SingTrue for Vocal Ear Training

SingTrue is an ear training and singing app from Easy Ear Training. It bills itself as an app that can help anyone sing in tune. It seems to be marketed to people who think that they might be tone deaf, which is unfortunate. (This company does have an app to test for that though.) Makes me remember those poor people in sight-singing sessions who couldn’t match the note that they were given. I always felt so bad for them. Once they missed the first one and got nervous, it was all downhill.

The ear training in SingTrue starts off very simply in the “Ears” section with questions about whether a note is lower or higher than another, whether a pitch is the same or different, and whether a sweep tone is going up or down. The “Voice” section starts off by asking you to sing anything so that you are starting in a comfortable range that you have chosen. After that, you practice keeping the note steady. You do need to complete certain trials before other exercises open up for you. If you make too many mistakes, you lose a heart. If you lose too many hearts, you either have to pay for more, or come back later. This is true even if you pay to unlock all of the Modules. For me, the most interesting thing about this app is that it is a really great ear training tool. It may teach you to sing in tune but it won’t make you a good singer by itself. I had to remind myself to hold the device out in front of me so that I wasn’t trying to sing hunched over while trying to see the screen. But I love that instead of just randomly testing intervals, the training is in context of a scale and builds up to exercises that ask you to randomly sing any of the scale tones after only giving you the tonic.

Relative Pitch

Ears – Voice – Mind

The best ear training in this app is the exercises that ask that you to sing pitches. If you can’t read music, it won’t matter because the exercises are in solfège. I like that the notes are not all in a line across but situated vertically. I think that it helps to remind a student which are the higher notes. You get a visual helper as well as an aural reminder of the scale that you are working on.

Pentatonic Scale

Pentatonic Scale Practice

Every once in a while during an exercise, the app will replay the notes or scale that you are working on in a different key and then asks you to identify the notes again. In the beginning voice exercises, you have a “tuner” with the circle that you are supposed to hit and you’ll see if you are too high or low. You do get a chance to correct yourself but only if you do it quickly. I think that’s great. Either you know the note to sing or you don’t. No fishing around for it.

IMG_2620

Practicing with tuner target.

When you first start working on a section, SingTrue will play you the whole scale before asking you to identify notes. From there, you’ll be asked to sing “blindfolded” and you won’t have the target tuner anymore. The last exercise from each section, called “From the root” will only give the tonic and ask that you sing or audiate (hear in your mind) the notes yourself. I really appreciate how they build up to that. Practicing picking the notes off from just the tonic is so good for increasing your ear’s abilities. I love it. Right now, the only exercises are do-re-mi, major pentatonic, and minor pentatonic.

Vocal Practice

Vocal Ear Training Section – iPhone

For me, having to sing the notes of the scales is the best thing about this app. The “instrumental” sections under “Ears” where you are supposed to select the notes being played are good because they are also in the context of a scale. However, having to sing forces you to actively participate in the learning. For me, this will always be a better learning experience and you and your students will get more out of that section.

I really like this app but there are a few things about it that I think could be better. First off, the user interface is a bit strange. Once you go through the first section and sing your pitch and get tested, you probably won’t want to see that again. Why not have the “Relative Pitch” section be the first thing that you see after having finished the “Pitch” section? That is where you are going to want to spend most of your time. I’d also like to see syncing through iCloud. If you have this app on more than one device, you’ll have to start from the beginning again the first time that you use it. Those are minor issues though. The one thing that I find the most fault with is that when the keys change in the exercises, your singing range doesn’t seem to be taken into account. By all means, help me stretch my range but the app doesn’t accept octave displacement as a correct answer. Therefore, if you are struggling to get up to a pitch, the app should give you a lower key much sooner than it seems to currently or change it so that I can choose to have it accept octave displacement as well.

Here’s a video from SingTrue if you want to see it in action:

SingTrue is a plus app from Easy Ear Training and is free to try. There are in-app purchases if you want to add the vocal exercises. You can buy them individually or pay a one-time fee to get them. This is what I did but keep in mind that the last app update was in January of 2015 so I am not sure when or if more updates will be coming. I really hope they do because I’d love to see vocal training on chord inversions as well as more scale types to train on. If you want to contact them, they are on Twitter.

