Browsers are no longer just about display web pages and cat GIFs. Browser makers are extending both their software and the Web itself to accommodate all sorts of content and interaction, some of them more sensible than others. Google has tons of Chrome Experiments aimed to both show off and push the Chrome browser to its limits. It’s latest, however, is probably the most fun and addictive. Chrome Music Lab’s Song Maker is exactly what it sounds but it sounds even better when you actually use it.
Garage Band it ain’t, but Song Maker is more approachable than Apple’s professional tool. Which is, of course, not surprising since Google’s Chrome Music Lab, launched in 2016, is geared more towards producing educational experiments. But you can still make something nifty out of this one.
Unlike the other existing Music Lab experiences, Song Maker seems straight out of a synthesizer program. Of course, a simplified one where you can almost do no wrong and are guaranteed to produce something at least interesting. You have notes taking up the main area of the grid, with two rows for beats at the bottom. You can pick out your instrument of choice, tempo, and even hook up a MIDI keyboard if you’re that savvy.
Song Maker barely has any manual and encourages exploration rather than hand holding. You can “activate” a note by pressing Backspace and traveling all over the grid with your cursor keys. Or you can simply “paint” a masterpiece with your mouse and hear what it looks like.
The tool requires no login and may even work on other browsers, but your mileage may vary. And although you might be able to create some nifty sounding tunes, there’s no way to actually export it. You can “save” it, but all it does is just give you a link you can share to load your work.