The life of many musicians can be very fast-paced and even unpredictable. A song lyric or a guitar riff may pop into your head when you are touring cities or travelling in between venues, and you might not have a pen or paper to hand… and then you forget it. That feeling can be super annoying! Luckily, there is a range of songwriting apps that are free or inexpensive out there to help busy musicians with everything from jotting down lyrics to coming up with new rhymes. In this article, you will hear all about what songwriting apps are and hear my review on the best ones out there!
What Is A Songwriting App?
A songwriting app is a piece of software that helps a songwriter to turn a simple lyric or melody into an entire section and song.
These apps are great for collecting ideas, helping you to organise lyrics, and sharing songs with fellow artists.
We have compiled a list of some of the best songwriting apps out there, and many of them are free, too!
Best Songwriting Apps
Here are our top picks for the best songwriting apps.
From those that help you rhyme to those that suggest chords and allow you to record and map out tracks, take a look below.
Word Palette helps destroy writer’s block, and includes up to six sliding lanes of intelligently scrambled words. Short poetic phrases are intuitively grouped and staircased across the four slider lanes – each lane slides in both directions independently. Many possible workflows are possible with just a tap on the keyboard button or a swipe to the left. You can quickly switch between the slider lanes, and even import your favourite text sources and convert them into Palettes. You can really get creative with word combinations, and this app can take you down a new and interesting path of songwriting!
- Simple design
- Import feature
- Offers a flexible writing experience
- Reported glitches and crashes
Need songwriting apps for iPad? You’re in luck, Simple Songwriter is available for iPhone and iPad users! It is the perfect environment for artists to easily and quickly create song ideas, record tracks for playback, compare major chords to see which ones sound great together. It can even help identify the key of a song. The simple touchscreen interface allows users to quickly change aspects of music i.e. the key or tempo in real-time. Simple Songwriter also allows users to download and analyse your favourite songs so that you can effortlessly examine chords and tempo.
- The ability for basic quantising to the metronome is rare in an app
- Simple user interface
GarageBand For iOS
This app makes it incredibly simple to play, record, and share your music no matter where you are. Similar to the desktop mac version, GarageBand for iOS allows you to tap into a wide range of instruments from around the world. With a new version update, this app now includes a Sound Library. Choose and download more free instruments and loop packs when new sounds are released to help you easily craft songs in your favourite styles – all from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
- Allows projects to run smoothly
- Range of different features, instruments, and effects
- The app optimises too much which can disturb the workflow
Lyric Rhyming Tool – Мusic Gateway
Having a bit of writer’s block and struggling to find the perfect rhyming match? Мusic Gateway’s lyric rhyming tool allows you to input a word and instantly receive rhymes to use in your song!
Evernote is great for bandmates, as it notes shared can be accessed and edited by many different people. You can keep track of lyrics and melodies and then share them with your fellow artists and ask for their feedback. Evernote also allows musicians to set reminders about what you want to discuss in the next band meeting, and even record conversations.
- A reliable and useful product for a range of projects
- All data created in this app can be accessed from any devices simply by logging in
- Not optimised for all Android devices
FourTrack acts as a fully-functional four-track recorder which includes nearly all the perks seen in a real recording studio. FourTrack allows artists to input monitoring, a metronome function, calibrated meters and faders, and master FX and EQ. Artists can lay one track, such as a drum part or bass loop, then overlay vocals, guitar riffs, and other instruments to make a complete song. From catching a quick song idea to even creating a full song while you are out and about, FourTrack is a must-have.
- Simple recording device
- The ability to add extra layers
- No option to import/export files
Do you find yourself writing down songs on scraps of paper, old receipts, or napkins? Song-Writer Lite lets you organise your songs into pre-made folders, and gives you the option of naming folders. This makes it a lot easier to find a song in whatever folder you place it in. You can title your song as well as write lyrics for each section of your song’s structure (including verse, chorus, and more). Use the chord picker option to easily insert chords, add guitar tablature, and view over 1,000 chord diagrams for guitar, bass, ukulele, and banjo.
- Simple to use interface
- Change out chords effortlessly
How an artist uses rhymes is important in many music genres such as hip-hop, however, it’s difficult to come up with such rhymes heard from the greats such as Eminem, Notorious B.I.G, or Kendrick Lamar. This is where Rhymer’s Block comes into play. If you are struggling to find a rhyme for your song, this songwriting app offers you basic rhymes, near rhymes, multi-syllabic rhymes, and slant rhymes. Rhymer’s Block also highlights and colour-codes rhymes, and has a social feature, called “The Block” that allows you to show appreciation for other artists’ work and share work. This app is truly one of the best rhyming apps for songwriters available.
- Easy to add in and edit lyrics
- Rhyming function is simple to use
- Many long-time users don’t like the new public social feature
Complete Ear Trainer
Complete Ear Trainer is more of a music theory tool, but it is still very useful for songwriters. Complete Ear Trainer allows musicians to develop your relative pitch to the full by improving your aural skills and your music theory knowledge. This will better many aspects of your life as a musician, be it improvisation, composition, arrangement, interpretation, singing, or playing in a band. Designed like a video game and with strong pedagogical concepts in mind, this app will make you truly master each interval, chord, scale, etc. before taking you to the next one.
- Simple app design
- A very comprehensive tool for training your ear
- You have to pay for most of the levels (fee not mentioned until this stages)
Have you ever been in the process of writing a song and got stuck on finding the next chord? Suggester quickly finds chords that work together, enables you to pick chords out of a huge catalogue, and discover classic chord progressions. Once you have saved your work, you can also drag and drop to reorder chords.
- A great way of exploring chords associated with a key
- Very flexible in the way that you use the app
Thousands of creators have written more than 4,500 songs using Songwriter Pro: Lyrics + Songs! The rhyme search feature on this app comes in handy when you just can’t seem to finish off a rhyme. The phrase search and word search features are useful when you are searching for a set of words that relate to a specific theme such as love, anger, hope, fear, etc. Songwriter Pro also includes audio recording and the ability to import your instrumentals to keep you inspired while writing, and can export your songs to iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox or email.
- Many useful tools incorporated to help you choose mood along with rhyming assistance
- Great interface
Ultimate Circle Of Fifths
Unlike other apps that focus on matching and arranging chords, Ultimate Circle of Fifths takes a different approach to this process. The chords suggested in this app is based around the circle of fifths. This approach is definitely helpful for beginners as well as songwriting pros – it’s a continuous reminder of the myriad of other harmonic options available to musicians.
- Can be used for modulation from one key to another
Tap That Tempo
Heard an infectious beat in a song and want to know the exact tempo? Tap That Tempo allows you to do just this! Simply tap along to the beat of your favourite music to measure the BPM of the song. Often apps that automatically detect a tempo aren’t always accurate, but the developer of this app claims that this way is a lot faster and more precise. This is a small utility for musicians, music producers, or people who just want to know the tempo of their musical ideas.
- A simple tool to solve a specific problem
- Users reported averaging doesn’t work
Although this app is a little on the pricey side compared to others mentioned on this list, OnSong is probably the most useful app for bands. This songwriting app allows songwriters to keep track of complex chord charts and lyric sheets and seamlessly turn them into setlists. OnSong includes AirTurn wireless Bluetooth sync and Dropbox capabilities and is great for live performances or sending tracks and setlists to your bandmates.
- Easy key and chord changes
- Makes planning sets easy
- Ability to add post-it notes to various sheets with different notes is very useful
The Academy – Мusic Gateway
Want to learn more about songwriting?
The Academy is a video-led platform that compliments all of Мusic Gateway’s other services – by supporting the professional growth of artists. All our courses are created by industry professionals, with a wealth of knowledge and expertise.
Our courses are designed to give you skills that are valuable to you as an artist. Whether you’re looking to learn a new instrument, understand how to use a specific DAW or want to get better at songwriting, we’ve got a course for you! Check it out today!
Conclusion & Advice
With a variety of free and inexpensive songwriting apps available to download, you should really download a few of the apps mentioned in this list. These apps have been introduced to aid and abet the songwriter, so give them a go! These apps could even influence you to explore new songwriting avenues and new genres of music that you wouldn’t usually dabble in. This being said, don’t go downloading every songwriting app out there, as a few mentioned above include the same or similar features.
There is also a range of other songwriting apps online that provide songwriting help, whilst also helping artists with other aspects of being a musician – from software to help you promote your music to accounting apps. For rap artists looking for rap songwriting apps, you can also check out our articles on writing freestyle rap lyrics and how to become a rapper! There are so many apps to help make everything about being a musician a lot easier and push you to become one of the greatest songwriters of all time, so which ones will you download?
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