iOS Music Tunes: State Of Grace by Maria Calfa-DePaul

by chip on January 1, 2013

Every week, iOS Music Tunes will feature a piece of music made with an iPad, iPhone, or iPod – directly from one of our readers. There’s a lot of artistic potential in iOS devices, and iOS Music And You readers are putting all the fantastic tools to use in creative and exciting ways. This regular feature will be an opportunity to appreciate the interesting things that our readers are doing with iOS music, get some new ideas, and kickstart the creative process. If you’ve made some music with an iPad, iPhone, or iPod that you want to share, submit it now – you can get the info HERE. Now sit back and enjoy today’s featured reader on iOS Music Tunes . . .


State of Grace
Maria Calfa-DePaul

Tell us a little bit about the piece, including what iOS devices/app you used to bring it to life.
I wrote this using my new iRig MIDI Keys Keyboard. I used SampleTank for iOS; the sounds are really rich and beautiful. I love melody and find using the keyboard so much more inviting and inspiring. SampleTank for iOS is limited in its mixing – basically what you hear is a very long improv on each of the tracks. Each one was recorded in one straight take. I’m more into capturing the moment than getting a line perfect by manipulation. Once in a while, I would love it if SampleTank had some kind of piano roll!!

I’m really a guitar player, so I love the transpose feature of the keyboard; it gives me more leeway with regards to changing keys. I don’t have to worry too much about playing anything but the white keys!! Hey, not to compare myself to the prolific songwriter Irving Berlin, but he could only play in the key of C. He had someone build him a piano with a lever that changed the key by shifting it to the left or right thereby giving him the ability to play only white keys but still create amazing songs in many different keys. So, if it was good enough for him then why fight technology…so this song is not in the key of C!

Give us a little background on yourself as a musician.
I taught myself guitar when I was a teenager and I quickly began writing songs. I loved to sing, but unfortunately I lost my voice for 8 years. I had developed a cyst on my vocal cords – I thought I would never sing again. Fortunately for me, I found an amazing doctor who performed vocal cord surgery on me in 2005; I then had extensive speech therapy with a talented SLP and I haven’t stopped singing since. Getting my voice back was a catalyst to pursuing music on a more passionate and permanent level. I put out a self produced CD called Moments of Happiness with 10 of my original songs. I sell it on CDBABY as well as iTunes and I’m proud to say I have sold 260 copies to date. My sons said my album didn’t go gold or platinum it went aluminum!! I started writing instrumentals about 4 years ago. At the time, I used Sonar as my primary DAW and utilized soft synths like Dimension Pro, Kotakt and Miraslav Orchestra. About 3 years ago I got a Mac and started using Logic.

What completely changed my music making was being given an iPad by my very generous brother a year ago this month. I have written more instrumental music in this year then all the years since I started writing. I just love getting new apps because it jump starts my creativity. If I write a song with an app, I feel it was money well spent. I also love the choices of apps out there. If I want to do more synth type music or experimental, then I go straight to PPG WaveGenerator. That is a beast of an app; it’s so much fun crafting sounds in and then utilizing copy and paste into either GarageBand or Music Studio . . . then it comes to life. Audiobus is another game changer.

I also started serious guitar instruction with a course called Learn and Master Guitar. I have grown by leaps and bounds in the year and three months since starting this course. I was honored to be given the title student of the month about a year ago and as of this writing, I am on Session 14 out of 20. When I taught myself guitar as a teenager I only learned open chords. This course and the input of the instructor Steve Krenz has changed my musical life. I can now read music and have learned to play in a variety of styles. When my head is spinning from a particular hard lesson on the guitar, I turn to my iOS devices to relax and create music in a different way but no less rewarding!!

Why do you use iOS devices to make music?
I love the portability of using my iPhone, iPod or iPad. I hated being stuck in my basement and yet I needed to do music. Now, I can do music ANYWHERE. Just today I was getting snow tires put on my car and while I waited I wrote a song using my iPhone and iRig Keys! I also love to be outside and once again I can do that with iOS devices – I would rather be outside then inside.

I have another kind of quirky reason for writing on iOS – I kind of like the limitations. It forces me to think differently and find work arounds that I wouldn’t normally encounter. I don’t know why, but I am much more creative using iOS then the Mac or PC. I also love how the iPad has changed into an instrument so to speak. I just downloaded Samplr and I’m just amazed at the creativity and the possibilities. Same with my favorite drum app DrumJam. What an amazing way for me (a non drummer) to create interesting drum parts. My son is a jazz drummer but that skill is not in my bag of tricks!!

Give us a quick tip – an idea that has helped you make your iOS music making more productive, fun, inspiring, or creative.
I think the key is to take whatever time you have on your hands and decide which app would provide you with the most bang for your buck in that period of time. Focus on that one app and just have fun with it. I always go with my gut and continually remind myself to take chances with writing; if I don’t like it I can just hit that magic delete button. I think that’s a big problem for a lot of people who are afraid of computers in general. I always figure there’s usually an undo somewhere and most of the time just rebooting solves a lot of problems. Another thing: Google is your friend. I have gotten so many questions answered with a simple google search. YouTube as well. I have learned so much from the tutorials that have been recorded about the various apps.

Give us a link to a place where we can hear more of your music and learn more about you.
You can check out more music from Maria Calfa-DePaul on her SoundCloud site. You can also check out either of her two websites HERE or HERE. She also has a YouTube channel where you can see and hear her perform – check that out HERE.

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Check Out More iOS Music Tunes:
iOS Music Tunes: Go It Alone by Evan Reed
iOS Music Tunes: Christmas Music Made On An iPad And iPhone
iOS Music Tunes: Funking Acoustics by Craig Heckrath
iOS Music Tunes: Frozen Trees by Graham Hanks

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Are you making music on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod? Do you want to share your music with the iOS Music And You community? Beginner, intermediate, or advanced – it doesn’t matter. Just fill out a few quick questions and send me a link to your music. We’ll feature you in one of these Monday spots! Don’t hesitate – let’s hear the great work that you’ve been doing with iOS Music. Get the details HERE.

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