Musicdevelopments RapidComposer by Tommy Zai
RapidComposer v3 by MusicDevelopment is an inspiring music composition tool.
The purchase, download, install, and authorization process is simple. There are no annoying protective devices needed. Upon initial launch, users will notice a redesigned sleek, flat, modern GUI with color in just the right places. My eyes are fried from years of eMusic and normally twitch after a few minutes of screen time, but not with the new version of RapidComposer. It’s quite calming and comfortably compelling. Buttons are presented in 3D and/or have a slight shadow effect, making the interface easy on the eyes and inviting to use. I realize this software is designed for both Windows and Mac operating systems, but at the risk of annoying PC users — RapidComposer v3 is very Apple-like in appearance and feel. I consider that a good thing — very few complain about the look of Logic and Garageband! If the look does not suit the users taste, the color scheme is completely customizable. Overall, the arrangement of items throughout the interface helps to create a simple, effective, enjoyable workflow.
WHY I USE THIS!
RapidComposer has accurately been called, "composer-friendly.” When I first installed v2, I was an original eMusician trying to get back into the biz after many years away. Whoa! Things really changed. Nowadays almost anything is possible on a laptop. Yet, each year, creating music on a computer has become more and more complex. The gap between idea and song has never been wider. It's so easy to get tangled inside a web of options. Enter RapidComposer! Once you understand that RC is not a DAW, but something unique — it's really fast! I dig the workflow and the features. When it comes to creating music, I'm a visual guy, and this is a very visual audio application. RC is also educational. Users will greatly improve their understanding of music theory without realizing they were studying. It’s a sneaky little app that will help users become better musicians, producers, and composers. RapidComposer has a moderate learning curve. It’s a deep program with tons of flexibility and creative options. I would develop carpel tunnel syndrome before I could complete a comprehensive review of all the things this app does, so I’ll highlight a few of the groovier features:
Phrase Generators are found inside one of the six composition tab icons (Scales, Chords, Progressions, Phrases, Rhythm, Variations, Instruments).
I discovered this cool component after watching a video tutorial by Chris Caulder. He created an excellent, easy to watch series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGMnvWLf5KY. Instead of rehashing Chris’ words, check out the first two parts of his tutorial. That should be enough to spark your interest. Speaking of tutorials, there are also many user videos available on the MusicDevelopments website: RapidComposer Videos
2. MELODY HARMONIZATION
One of the coolest features of RapidComposer is its ability to harmonize the user’s original melody. I have a knack for coming up with melodies, but I’m terrible at selecting chords and determining a chord structure for my tunes. Luckily, RapidComposer is there to help. According to a fellow RC user, “Harmonizing *melodies works beautifully (according to the selected Chord Rules).” For more on Melody Harmonization, go to:
Tutorial: Auto-Harmonization In RapidComposer
3. IMPORT STANDARD MIDI FILES
Another amazing feature of RapidComposer is its ability to import and convert Standard MIDI files into RC phrases. This is an extremely powerful feature that allows users to construct a large library of phrases for later assembly into songs. This feature is reminiscent of Apple loops, which are stored in a loop library for drag-n-drop into audio tracks.
• Clean, modern, customizable GUI (colors, button shapes, borders and shading) with preset themes
• Small footprint (57MB)
• MIDI drag 'n drop in and out of DAWs
• Excellent chord detection
• MIDI parts called "phrases" are used almost like audio loops, but MIDI data (chords, notes, etc.).
• Powerful Phrase Editor (generation, morphing, chord progression, etc.)
• Multi track composition with a button to randomize creative patterns
• Ability to create personal a*Progression and Rhythm database
• Wonderful Chord Suggestion function
• Ability to create/save/use Chord Rules
• Deep database with lots of chords, progressions, scales, MIDI, etc.
• CPU efficient
• Stable (I have never had issues with v2 freezing or crashing, but others have. That being said, the new version has been very stable)
• Friendly customer support via forums and website
• Responsive developer — reacts quickly to inquiries and feature requests; lots of updates
Note: After extensive demoing and research, I ran my findings by a much more experienced RapidComposer user. According to Yıldırım, “Importing MIDI files and building a custom Phrase Library are [vital] features that require a little more experience to use effectively, but they are well worth mentioning.”
NEW FEATURES I DIG
Keyboard shortcuts can now be customized. With the new version, the Idea Tool is integrated into the main composition workspace. The Rhythm Browser is quite handy. It allows rhythms to be dragged from one phrase to the other or from the Rhythm Browser to Phrases. Rhythm Editing is greatly improved and includes new variations. There is also a new Rhythm Generator (Euclidean) and a new Phrase Generator (Arpeggiator).
• MIDI Event Editor
• Although audio tracks can be added and appear like phrases, they are limited to 16-bit. According to the developer, there is a plan to update audio support in the near future.
RapidComposer is a remarkable composition tool for musicians. It's often classified as a sequencer, which is technically accurate, but it's so much more! To quote another user, “The potential of this program is VAST.” There are many cool built-in features and tricks designed to help musicians, producers, and songwriters compose songs. It's not meant for mixing and mastering — that's what your DAW does. This thing is for sketching out stuff, and it does it really well. It cost a couple hundred dollars, which IMO is money well spent. I am excited to be creative again. Two thumbs up and a big virtual hug. Thank you MusicDevelopment for developing this fantastic creative environment.