Tunable: A different way to see the pitch

Tunable is a very good tuner. I believe that Affinity Blue is approaching tuning in a unique way and I really like the possibilities.

One of the first cool things that you notice is that there are settings for different levels. If you are a beginner, you have to be within 10 cents of the pitch to register in tune. Intermediate, 6 cents and Advanced, you have to be within 2 cents to register as being in tune. Very helpful for your beginning students especially.

Darker green is the in-tune range for beginners.

Darker green is the in-tune range for beginners.

Intermediate setting for Tunable

Intermediate setting for Tunable

Not much room for error in the advanced setting.

Not much room for error in the advanced setting.

With most tuners, pitch registration goes from one note to another. With tunable, the line is a history of whether you were playing in tune, this is both good and bad. Good because it’s nice to see the overall trend laid out in front of you, bad because in ensemble tuning, certain notes in the scale will sound out of tune to our ears while being perfectly synced with the tuner. Thinking about the major third for example. Our ears really want to hear this as lower to sound in tune. However, Tunable has just intonation as one of it’s available temperaments. I’m so used to having to put pitches lower or higher while playing a scale that it’s difficult to just play to in-tune with the tuner over the whole scale. This is something that I will definitely be experimenting with more. Bearing in mind that when you play with an instrument of fixed pitch, like a piano that you have to go with that tuning. (It will most likely be in equal temperament.) It is great that this tuner will sound a pitch as well as chords. And you can choose what that tone will sound like.

Sustained note with a sine wave tone.

Sustained note with a sine wave tone.

I will admit to switching between different temperaments just to hear what they would sound like. For more technical information on just versus equal temperaments, see this webpage.

The number of temperaments that are available to you is pretty broad. Compare this to the iPegs tuner. That I reviewed here.

Just a few temperaments shown on the iPhone

Just a few temperaments shown on the iPhone.

You can also see the tuner portion in a landscape position. Though the app only shows in a portrait position.

The tuner portion in landscape.

Please forgive my out-of-tune whistling!

In addition to the tuner, there is a functional metronome

Subdivision option on Metronome Tunable on iPad

Subdivision option on Metronome
Tunable on iPad

and you can record yourself and share the recording.

Share your recordings Tunable on iPad

Share your recordings
Tunable on iPad

I was really excited when I first saw the record button. I was really hoping that it could record the tuning information. Alas, it was just for a regular audio recording. How cool would it be to listen to a recording without having to jam another tuner into the speaker to see as well as hear where you might be having trouble. If they also recorded the line so that you could check yourself by site and sound, that would be more helpful to me than another regular recorder. For instance, it would be really interesting to see if you are going sharp on a note because you are prepping your embouchure for the next note. Perhaps this will be a possibility for a future update.

The Tunable app does have a variety of nice touches including a mic sensitivity slider and adjustment for using vibrato while checking your tuning. Plus, the number of temperament choices is pretty amazing. In terms of general use, I still prefer the iStrobosoft tuner because of the ease of looking over to see it while playing and because I practice long tone scales in “tune” and can see how close I am to the number that I’m looking for. But the Tunable Tuner has earned a regular place in my long tone practice and for checking certain phrases. I’m looking forward to seeing where they go with this app and I can definitely recommend that you give it a try.

Tunable is a Plus app for $2.99 in the iTunes store and requires iOS 5.0 or later. It is also available for other devices. For that and more info, go to the Affinity Blue website. Or check them out on Twitter.

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