Microsoft Songsmith: bad music made easy

It's been a big year for software products designed to dumb down the process of making music for entertainment purposes.

It's been a big year for software products designed to dumb down the process of making music for entertainment purposes. Products like Apple's "Magic Garageband" and Guitar Hero: World Tour's "Music Studio" have given wannabe musicians across the globe their collective songwriting fix- without the need to even learn an instrument. Being a musician myself, a small part of me wishes software like the aforementioned didn't exist. These kinds of programs are admittedly fun for a few laughs, but being devoid of much of the creativity or discipline involved in actually writing a song, they make me a bit fearful for future generations.

Think I'm being a bit dramatic? After all, Guitar Hero is a game- it's supposed to be fun. And the non-Magic features of Garageband can actually be really useful to musicians. Well check out Microsoft Songsmith- the latest head-scratcher bestowed upon us by our beloved Redmond overlords. This one is almost guaranteed to make you share my cynicism for the future.

I played around with Songsmith for a while and it's truly every bit as silly and useless as the video makes it look. For one, as I'm sure you've noticed, the midi samples are very fake sounding; the arrangements very goofy. The software is in fact easy to use, but thanks mostly to its lack of features and song customization options. You can choose from preset song genres, the tempo of the song, and adjust the mysterious "Happy" and "Jazzy" sliders, but that is about it. If you were hoping to change drum patterns, instruments, arrangements, or time signatures, you'll have to export your song to MIDI and edit it manually in a program like Logic or Reason. Finally, chord detection in Songsmith is so-so at best. If you stick to a simple and fairly predictable vocal melody it follows pretty well, but throw anything remotely out of the ordinary at it and Songsmith yields some pretty awkward sounding results.

Does anyone remember when music was made by humans?

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mike Keller

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?