Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Typedrummer (Screenshot: Typedrummer.com)

“But I don’t know how to make music. I can’t even play an instrument.” The musically hopeless and incompetent have been making lame excuses like this since time immemorial. Well, no more. San Francisco developer and designer Kyle Stetz has taken away that tired alibi by creating Typedrummer, an app that creates beats based on ordinary ASCII keystrokes. Thanks to Stetz, anyone with fingers and access to a keyboard can create catchy, hypnotic rhythms. The site is eminently intuitive and easy even for beginners to use. Against a beige backdrop is a white rectangle that invites visitors to “type something.” Type a letter into that rectangle, and Typedrummer responds with a corresponding percussive sound. Want the app to shut up? Just delete anything that’s been typed, and it goes silent.

Each letter of the alphabet has its own assigned sound. Z, for instance, produces a low, echo-y thump. H is more of a ticking sound, like a clock. Type a word, a sentence, or even just a series of random characters, and Typedrummer will turn them into a complete, looping drum track. Pressing the space bar will create a gap. The more spaces, the longer the gap. That’s how to slow down the tempo, if desired. The app is not case sensitive, and there are no sounds associated with numbers or punctuation marks. But the 26 letters of the English alphabet are all a person needs to create a little symphony of snares, toms, cymbals, and hi-hats.

Should users come up with beats they want to disseminate to the masses, there is a “share this beat” option that creates permalinks like this one. Another neat feature is the “load new samples” link located beneath the drumsticks-and-keypad logo. Click that and Typedrummer will switch over to using samples from a track called “Fool” by Moon Bounce. That gives the newly created beat a warmer, funkier sound. After that, the next logical step is to learn how to freestyle. Stardom awaits.

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