This is a guest blog entry from Karin Gerber.

One may view the iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad strictly as telecommunication devices or as a platform for listening to audio and watching visual media, but that’s not the only reason to own one, especially if you’re a musician.  Did you also know that the applications on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad are used as musical instruments by both amateurs and professionals?

Jordan Rudess, keyboard player in the well-respected progressive-rock band, Dream Theater, has found a way of implementing these iOS devices, making them into musical instruments he uses on stage and in the studio.  He is currently becoming the leading voice for the music application development community.

Rudess has created or assisted in the making of several music apps aimed at turning iPhones and iPads into a new class of musical instruments. (via Billboard)

Two musical applications Rudess helped to create are the JR Hexatone and the MorphWiz (also note that MorphWiz won first place in the category of “Best Music Creation App” in the Billboard Music App Awards.)

“The JR Hexatone focused on rhythmic pattern sound generators.  It’s a sequencer, but different than most drum machines… The biggest drawback is that it’s a bit challenging to use”, says Rudess. (via Billboard)

MorphWiz is a both an expressive musical instrument and an exciting visual experience.  Created by Jordan Rudess and Kevin Chartier, MorphWiz is enjoyable for beginners and seasoned musicians alike… Rudess elaborates:  “I’m finding out from people that what is important to them about MorphWiz is the fact that in addition to being a deep audio-visual music making experience with so many possibilities, it is also an experience that is really fun for anybody interested in playing with sound and visuals.  My customers range from toddlers just putting their hands on the surface and hearing and seeing cool things, to the professional musician, who realizes that MorphWiz offers a next generation type musical control for their music making.” (via MorphWiz.com)

Here is a video example of the MorphWiz app on an iPad:

Rudess is also involved in creating non-musical iOS applications, such as the newly released SketchWiz.

SketchWiz turns your camera into your personal sketch artist (basically any iOS device that has a camera can use it).  You can view your world as pencil, pen, chalk, or charcoal sketches, and you can save your masterpieces to your photo library. (via DreamTheater.net)

Another band that started making headlines recently utilizing their iPhones as musical instruments is Brooklyn-based Atomic Tom

In a video posted to YouTube on Oct. 15, 2010, the group performed its single “Take Me Out” on a New York subway using just iPhones… Atomic Tom used four different iPhone applications (Shred, Drum Meister, Pocket Guitar and Microphone) to recreate their respective instruments. (via Billboard)

With so many applications to choose from, it’s comforting to know there are still high-quality, highly-useful apps out there that will give you hours of entertainment while not breaking the bank.  Instead of buying bulky synthesizers or other instruments to create music, now all you need is your iOS device, an application like MorphWiz, and an eclectic imagination.  Both MorphWiz and SketchWiz are available through iTunes, and you can follow Jordan Rudess on Twitter.  You can also follow Atomic Tom on Twitter and Facebook.