Any songwriter will be familiar with this scenario: I’ve got worn out notebooks full of ideas for songs stuffed in every drawer in my house. I’ve got stacks of crumpled paper with two or three lines to an unfinished chorus and my phone message pad has random chord progressions scribbled all over it.
Songwriters tend to stop the world for that moment when the inspiration hits, but often times, the inspiration is short lived and all you manage to do is get a half a song scratched out onto a napkin. Even worse, when you tell your band mates about the song you came up with, you realize you forgot that scrap of paper and don’t remember what you wrote. VCVCBC by Okeedoke Studios tries to organize the creative process by giving you a place to scribble down your ideas and a way to share it with band mates.
To start writing your song idea, pick the instrument that first inspired the idea. For example, if you have a phrase stuck in your head that you think could be the beginning of the perfect chorus, tap the microphone icon and write the lyrics down. If you already have some chords in mind, tap the icon on the right side of the screen that looks like a piece of paper to “Activate” a new song. In this window, you can add guitar chords directly above the lyrics. Just touch and drag the note you want to the word you want. It looks just like guitar tablature.
Once you’ve got some lyrics and a couple of chords down, you may have a melody in mind. Tap the music note icon and a virtual keyboard will appear. Here, you can “hum” the melody by using the keyboard. When you know what you want it to sound like, flip the switch on top from “play” to “record” and capture the tune.When you’ve finished the melody, it will show up next to the line of lyrics or guitar chords that you’ve already laid out.
Next, you can add the basics of the drumbeat that is in your head. Drummers speak their own language. When they tell you what they think a beat should sound like, it goes something like this: “ What if that part went, a-tapa-toopa-tapa-tapa-toopa-tapa-toopa…” What does that even mean? The drum feature in this app lets you simulate the way you might tap on a tabletop or the steering wheel. That way, you can get your idea down, without having to explain it in “drummer speak.”
After you’ve written a few lines of lyrics, laid down a couple of chords and a melody and tapped out a simple drum beat, the song is ready to be shared with band mates. All you have to do is send the notes to everyone through email. The app will turn it into a PDF document and send it along.
This is not a song-writing app, it is a songwriter’s app. You can’t create songs with multiple edited tracks. You can’t play guitar on top of drums. You can’t even play back what you have created as a full song. All this app is meant to do is let you capture and share your song ideas. For its purpose, this app does well. The problem that I have is that it is unnecessarily complicated. The point is to be able to quickly jot down ideas, but honestly, it took too long to get through the process. I had to tap here, drag there, add this, record that. The app works great, but for the effort you put out for just some lines of lyrics and guitar tab, it seems like the user interface should be more streamlined.
What I liked: I love being able to combine lyrics and guitar chords. It helps musicians who don’t read musical notation to see where changes should go.
What I didn’t like: This app is way too expensive. Since it is basically a really fancy notebook, the premium price seems unjustified for the end result.
To buy or not to buy: I hate having to say this, but the high price tag makes this app not recommendable. It works well and offers a service that is useful for songwriters. This is a good app that would help any songwriter get organized, but at $9.99 it is just too much money.
- Name: VCVCBC
- Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
- Category: Music
- Developer: Okeedokee Studios
- Price: $9.99