Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS
iPhone Integration Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use Value Rating:
Learning to pound out rhythms on a full, professional drum kit would be a daunting task for most people and it can take years of hard practice to master. Table drumming, however -- much like its close musical cousin, the air guitar -- is a much more accessible option for the every day music lover. Everyone has probably caught themselves idly drumming away on their desk or table top with their fingers or a pen from time to time. TableDrum takes that tapping and transforms it into something that wouldn't be out of place on the next chart topping single on the radio.
The beauty of this app is that it makes something as simple as tapping your fingers on a table and makes it sounds very close to beating out rhythms on an actual set of real percussion instruments. There are lots of apps out there that lay will out a virtual drum set or an array of buttons on a device's screen and allow users to awkwardly plunk out rhythms. TableDrum, on the other hand, extends past the limitations of the user's screen and makes virtually any surface into an instrument that the user can use to make their music.
To do this, users select up to four drums or cymbals (other percussion instruments are available via in-app purchase) to use at one time. This is one of the app's biggest drawbacks because only being able to select four separate instruments at once really limits the combination of kits users can come up with. Once four instruments are selected, each instrument can be mapped to a different distinct tapping sound that the user makes by tapping a finger or pen or ring (or pretty much anything) on whatever happens to be nearby. The app then registers these sounds and instantly translates them into a cymbal crash or a snare hit.
Translating finger taps into percussive sounds might sound amazing enough to merit some praise, but this app goes one step farther. Not only does the app register the separate and distinct tapping sounds and translate them into the sounds of a real drum kit, it also registers the intensity of the sound and makes the corresponding drum sound equally loud or soft. This is all done dynamically and with little to no noticeable latency. Users will need to make sure and choose several very different sounding taps though because if the tapping sounds mapped to each instrument are too similar it can result in some inadvertent errors.
For the amateur musician or the table tapping enthusiast, this app is simply too fun and too ingenious to ignore. The interface is great and it sounds amazing when let loose.