iPhone music app comes up with endless, catchy song ideas

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fortamento iPhone music song ideas
It doesn't look like much, but then, neither did Keith Richards.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Are you a musician struggling to come up with song ideas? Are you a non-musician who just wants to come up with a neat melody for that cat video? Then you should check out Fortamento, a melody generation app for iPhone which is both incredibly easy, and surprisingly deep.

Stuck for song ideas

Not all musicians wake from a drug-muddled dream, record an idea onto tape, and then rise in the morning to find the riff for (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction waiting for them. Those moments do happen, but they are rare. More often, a melody idea is stumbled across. Guitarists noodle on their instruments until they find an idea, for instance.

But this can be frustrating. You may find yourself playing the same old patterns. Also, an instrument has its own patterns that almost force you to play a certain way. Try transcribing a Miles Davis trumpet solo for the guitar and you’ll see just how different the instruments are. Fortamento breaks you out of this rut by coming up with ideas for you. It generates a four bar chord progressions, with a melody laid over the top, and the results are surprisingly fresh.

Fortamento iPhone music app

You'll be amazed at how good Fortamento's song ideas are.
You’ll be amazed at how good Fortamento’s song ideas are.
Photo: Fortamento

The app itself is very simple. You can just launch it and tap the big central button to generate a new idea. The play button plays it, the reverse button plays it backwards, and you can save ideas you like to a playlist. But that’s just the beginning. For example, you can choose the instrument used to play both the melody and the harmony (chords), with a decent and eclectic range of instruments, from piano, to banjo, marimba, vibraphone, electric piano, and even a choir.

You can also tweak the tempo, and the key of the song.

That’s it for settings, but you can also edit the melody directly. To do so, you just tap one of the four bars (each of which has its own panel in the main view), and the panel expands into a full-screen grid, with the notes represented as dots. Just tap to add, remove, and move dots, to fine-tune the melody.

You can also export there resulting song as a MIDI file, which lets you either turn it into musical notation, or to load it onto

Useful inspiration

I’ve tried a few apps that generate musical patterns, but none has come close to Fortamento. The patterns are usable, and unexpected. I would never have come up with any of them by plinking away on the guitar, and that’s exactly what makes them so interesting when I do play them one guitar.

If you’re a musician, and you have an iPhone, you should buy Fortamento immediately.

Price: $0.99

Download: Fortamento from the App Store (iOS)