“JamStik” looks like half a guitar. Okay, maybe a quarter. Actually, it looks like a fat fret stem, the part where you put you fingers down to shorten the strings. It costs $299 and works with your iPad, iPhone or Mac. The sound is interesting but not like a real guitar. Still, that’s okay, a lot of electronic instruments have their own sound, and sometimes we like it that way.
– At YouTube.com, search on “Evolution of Music.” It starts in the 11th century and moves through the 16th century on to the 1920s, 30s, 40s, and today. We noticed that almost half of the four minutes involves music from the 1990s on. This video has been viewed more than 44 million times.
A reader wanted to divide long audio tracks into segments for public talks. We suggested he try Audacity, a free program. It’s been downloaded over a million times. But that doesn’t mean it’s safe.
The reader got a virus, possibly from downloading it at a non-official site, but it’s hard to be sure. When he told us that, we tried downloading it ourselves, and, whaddaya know, our computer started acting up too. This was a new thing: we had downloaded Audacity twice before, both times on a computer using Windows 7, and never had any problems with it. This time we downloaded it to Windows 8, and had lots of problems. Things change.
If you Google “How to Turn a Casette Tape into MP3s,” (or click here), you’ll get a CNET article that walks you through every step. We found it after a reader asked, but we bet lot of people have old tapes they’d like to preserve and play on a computer, phone, tablet or digital player.
“The Singing Machine Mobile” is an iPhone/iPad app for karaoke singing. There are 14 free songs to sing along with, with the lyrics showing up on your screen. We tried “America the Beautiful” and a few Beach Boys hits. For Android users, there’s the “Sing! Karaoke” app by Smule.
It’s easier than ever to fill up a portable device with music to take on the road. A free Windows program called “FreeMake YouTube MP3 Converter” can collect music and voice from any YouTube video. This lets you make your own playlist from favorite movie scenes and concerts. You might also want to take up dialogue from great movie moments. We think there’s nothing better than the blues and jazz from the movie, “The Blues Brothers.” So we tested FreeMake by pulling a couple of the best scenes from that movie (they’re all great) into our computer. The program quickly and easily converted the music to digital. We picked up some voice along the way as well, getting a few […]
“Milk Music” (what an awful name) from Samsung is a free online radio app for owners of Samsung Galaxy Android phones from the Galaxy 3 on up. We love their classical station, and they have fifteen other categories, such as rock, World music, and jazz.
– iReal Pro MusicBook Play-Along ($11 for iPhone or Android) gives musicians a back-up band. It’s a favorite of the founder of online radio app, Pandora. You get 50 practice songs, in categories like jazz, classical, bluegrass and film. Thousands of other songs can be downloaded for free. You can change the instruments, their volume, and the key and tempo of the piece. Create your own songs by changing chords, or copying and pasting measures.