was designed to fix the odd vocal problem by correcting the singer's pitch, but if you turn it up you can create really interesting effects. Artists from T-Pain to Jay-Z, Ke$ha and Cher have embraced the power of excessive AutoTune, and you'll hear it in stacks of modern R&B and pop records. More often than not, though, you won't hear it at all: many so-called "real musicians" use it to fix the odd mistake in the studio, or on stage.

Get the app: 

I Am T-Pain (iOS, £1.99)

Tune Me Lite (Android, £Free)

11. Drum Machine

As heard in: Blue Monday, New Order

All together now: Der der der der der der derderderderderderder der der der der der der derderderderderderder! The humble drum machine is behind some of the world's favourite music, from Sly and The Family Stone's There's a Riot Going On to Kraftwerk, rap, dour Mancunian electro-pop, drum and bass, dubstep and R&B. 

Get the app: 

DM1 (iOS, £2.99)

Niko Electrum Drum Machine (Android, £2.49)

More after the break...

12. Synthesizer

As heard in: Strange Days, The Doors

It seems bizarre now, but in the 1970s the Musicians' Union campaigned against the use of synthesisers, which it claimed would put real musicians - that is, ones who played instruments made of strings and wood - out of work. That may well have happened, but the arrival of synthesised musical instruments transformed music and opened up all kinds of possibilities: without synths there'd be no electronic music and rock would be dull as ditchwater.

Get the app: 

NLogSynth Pro (iOS, £6.99)

Mikrosonic RD3 (Android, £1.99)

13. Sequencer

As heard in: I Feel Love, Donna Summer

Sequencing is essentially programming for music: the musician would create a sequence, assign it to an instrument - often via MIDI, but the instrument might be a virtual one inside a music app - and start it playing. Sequencing enables musicians to play music they don't have enough hands to play in real time, and it created entire new genres: the distinctive basslines of acid house wouldn't exist without Roland's legendary sequencers, and the use of sequenced lead patterns is as important to trance music as guitar riffs are to rock.

Get the app:

Sunvox (iOS, £3.99)

Nanoloop (Android, £1.50)

14. Sampler

As heard in: Rapper's Delight, The Sugarhill Gang

Here's one for trivia fans: one of the most famous samples of all time, the sample of Chic's Good Times used in Rapper's Delight, wasn't a sample of the record: it was a replayed version of the original bassline. The song does sample Good Times' string section, though, and it's a great record to boot. 

Get the app: 

Samplr for iPad (iOS, £6.99)

Mikrosonic Music Sketchpad 2 (Android, £4.99)


these aren't music creation apps, they're effects apps - I'd really like to see Stuff recommending the best music creation apps available for smartphones

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