My Top Apps Added in 2015

Trying to do something a bit different at the end of 2015. I wanted to give a shout out to the ten apps that are new to me this year that I really liked. They aren’t necessarily music apps but ones that I think are great, that I really like, or that I use a lot. The list is in no particular order. I hope that you have lovely holidays and that the new year will bring great opportunities. Cheers!

1. Omnifocus 2 from Omnigroup

Omnifocus 2 on iPad

I use this all day everyday. It’s the only way that I stay organized on projects and to-do’s. I have it on all of my devices and am including this app because they released a new version this year.
Omnifocus is what I use to follow (or try to…) the GTD ideas of David Allen. If you haven’t read that book, and you are a musician with lots of rehearsals, concerts, reedmaking, teaching, etc. to do, you might want to give it a look. Getting Things Done – David Allen

The great thing about Omnifocus is the same reason that some folks have a hard time using it, you can adjust it to what works best for you and you may have to tweak things depending on your area of focus. As a musician, there are certain things that I have to do every day and this is a great way to track that as well as more ambitious projects. Highly recommend. And yes, it’s more expensive than your average app and yes, it’s completely worth it.

The basic version of Omnifocus is a plus app for $39.99 on iOS and the basic Omnifocus for Mac is also $39.99. Also note that they have a free trial download available for the Mac version.

2. Reps & Sets
Reps & Sets on iPhone

I really like this app because it tracks both what weight you are using for an exercise and timing between reps. I used to have to use a couple of apps for tracking workouts like this but with Reps & Sets I only have to use one app. It also has some nice feedback for you in terms of charts and history. I’m not saying that you’ll go to the gym more often but you’ll be able to see how you are doing and more easily track what you are doing while you’re there.

Reps & Sets is an iPhone app available for $1.99 on the app store.

3. Steve Reich’s Clapping Music

iPhone showing main rhythm notation

I wrote a post on this app in 2015. It’s free and really fun. A great example of connecting with your audience in a fun way while teaching and testing them at the same time.

Clapping Music is a free plus app in the iTunes store

4. Pixelmator

Pixelmator brush picker on iPad

This is another app that I have both on iOS and Mac. Edit your photos, Paint digital pictures. Easy to use and amazingly inexpensive for all that it can do. You can work with vector art on the Mac version. Pixelmator continues to get better with every update.

Pixelmator is a plus app for $4.99 on iOS and is also available for Mac for $29.99

5. Star Walk 2 from Vito Technology

Star Walk 2 iPad

If you enjoy looking at the stars or you ever wonder what planet or constellation that you see in the sky or wonder where the space station is currently located, this is the app. It is so cool to move the device around and see the constellation overlay move with you. This app makes you remember why you think today’s technology is so amazing.
Star Walk 2 is available for $2.99 and is a plus app.

6. Tempo Advance from Frozen Ape

iPhone 32nd, dotted-16th rhythm in portrait.

I reviewed this one this year not long after I got it. I use this metronome almost every day. Being able to program rhythms in is so helpful to practicing. I really appreciate being able to save practice playlists as well. There’s a lot of depth to this app and it’s well worth exploring.

It is a plus app for $3.99 from the iTunes store

7. Fiddlewax from Adam Kumpf

E-Major in Analog mode on iPhone...notice the Eb diminished chord

This one was also reviewed this year. It’s got a lot to offer and I use it quite often when I’m working on transcribing or composing.

A free download on iTunes

8. Paprika Recipe Manager from Hindsights Lab

Paprika iPad

If you like to cook, this will be a great app for you . This is another one that ended up on all of my devices. It’s so easy to save recipes from websites and it will easily make a grocery list from the recipes that you choose. It has timers to use while cooking and the sync between devices is great. It’s very well made. I highly recommend.

It is a plus app for $4.99 on iOS but you can get it for many other devices, Mac, Windows, Android, Kindle, etc.

