Sound-Sampling Apps

Here are some apps that feature simple and interesting ways to record and sample sounds.  For each app we suggest three simple exercises to help students explore their particular method of sound-sampling.

Keezy  (free on the App Store)

“You get 8 colored tiles. You can record a sound into each one. After recording, tap the tile to play it back, or press & hold to loop.”


  • Exercise 1:  Record 4 short percussive sounds in Keezy and play them back as your personal drum machine
  • Exercise 2:  Record 4 longer sounds that have a different sustained pitches – then play them back in a variety of chords.
  • Exercise 3:  Make a song by combining your percussive sounds with your sustained pitches.  Re-record your sounds if you like to experiment with different types of sounds.

SampleToy  (£1.49 on the App Store)

“Once you’ve recorded a sound, use the main area of the screen to play it back at different pitches (up to 5 fingers at a time). You can crop the sound by dragging a selection over the waveform.   The y-axis is pitch of the sound, and the x axis is configurable to control filters or envelope.”

Soundtoy is a quick and easy way to introduce the concept of granular synthesis – where recorded sound is looped and adjusted in pitch to create new soundscapes.

  • Exercise 1:  Record yourself saying a word. Move your finger around the screen to hear the word at different pitches.
  • Exercise 2: Record yourself saying a sentence.  Highlight different parts of the soundwave to hear how different consonants and vowels sound when you play with them in Sampletoy.
  • Exercise 3: Record yourself singing a single short note.  Play a popular tune by dragging your original sound to a series of new pitches.

Vio  (free on the App Store)

“Transform your voice […]  Set the mood using one of Vio’s new color palettes. Then, pinch, drag, swirl and swipe to discover new transformations and shape new sounds […]  Adjustable keys, scales, tempos and more allow you to tailor your presets and define your own sound.”

  • Exercise 1:  Using the default settings on Vio, sing a popular tune (wear headphones).
  • Exercise 2:  Have a conversation with a friend and listen to how Vio changes the sound of the voices – between yourself and your friend try to describe the echoes and pitch changes.
  • Exercise 3:  Try the other settings of Vio and hear how they change the sound of your voice in song and in conversation.