NodeBeat isn’t your typical music maker. It’s a sequencer filled with floating orbs, pulsing lights and shifting hues. But don’t be alarmed: It may look like a psychedelic circuit board, but it’s actually really easy to use.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating your first song:
Get to know the Generator
After launching the app, select Create on the menu that pops up. You should see a strip of coloured circles running down the left side of your screen (if you don’t, tap the circle with a plus sign in the middle near the bottom right).
The top three coloured circles with the plus signs in the middle are known as Generators. They drive the pulse of the song. Drag one anywhere on the screen and after a moment it will start to flash. There won't be any sound yet, but that’s normal.
Drop a note
Next, drag one of the smaller coloured circles – which are Notes – close to a Generator so a thin line appears between them. Each pulse of the Generator will send a spark down the line and trigger a sound once it hits a Note. (Don't hear anything? Make sure your volume is turned up.)
In NodeBeat, the colour of the circle determines what note is played, while its distance from the Generator determines when it plays.
The best thing to do is just experiment. Drop different-coloured circles anywhere on the screen and you’ll get the idea. And rest assured that everything will sound great because the notes are limited to a harmonious scale by default. You can’t make a mistake.
Mess with success
Now that you’ve established a nice groove, try modifying it. Tap Audio, then Change Scale, to give your song a completely different feel (Major Pentatonic, Minor Pentatonic and Oriental are good options to start with). While you’re here, select a different Waveform and see how that affects the sound.
Take the lead
You can also play a synthlike lead with NodeBeat. Run your finger up and down the screen to check it out. The app will play up to three notes at once, letting you create cool harmonies and chords.