Smule on Thursday unveiled Glee for iPad and iPhone, an app created in partnership with the hit Fox television series of the same name. Glee follows in the proud tradition of other musically-themed Smule apps like Ocarina, Leaf Trombone, I Am T-Pain, and the iPad-only Magic Piano.
Smule co-founder Dr. Ge Wang told Macworld that Glee is the most technologically advanced app the company has offered yet. The app lets you sing along karaoke-style to original performances from the TV show—“You Keep Me Hanging On,” “Somebody to Love,” “Lean on Me”—with lyrics displayed on-screen as the app records you.
But the magical part is that, as you sing, Smule auto-corrects your pitch and automatically adds multipart harmonies, so that you sound just like the (over-processed) attractive people who sing on the show. This isn't the I Am T-Pain app's auto-tune, though, says Wang: “It's not auto-tune; it's our own technology. All the pitch-correction and live harmonization was custom-developed” for Glee.
In true Smule fashion, not only can you share recordings with friends (via Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail), you can also collaborate with friends and strangers alike. The in-app globe lets you listen in on recordings made by Glee-singers around the world, adding your own vocals and resubmitting them for others to check out.
Smule plans to add new songs to the app each week as they appear on the television show. Because of clearance issues, not every song sung on the show will make it into the app. There's also a technical challenge: Smule engineers must painstakingly encode each note and its proper harmonies throughout the song in order for the app to work its magic.
And Glee's goal really is magic. Quoting Wang again: “Our mission has always been to enable people to make music, and connect to each other through music. Glee is not just for musicians and singers, it's for anyone who likes music... People who normally might feel shy about singing, we want them to put themselves out there and just sing.” You can see one of Smule's engineers demonstrating that carefree approach to singing in this YouTube video.
Glee is a universal app for iPhones and iPads. It costs $3 and requires iPhone OS 3.1 or later.