Numerous apps allow Apple iOS users to make music with user-friendly interfaces and visual menu systems that require zero knowledge of songwriting or structure. However, the recently release eDrops, a free download for iPhone and iPod (and selling for $1.99 as eDrops Pro on the iPad), is among the first to borrow its play mechanics from pinball machines.
A music creation app that requires no actual musical talent, eDrops generates sounds as balls careen about a blue-and-pink-tinged psychedelic backdrop, producing custom sonic tones. Capable of being assigned synth, snares and kicks, bumpers' effects can also be impacted by modifiers, which can be inserted onto the screen to change the resulting acoustics. Fiddling with objects' placement and patterns allows users to idly experiment with loops, textures and patterns, producing random sets of noise or more rhythmic instrumentals.
More an interactive toy than a video game or portable production studio, the visualizer also provides ambient cues and could prove an interesting conversation piece when demonstrated. However, the general lack of instruction may perplex, and not all will see the value in springing for the Pro version, which piles on even more sounds, notes and effects. Described by creator Noe Guerrero as a way to "get super creative," most will see it simply as a novel way to kill 10 minutes while waiting for the bus.
Then again, that appears to be exactly what the app is aiming for: with several spin-offs, including eDrops Nature and eDrops Classic (available for $0.99), longevity doesn't seem to be an essential part of the pro bono app's business plan.