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How to make music on your iPad using ReBirth

You don't have to look any further than your iPad to build a pounding electro tune. Follow this guide to using ReBirth and get producing.

Already a class-leading tablet, the iPad is great for web browsing, sending emails and even playing the occasional game of Angry Birds. Apple's jack-of-all trades is also a great tool for music making -- with a wide range of apps making use of its expansive touchscreen to great effect.

For this tutorial we will use ReBirth, as it's one of the most complete packages available, and one of the best ways to produce a whole track without too much effort.

So, want to get your creative juices flowing and forge your own tunes? Here's how!

Getting started

To get your leg up on the producing ladder, you'll need an iPad running iOS 3.2 or better with at least 30MB of space. You'll also need access to the App store and £10.49 of credit on your account. Quality headphones are a must, so you can hear every detail of your sonic canvas.

Installing is a painless experience -- one of the benefits of using Apple's own store. Click here to get started. Once the App is downloaded, you're ready to go.

ReBirth on iPad

Why ReBirth?

There are countless ways to turn your iPad into a music factory but one of the best ways is by using Propellerhead Software's ReBirth. Made by the developers of Reason, one of the most respected Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) around, ReBirth packs all the power of its more advanced sibling into an easy-to-use application.

Available on iPad and iPhone, ReBirth throws in all you need to make a complete, professional sounding track with drums, sound effects and an array of synths -- all easily accessible from its intuitive Graphical User Interface (GUI).

With a detailed user interface, countless knobs and buttons, ReBirth may at first seem like a dauntingly complex program. But creating a track is easier than it seems. The wealth of buttons and knobs will come in handy when it comes to putting your own original touches on productions.

First steps

ReBirth packs in faithful recreations of some of dance music's most popular instruments, including the Roland TB-303 Bass Line synth and the Roland TR-808 and 909 drum machines. The backbone of any great dance track, it's these three instruments that will help you lay down the foundations of your own production.

Creating a track is often an organic, unordered experience, but many people find it easiest to start with a drum loop or melody. ReBirth utilises a looping system -- meaning you can modify drum patterns and melodies until things sound just right.

Once things sound solid, you can make full use of ReBirth's many tweaking parameters. Use the iPad's touchscreen to accurately change the pitch, intonation and countless other properties of your chosen instruments.

It's difficult to know where to start when confronted with a wall full of controls but don't lose heart and reach for the off switch. The only way to get to grips with it is to have a play around to see what effects you can produce. Of course, you don't start cycling without a set of stabilisers, so below is a video showing simply how to take your tentative first steps in building up a drum and synth groove. 

Sharing your work

Once you have a track worthy to show your friends, ReBirth provides several ways of getting your music out to the masses. Unlike many other programs, ReBirth provides a straightforward route for liberating your tracks from your iPad, and allows you to share your sonic masterpiece to Facebook or Twitter using just a few clicks.


Although I chose ReBirth for its ease of use and straightforward operation, there are many other ways to make sounds on your iPad. Native Instruments' iMaschine and Propellerhead's own Figure make it even easier to create beats -- albeit at the expense of customisation and creative possibilities.

In addition, those with an existing production set-up can turn the iPad into a standalone synth instrument, with apps like Moog's Animoog using the iPad's touchscreen to create limitless dark and twisted sounds. Happy producing!