9.  Monument Valley from UsTwo

Monument Valley on iPad

This game is so pretty and it so cool to see the way things move and how your brain gets tripped out by the Escher qualities of the paths. They wisely make it really easy to take screenshots that you can use as wallpaper on your device. I plan on buying the second installment of this game. My overused word for this year is lovely but I’m going to use it one more time about this app. I highly recommend this lovely app.

Monument Valley is a plus app priced at $3.99.

10. Workflow from DeskConnect

Workflow iPad

I still haven’t learned all of the ins and outs of this app yet but I love the possibilities for making workflows using multiple apps. Also being able to get to the workflows on the Notifications screen is great. Often, only a tap or two will get you what you need even if the workflow is using multiple apps. Plus many of my favorite apps are starting to take advantage of Workflow and making it easier to automate their app.

Workflow is a plus app available for $2.99.

See you next year!

Ear Sharpener – Ear Training in Context

I have always liked this app because of the unique way that it approaches ear-training. It hadn’t been updated in a while and I was afraid that it was going to be gone shortly. Nope! In a big surprise, it was recently updated and I love the changes that were made in it. It has much more depth now and I look forward to seeing it get even better.

Many ear training apps are just interested in whether you recognize intervals or chords. Important but they aren’t always in context. That is THE thing about Ear Sharpener. All of the ear training that you do is in the context of the key.

The first level in note training starts off in the key of C and you hear a cadence IV-V-I and all you need to guess is whether the note played is a C or a G. Tonic or Dominant. The rest of the scale is shown but greyed out. I like that this keeps the overall context for inexperienced students. I love that the ear training is in the context of a key. I think that this is a much more real-world way to train your ears. (I’m not going to give up any of my other ear training apps though. I’ve covered quite a few of those in this blog. It’s something that I think is very important. I also believe that it’s important to change things up as you can get too used to an app and stop really listening to it.)

iPhone Beginner Chord Level

iPhone Beginner Chord Level

You can practice hearing the root note of chords as well. The first exercise there is almost exactly the same except instead of hearing individual notes, you hear the chords in root position.

For each level, you have to answer 20 questions correctly in a row before you move on and not to make it too easy, you have to answer within one second. There is a bpm/timer circle on the upper right above the chords, answer too slowly and you’ll get the message that you were right but too slow and the number of answers remaining goes back up to 20. Miss the answer and you’re back up 20 answers again as well. Kind of reminds me of the penny pile practice trick. I like the reinforcement.

There are four different levels for practicing.

Beginner:
Notes practice starts in the key of C with just I or V and goes to the key of C with all twelve notes of the chromatic scale within a one-octave range
Chord practice also starts in C with a I or V chord and goes to a Major or minor chord on any of the twelve notes of the chromatic scale.

Intermediate:
Note practice begins with only notes in the key of C major but covers a two-octave range instead of just one. The last exercise here is all twelve notes through eight octaves.
Chord practice starts just as the beginner section ended except now the chords are in 1st inversion. It ends with an 8 octave range, Major or minor chords on any of the chromatic notes in root, first or second inversions and with closed or open voicing.

Advanced:
Note practice goes back to one octave only in C major but now you have to recognize two notes at once. This then works it way up to end at the ear numbing finale with all twelve notes, an eight octave range, and 11 simultaneous notes. A bit crazy but give it a go. At least it’s entertaining. There are no chords under the Advanced menu

Extra:
This has chord exercises that include augmented and diminished that work their way up to that eight octave, chromatic scale, all inversions and all voicings.

There is also a custom menu here and that’s the thing that I really like for scales and note recognition. If you have a piece that you are working on in a particular key or scale, you can set that up as a custom level and have practice that is applicable to what you are currently working on musically.

iPad Custom Level Maker

iPad Custom Level Maker

You can also make custom levels for chords.

iPhone Chord Custom Level Maker

iPhone Chord Custom Level Maker

This I find a little more awkward. I really like what they’ve done with this app but I do hope there are some changes in a few areas. The chord practice is one of them. I would find it much more helpful to hear the chords within the context of the key. So in the key of C major, I would expect to hear the chord based on e as a minor chord. I don’t mind trying to stretch my ears and hear a major or minor chord for each note of a major scale but it just doesn’t usually happen like this in an actual piece of music. Also available in the custom levels, is the ability to regulate how often you hear the cadence. I’m glad that’s there because it tends to get a bit annoying to hear it between every preset exercise.

