Download This: Berklee Developers See Success with Mobile Apps

Darry Madden
April 17, 2012
Chris Allen '96, developer of Brass Monkey, an app that turns an iPhone into a video game controller.
csGrain, a real-time audio processing and recording tool, created by Berklee professor Richard Boulanger, student Thomas Haas, and Matthew Centrella '10.
Inner Ear, an ear training app inspired by solfége exercises. Created by Berklee student TJ Usiyan.
Sonifi allows you to remix live with dynamic effects. Mix and match four channels of four tracks to customize your remix. Created by Taemin Cho '07.
Photo courtesy of Chris Allen

Berklee students aren't just gifted musicians. They often bring a whole range of skills and abilities with them when they come to study here. Many develop software and apps before they graduate. Perhaps you use one or two of them.


The apps Berklee students and alumni create are an expression of their creative and entrepreneurial spirits. The work requires a deep understanding of technology, music, graphics, branding, the market, and business. 


Many students with an interest in programming find themselves (and each other) in the Electronic Production and Design (EPD) Department, under the venerable professor Richard Boulanger, affectionately known on campus and beyond as "Dr. B." Boulanger has been cultivating a small army of developers for 26 years, many of whom have gone on to careers at Apple, Microsoft, and Keith McMillen Instruments.


Boulanger's latest app, csGrain, created in collaboration with student Thomas Haas and alumnus Matthew Centrella, is a monumental undertaking. The powerful music synthesis app harnesses the potential of the cSound language. Jordan Rudess, legendary synthesizer player with Dream Theater is already a csGrain user. "[These are] tools that offer truly musical algorithms for a wide range of sonic adventure," said Rudess.

Berklee's own app, BerkleeMobile, is available as a free download.

TJ Usiyan is the president of the computer science club, which meets weekly. Before he started it last year, there wasn't a focal point for computer science outside of EPD, nowhere for students to meet and bounce ideas off one another, said Usiyan.


Usiyan believes that Berklee students are innovators in the field. "As artists in a community of musicians, they're not making fad-based apps as much as they're trying for a new type of expression, and to really make something new."


The apps linked below are a few of the ones developed by Berklee students, alumni, and faculty. Click through to learn more about them or download them from the Apple App Store:


Music Synthesis and Education Apps


csGrain is a real-time audio processing and recording tool that lets you create new sounds and new musical textures by transforming your voice, your instrument, or your favorite songs from your iTunes library in subtle or dramatic ways with the power of Csound. Created by Berklee professor Richard Boulanger, student Thomas Haas, and Matthew Centrella '10. (iPad)

Inner Ear

An ear training app inspired by solfége exercises. Inner Ear produces a pitch reference in whatever key you're singing in. Created by Berklee student TJ Usiyan. (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad)

Scale Variator

The Scale Variator guitar app from allows you to instantly create, hear, and practice interesting guitar scale patterns that typically take hours to write out by hand. Created by Chris Lyons '06. (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad)

TouchChords Premium

Learn finger positions and multiple voicings for each chord. What's special in this app is a mode that lets you play chords on a realistically-sized fretboard, right on the touchscreen of the iPhone or iPod touch. Created by Tim Lukens '11 and Jonathan Bailey '08. (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad)


Remix live with dynamic effects. Mix and match four channels of four tracks to customize your remix. Created by Taemin Cho '07. (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad)


Transforms music into an interactive listening experience. It allows you to control the arrangement of a song in real-time with movement, touch, or light. Created by Dan Lehrich '04. (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad)


Brass Monkey

A video game app that turns your smartphone into a controller to play games on the web. Created by Chris Allen '96. (iPhone and iPad)


Sailors, shipmen, and crafters of strange devices navigate your submarines through various hazards. Created by Fredrik Kaupang '11. (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad)


Navigate Umbi through the randomly generated maze of meteors, rockets, barricades, and black holes. The complexity of this odyssey increases over time as multiple menacing obstacles enter Umbi's path. Created by Sean Petit '04. (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad)