Musical notation is tough for beginners to decipher. Pitch, tempo, and rhythm are all denoted in a seemingly cryptic language of lines and symbols, and learning dense theory can be a snooze fest. Alexei Baboulevitch, a software developer in the Bay Area, has created an iPad app called Composer’s Sketchpad that turns writing music into an intuitive process.
The app is essentially a sheet of paper in which the lines represent a certain pitch, just like a traditional musical staff (though the corresponding notes are all labeled). Using your finger or Apple Pencil, you paint lines where you’d like to “play” a note. The length of the line corresponds to how many beats it lasts. To adjust its timbre, make it either squiggly or smooth. You can then choose what instrument you’d want it to sound like (there are 100 different options, each represented on the canvas via a different color), the volume for each note, and the octave. Layer away to orchestrate a melody. It’s like Monet meets Mozart.
“My app takes a painterly approach to composing music,” Baboulevitch told The Creators Project. “You can write anything from snippets of melodies to entire symphonies using this thing. I see it as a modern take on sheet music for the mobile era.”