Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS
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Barcodes. UPCs. Whatever they're called, it's hard to think that those boring black and white stripes that we find on almost everything these days could have the least amount of musical potential. Barcodas is a simple little app that takes those barcodes and turns them in to something both whimsical and melodic.
Using Barcodas to scan in any barcode, short melodies are spontaneously created. Once a code is scanned the melody will start to play in a twinkling music box-like tone. From there, the scanned melody can be transformed in several ways.
Each scan starts by using notes from the major harmonic scale to create the melody. The scale can then be changed so that the melody uses notes from several different harmonic scales including the dorian, phrygian, lydian, mixolydian, locrian, semitone, and minor scales. The melody can also be sped up or slowed down via a clever little barcode themed slider.
Using Facebook, melodies created in Barcodas can be shared with friends. Anyone wanting to hear the melodies will need to have the app as well, though. There is currently no way for the melodies to be played outside of the app.
The fun in this app comes from running around and scanning every barcode in sight. Seeing which ones create happy light melodies, and which ones create something more mournful, or soulful, or mysterious. Altering the speeds and scales of each melody until it is just right can provide a few minutes of some much needed creative release as well.
The tinny music box tones can get a bit monotonous after sustained use of the app. The inclusion of some other instrument choices is sorely missed. Even the ability to modulate the pitch would be a welcome option. Still, scanning barcodes and hearing the result will put a smile on most faces.