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STOP US IF this sounds fa­mil­iar. You’ve had a bril­liant idea for a tune, or some beats, and you’re painstak­ingly try­ing to play it, try­ing and fail­ing to find the right chords or notes. It’s a real pain, so say hello to HumBeatz. If you can hum it, whis­tle it or beat­box it, HumBeatz can play it and turn it into MIDI data.

HumBeatz is based on two kinds of au­dio: hums and, uh, beats. Choose which one you want to use, tap record and it starts lis­ten­ing. When you’re done cap­tur­ing your tune, it au­to­mat­i­cally analy­ses the pitch or per­cus­sive sounds and trans­lates it into mu­si­cal data. Your hums be­come pi­ano notes; and your beats be­come drum ma­chine pads.

It’s very clever. The pitch recog­ni­tion is pretty ac­cu­rate, and on the odd oc­ca­sion when HumBeatz gets it wrong, it’s easy to find the right note. The beat recog­ni­tion is bril­liant, too, turn­ing our de­cid­edly un­spec­tac­u­lar “Boom-tssh!” hu­man beat­box­ing into proper beats. You can eas­ily change which drum trig­gers are used, too, so if you’d rather have a hand­clap than a snare, or a tam­bourine in­stead of a hi-hat, it’s just a mat­ter of tap­ping the beat and then the pad you want it to play. You can also re­duce the sen­si­tiv­ity if you find the app is putting in a few more beats than you’d like, and there’s a teach­ing mode so you can train the app to look for cer­tain sounds.

Where it gets re­ally good is in its abil­ity to loop your tracks over two bars and stack up to four tracks to­gether, so you can jam with your­self. You might put the beats on one track, the main melody in an­other, a har­mony in the third track and a bassline in the fourth. Hav­ing done that, you can then do a rough mix and add re­verb, or you can ex­port the mu­si­cal data in MIDI for­mat for use in Garage­band, Logic or the au­dio app of your choice. Be­cause it’s MIDI, it can play any­thing MIDI-con­trolled, so you can sing what turns out to be a synth lead or a string sec­tion, or come up with beats for an 808 or one of Logic’s in­cred­i­bly re­al­is­tic Drum­mers.

This is a fan­tas­tic tool for cap­tur­ing mu­si­cal ideas and turn­ing them into tunes.

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