There are a few other things that I would like to see for this app to be really great. If you make a custom level, you cannot edit it. If you make a mistake, you have to delete it and start over again. Also, the iPad version is just the same as the phone version. This means that you are holding your iPad in portrait and this puts the speaker on the bottom. I’m usually leaning the iPad on something to use it and it tends to muffle the sound. I’d also like to see syncing so that you can see any custom levels that you’ve made on any of your devices without having to make them fresh for each device.

Go get this app! It’s one of the only ones that has this in-context practice.
I look forward to seeing where he is going to go with it in the future.

Ear Sharpener is a plus app from Justin Francos get it for $1.99 from the app store.

An Unusual Ear Training Tool

I’m always looking for ways to better my ears for music. Bebot synth app is an unusual and fun way to accomplish that.

Bebot is called a robot synth for the cute little guy on the screen. It is a synth that works a lot like a theremin. The more towards the left of the screen you go, the lower your pitch will go. Move more towards the right and the pitch gets higher. At the same time, the more towards the bottom of the screen you go, the softer your pitch will get. Moving towards the top of the screen makes the sound louder. Using multiple fingers will produce chords.

Bebot on iPad

It’s a neat little app to play around with. You can use it with Audiobus to record to another program or inter-app audio to record to GarageBand and make it part of a mix as well. If you aren’t sure what inter-app audio is Tuts+ has a good tutorial. I hope to cover Audiobus in a later post.

Here’s an older video of Jordan Rudess from prog rock group Dream Theater demoing the app.

 

If you use the default settings, I also think this is a great app for ear training. The default being no lines marked for notes and no pitch correction. If you pick a simple melody that you know, can you play it without straying out of the original key that you started in? Can you play scales? Can you play arpeggios?

By not having any lines or keys to help you know where the pitch is, it forces you to mainly use your ears. I find this to be a great exercise. Trying to play a simple melody by ear on your own instrument is something that I do as well. But I also like being able to concentrate just on the pitches. This is a little like singing something before you play it. A separate way to get at the same idea.

A handy spot to help you randomly pick a melody is on the I Was Doing All Right blog. (This is the same guy that made the Play By Ear App that I have covered before.) If you are using this with students, you can generate a tone in the song key using a tuner and have them play against that. Once they can do that, you can play the tonic for them, let them play through the song on their own and then play the tonic again to let them hear if they stayed in the right key. A really simple app and exercise but one that can be a great tool in your ear training arsenal.

Bebot is a plus app for $1.99 on the app store.

Bebot comes from Normalware.

Musyc – Kinetic Music Sculpture App

Musyc is a very cool app. I don’t really use this for practice or composing but the thought behind it and the way that it works is so fun that I wanted to share it. I mostly consider this app to be a digital kinetic sculpture. Though you can make some interesting music using it and it has the potential to add some fun to a performance.

When you first open the app, it gives you a very well done tutorial on using the different shapes and adjusting the sounds. They also have samples that demonstrate the music and movement capabilities of the app. The great thing about these is that even if you choose to try the free version of the app, you can see most of what you might want to pay for in action though you cannot adjust these much unless you do pay.

In Musyc, each of the shapes will give you a different sound, though same shapes do not interact with each other. The size of the shape doesn’t really matter for pitch. Each time a shape hits something else, a tone is generated. So a bigger shape might make more noise just because it’s likely to hit more things. The pitch does change depending on where it is on the screen. You can interact with your sculpture and just drop shapes or you can set up a shape generator and specify how often it drops a shape and at what angle and speed.

