Magic Fiddle [rating: 4/5]
Magic Fiddle is exactly what its app title suggests. Another musical instrument app for your iPad. But this time based around a more unlikely instrument, the Fiddle. And yes, it really does work better if you hold it like a fiddle!
Magic Fiddle comes from Smule, who have already had a lot of success with their “Magic Piano” app. No prizes for guessing what that app does!
When you fire up Magic Fiddle the first thing it shows on the screen is its strings, and a message greeting you, saying “Hello. I am your fiddle.” How can you not love an app like that? You then get to name it.
In many ways the song book mode from Magic fiddle reminds me of Guitar Hero, as that is how it teaches you to play the tunes in its initial repertoire of 20 songs. The fret of the fiddle is represented on screen with bright friendly colours, and the notes you need to play drift across the screen and onto the strings, so that you can hit and hold the right notes for the right amount of time. With a little practise you can get quite proficient, quite quickly!
The best way to illustrate playing is with Smule’s own video here.
The use of multi-touch, and the iPad’s unique features and dimensions make Magic Fiddle work superbly. Not just because you can have many notes going at once, but because you can also control your bowing, plucking, vibrato and glissando. And the fiddles voices are programmed to respond to those inputs from you uniquely. So no two people will sound quite the same when playing.
All in all this makes you feel more like you are holding a musical instrument, than playing a synth. The latter being what most music keyboard based apps feel like. No matter how good they are. In many ways, with this app, Smule have hit the sweet spot that made Ocarina for the iPhone such a breakthrough music app.
Having said that, I actually found I started using the app with the iPad flat on my lap. But once I got into playing with it I found that holding the iPad like a fiddle actually works better, and really makes you feel like you are one with the instrument. Especially when it comes to more complex songs, and effects.
There are many ways you can use the fiddle. In solo mode, just to play. Or from the Songbook where you can have the fiddle guide you, and accompany you with its “Magic Piano”. There is also the opportunity to listen to other fiddle player’s best song renditions, all selectable on a world globe. And in that social networking part of the app there is the possibility to unlock achievements, and show off to other Magic Fiddle players.
Smule plan to release more songs in downloadable packs in future. And I think that is fair, as well as something to look forward to, despite personally wanting a few more songs in the original app, or perhaps just more variety. In any case at the price it is, Magic Fiddle more than delivers on content. So I should’t complain at all.
Magic Fiddle is great to play with in a small group of friends, and share your iPad around. But I am also looking forward to a couple of people I know getting a copy each, and then us all playing together.
If you like making music. This is an instrument you want in your iPad music box.
Magic Fiddle for iPad [St. Lawrence String Quartet]
- Look, feel and friendliness of the app.
- Instant Gratification, as well as lasting appeal.
- Social Features.
- I would have liked a few more songs in the initial app.
- The sound of an electric Violin is not my favourite sound, so one or two different voices would be nice.
$2.99 (View in iTunes)
Updated: Nov 10, 2010
Current Version: 1.0.1
1.0.1 (iOS 4.0 Tested)
© 2010 Smule Inc.
Requirements:Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later