Victus Spiritus


Songify delights as a mobile app

11 Jul 2011


  1. one part nonsense
  2. two parts mobile voice recorder and portable synthesizer
  3. a silly but popular vocal effect
  4. a handful of simple algorithms to sample and partition a recording
  5. one part mini game to blindly time your lyrics to the automated loops
  6. and a team sharp enough to recognize and build a micro business

This weekend my bro, wife and myself all goofed off with the Songify app for iOS which I eagerly downloaded during our Hibachi/Sushi combination dinner on Friday. The app samples a recording, chops it up, and mixes the results with premade loops. The company behind the app put together a fun YouTube channel.

Some may say that an app like Songify won't hold folks' attention for more than a day or two, and they'd be right. But the app is the only the leading edge of a tsunami of automated music generation based based on minimal inputs. If Songify doesn't capitalize on the market for light music creation, inevitably other companies will rise to the challenge.

Imagine an app that provides a series of algorithmic transformations combined with beautifully composed random elements. Anyone and everyone can create and share music without detailed knowledge of tracks, timing, melody and rhythm. The quality of the produced music will vary drastically all over the spectrum from brilliant to dismal. The beauty of the app is that it encourages the creation of music and relies only on voice for control.

Far Out PB&J Combo

I was inspired by otomata not long back as well as the broader field of cellular automata, and see another opportunity for it's simplistic music synthesis. That web app provided a grid of boxes with initial cell directions. When cells collide they both turn 90 degrees and generate sound, and when active cells hit the field edge they reflect and generate sound. The initial manual (or random) arrangement of elements places the system on a trajectory into an unpredictable future state, sometimes converging and other times on an indefinite series of unbounded novelty.