The basic shapes in Musyc

The basic shapes in Musyc

You use lines to give form to your sculpture and to give the shapes something to bounce off of and make noise. There are also special shapes that will do things like vacuum up anything that comes close to them, (called a black hole though this looks like a hurricane to my south Texas eyes), generate gravitational pull (planet), bounce an object away at a random speed and angle (bumper), or rotate like a paddlewheel to shoot shapes in a particular direction (cross). There are also shapes that will change the pitch, effect pieces that come within their influence or adjust the rate of something, like tempo. Most of the special shapes are part of the paid version.

Special shapes are only available in the paid version of Musyc.

Special shapes are only available in the paid version of Musyc.

Also as part of the paid version, you can make your own sound sets and record a specific motion of any of the pieces that you would like.

Some of the many soundkits provided.

Some of the many soundkits provided.

There is also a mixer that is extremely helpful when you are trying to track down an errant sound.

Audio Mixer. Tapping on a shape here toggles the sound.

Audio Mixer. Tapping on a shape here toggles the sound.

The most interesting part of this app to me is making and using your own sound kits. You can mix and match the numerous sound kits that Fingerlab provides. Or for more fun and customization, you can record from the iPad, this won’t give the best sound but you can import sounds from a variety of sources as well.

Sample editing.

Sample editing.

Here is a recording that I made using just the iPad and spoken word. If you know where these lines come from, you and I can definitely be friends.

The base scale of the Musyc app is a whole tone scale. They are very specific in telling you that this is what you need to use…so of course, I want to try this with another 6 note scale…like a blues scale. I’ll get back to you on that one.

You could also just choose to have percussive sounds. In order to test adding samples through iTunes, I added some found percussion sounds that a friend and I made. They loaded exactly as expected and I think that it made an interesting hybrid with the included digital woods synth.

There is some stuttering in the recording. This is partly a result of throwing a few extra shapes at it while it was going and partly because the app was having some difficulties. I killed all of the apps on the iPad, and restarted it but it still seemed like it was a bit too much for my iPad or the app. This latency isn’t there unless you are recording…perhaps because it is having to do the video and audio at the same time.

The possibilities here are what makes this fun. You can generate pieces of music that sound good but you’ll have to work a bit to make this happen. When you share, you can share audio or video. I don’t have the latest iPad so for me, the video is a bit stuttery as well. For example, the cross should show as turning but the video didn’t capture that.

Musyc Video Export from K. Paradis on Vimeo.

Also, make sure that you are signed in to the service that you want to use to share the video or you’ll need to transfer the video using iTunes file sharing. Also, be aware that it takes a bit of time to encode a video so bear that in mind before you try to record too long of a snippet. The only other wishes that I have would be the ability to rename the sound sample files in app and have the ability to pick the background color. The color seems to be set by which sound set you choose. I hate to choose the aesthetics of color over sound but if you want a certain color background, this is what you have to do currently.

You can use the app as a kind of digital art piece if you set something up and leave it going. I could also see using this app in a concert in certain settings. What would be really interesting for that is if you could load a MIDI file directly and be able to map shapes to it…maybe have it generate the movement based on the MIDI info. Or it could be fun to use this as a rhythm generator, show it on a bigger screen and improvise to it…or even better, let a percussionist use the app and improvise to what they are doing while also showing this on a bigger screen.

All of this together makes a very interesting and fun app that can definitely be a time suck if you aren’t careful. I recommend getting the paid version. You can pay separately if you didn’t want all of the extras but can easily end up spending more than you would if you had just bought it outright. The developer of Musyc is Fingerlab. They also make the excellent DM1 Drum Machine app.

Musyc is a plus app though it is a lot more comfortable and fun on the iPad. There are two versions, free with in-app purchases. Or the full version for $3.99. This is where the fun stuff is so I recommend getting the full version and supporting some interesting indie developers. Musyc is currently on version 2.0.1 and requires iOS 7.0 or later.

Better Ears for Better Ears

The Better Ears app used to be called Karajan Pro. The new version after the name change is even better than before. If you have been using Karajan Pro and haven’t upgraded yet, the changes will be worth the pain to figure out where things are now.

