This year, Apple announced six new award categories, among which were the Apple Design Awards.
Indian developer Sandeep Ranade was among the 12 app and game developers who shared the award this year, and he developed an app for Hindustani classical music called NaadSadhana.
An engineer-musician from Pune, Sandeep Ranade speaks with us about his music-learning app NaadSadhana, designed to assist Indian Classical musicians in tuning, synthesizing and creating their own music. Apple Design Awards held during WWDC21 awarded the app in the Innovation category.
Ranade was recognized as the winner of the innovation award because it provides clients with a state-of-the-art experience through the unique use of Apple technologies unique to their niche.
NaadSadhana is dubbed by Apple as an “all-in-one studio-quality music app for musicians that enables them to perform and publish their music without limitations.”
What is NaadSadhana?
NaadSadhana was originally designed as an app for practicing Indian classical singing, but now it supports seven different genres of music. These include Hindustani classical, Semi-Classical, Devotional, Carnatic, Light / Bollywood, Western, and Fusion.
Through artificial intelligence and Core ML, NaadSadhana enables singers to improvise vocal lines, and provides instant feedback on how accurate the notes are, and generates a backing track in real-time based on the singer’s lines.
Initially developed as a tool for Hindustani classical music, NaadSadhana is now used by musicians of all genres for its intuitive interface and accompaniment capabilities.
Features of NaadSadhana
NaadSadhana also features harmonies, which let users choose from various music genres including Western, Bollywood, Semi-Classical, Devotional, and Fusion.
Pointing out the AI had to be top-notch for contextual analysis, Sandeep says that there was a requirement of automatic chord and backing tracks for piano, violin, and harmonium. But it was another problem area because in a raag as you are constrained by what can happen with notes in the melody.
However, when you sing a song that does not adhere to a raag, you can get into any melody or scale at any time. The app needs to make sure it isn’t playing anything incorrect, but it must play as well as it can given the context it is analysing.
Additionally, Sandeep added features where users could simultaneously record 12 tracks on the app. Besides bouncing and publishing, the app also includes a mini mixing studio. According to Sandeep, creating more percussion instruments, raags and taals for the app is an endless challenge.
Also Read: Apple WWDC 2021 Latest News
Other Apple Design Awards
The Apple Design Awards were also given to apps for inclusiveness, delight and fun, interaction, social impact, visuals and graphics. Voice Dream Reader comes in over two dozen languages and converts digital text to speech. It can read a PDF, webpage, or ebook aloud.
Other included apps:
- CARROT Weather: It’s known for its funny forecasts and powerful graphics.
- Be My Eyes: This program pairs blind people and low-vision people with volunteers from around the world who use cameras to identify objects.
- Loóna: It offers relaxing sleepscapes that combine storytelling with soothing sounds.
As discussed above, winners in each of the categories came from two categories – apps and game developers. Riot Games’ new mobile game, League of Legends: Wild Rift, won the Apple Design award for innovation under the Innovation category.
Riot Games offers many mobile-specific features such as polished touchscreen controls, an auto-targeting system to help new players get to grips with the game, and camera settings that have been customized for mobile devices.
Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations, said, “This year’s Apple Design Award winners have redefined what good app design should be.” “There is no doubt that apps and games play an essential role in our lives, and these developers embody the best of our new award categories.”
New updates by Apple for the programming community
Tim Cook, the Apple CEO, unveiled two new features this year at WWDC21: Xcode Cloud (development and delivery platform for creating high-quality and high-volume apps by combining cloud-based tools) and TestFlight (a testing platform for iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS mobile apps).
Sandeep is looking forward to using these for NaadSadhana to ensure the activity won’t slow down his system.
Due to the high costs of instruments, people who wanted to get into the cultural arts and upskilled used NaadSadhana to tune and create music during the lockdowns. Two days prior to Apple’s announcement of the Design Awards finalists, Sandeep released a new version of the app with these features.
Does Sandeep have any more apps on his bucket list?
The designer responds, “I want to explore the full potential of AI in music. Secondly, I’d like to expand it into health, spatial audio, and mindfulness, which I’m interested in, and from which many people could benefit. Surely there will be new challenges as new technology emerges; I’m excited to see where it takes us.”