Microsoft Songsmith

If you'd love to compose a song but don't know how to write music, Microsoft's Songsmith music-creation software could be just the ticket.

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Microsoft Songsmith
  • Microsoft Songsmith
  • Microsoft Songsmith
  • Microsoft Songsmith

Pros

  • A breeze to use

Cons

  • A bit limited for creating professional-quality tunes

Bottom Line

Microsoft Songsmith is designed for those who love composing songs but don't have the knack of playing musical instruments. It's a bit limited for creating professional-quality tunes but, as far as we understand, this app wasn't meant for experts. Songsmith is far more suitable for amateur singers or for family entertainment. It has all the needed tools to quickly create music for your song, easily and without serious musical skills (although a bit of singing skill helps). For something that's still being developed by Microsoft Research, and is a completely new concept, it worked flawlessly and without much difficulty.

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If you'd love to compose a song but don't know how to write music, Microsoft's Songsmith music-creation software could be just the ticket. Songsmith helps you create original music for a song that you've composed by adding instrumental accompaniment. This new concept seems to have captured everybody's imagination, so we put Microsoft Songsmith to the test.

The interface and features set

One of the many things we liked about Microsoft Songsmith was how easy it is to use. It's designed in such a way that even people with limited tech know-how can start playing around without much of a struggle.

The first time you fire up Microsoft Songsmith, the song starter window guides you through your first step of song creation. Here you'll be given the choice of selecting a song style from among the 30 provided (rock, hip-hop, pop, dance and so on). You can buy more styles online by clicking on the Get More Styles button.

Next step is to set the tempo. The interface has an intuitive feel to it with large buttons and tabs and most of the tools for editing your song are placed in one convenient place — the main working area.

Creating the music

With the emphasis on ease of use, it wasn't hard to start creating our own songs. It was as easy as clicking on the Record button, then belting out a number to the drum backing track. At the end of the recording, the song is played back with suitable musical instruments accompaniment.

There's no doubt that the software was a breeze to use, but after playing around with it we found that the result depends upon the quality of the singing too; Songsmith didn't throw up impressive results if the singing was out of tune or not sung to a strong rhythm. If the song isn't sung properly, it may not do a good job of providing the music.

Editing the song after recording consists of changing the style and the chords per bar, and adjusting the Happy/Jazzy bar to fine-tune the mood of the song. Remember that the tempo cannot be modified once the song is recorded. If you're comfortable with adjusting the instruments being played, clicking on the Mixer button will give you more options to tweak around with your song. Here you can select the individual instrument track (drum, bass, piano, guitar and strings) that you want in the song, the style mood can even be set here (Light or Lively). As with the styles, you can buy more instruments online.

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