As I’ve written before, I use multiple ear training programs because I don’t want to get too used to a particular program and want my ears to be as good as possible. Better Ears is one of the first apps that I bought when the app store originally opened. The exercises available include:

• Interval recognition
• Scale recognition
• Chord recognition
• Chord progressions
• Pitch recognition – I don’t use this one too much because I’m not sure that I believe that perfect pitch can be trained for and you are essentially asked to pick a pitch out of thin air.
• Tempo recognition – I don’t use this one either…maybe a percussionist would find this helpful though.
• Key Signature recognition – Great for students who don’t know this info yet.
• Interval music reading – Testing whether you can recognize a written interval. Helpful for making score reading on sight quicker.
• Scale music reading – Helpful to improve your sight reading as well.
• Chord music reading – Helpful for score reading and sight reading…I do wish that the notation was bunched as a chord and not separated though.

There are two modes to choose from, Learning and Training. The Learning mode lets you see Wikipedia articles about what you are studying. It also gives you a chance to hear and see the scale, interval or chord in notation. This is a little better in the iPad version since you can see the app and use the keyboard while reading the article but the article is readable on the phone since it opens up to fill the iPhone’s screen. It sure is nice to have the keyboard available though so I prefer this on the iPad. On the iPhone, you can also open the article in Safari to save it to your reading list which is handy to be able to get to it on a bigger screen.

iPad view of Altered Scale with Wikipedia, notation, and keyboard showing.

iPad view of Altered Scale with Wikipedia, notation, and keyboard showing.

On the iPad, you are able to choose which view to concentrate on if you wish.

Chord Progression Learning on iPad with only the Wikipedia article and keyboard showing.

Chord Progression Learning on iPad with only the Wikipedia article and keyboard showing.

Chord Progression Learning on iPad with only the notation showing.

Chord Progression Learning on iPad

One of the features that I really like in this app is the ability to customize the exercises. Great to help you when you are having trouble with a particular interval, chord, progression or scale in one of the exercises. You can save your customizations and use Dropbox to sync these across devices including the Mac version of Better Ears. (Be aware that the first sync may cause you to lose the info from one of your devices. I wish that I had had this on the last iOS software update. I chose to do a clean install and lost all of my info.) The statistics available are also tremendously helpful. They show you the truth about what you are missing in each individual exercise and you can use this to make a custom exercise for yourself or your students. For example, I have a customization which just focuses on intervals bigger than an octave since I want to work on getting better with that. Just like instrumental practice, having a plan for training gets you to a higher level more quickly.

Statistics screen iPhone an update erased my statistics but I shouldn't have to worry about this anymore with DropBox syncing.

Statistics screen iPhone an update erased my statistics I shouldn’t have to worry about this anymore with DropBox syncing.

Use the levels that Appsolute made for you or use the custom button to create your own. For example, my More than an Octave interval practice.

Use the levels that Appsolute made for you or use the custom button to create your own. For example, my More than an Octave interval practice.

The iPad version of Better Ears works in Landscape. The iPhone works in either landscape or portrait although the keyboard only shows up in landscape. If you are more comfortable on guitar, you can show a fretboard instead. On either app, you can click on the answer to the question or you can play it using the instrument that is showing. If you have a MIDI connector for your iOS devices, you can also answer the questions on a connected MIDI device. The sounds used are customizable as well. There are multiple sound and articulation choices available.

Fretboard on iPhone. This or the keyboard only shows in landscape view on the iPhone.

Fretboard on iPhone. This or the keyboard only shows in landscape view on the iPhone.

So while I do use different apps to train my ears with, this is one of my favorites. If you only want to have one ear training app, this is the one that I’d recommend.

Better Ears is available in separate versions for iPhone and iPad. It’s also available for Mac and an Android version is coming soon.

Both iOS versions are currently $14.99 each and require iOS 5.0. Remember if you are on a budget that the iPhone version will work on the iPad but the iPad version can only be used on an iPad.
The link for iPhone is here. The link for iPad, here. There is also a free version called Better Ears beginner with a one level limitation if you want to try before you buy. Find that here.

Better Ears is made by Appsolute. The website for Better Ears is here.

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.