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.

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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.

Orphion iOS Synth

Orphion is one of those cool little apps that are a lot of fun to play with and generate ideas with. I love the way that different touches will bring out different sounds. One of which has a very Shamisen sound to it.

The user guide only shows three gestures but I find that you can get a fourth more thunky percussion sound if you are in the right spot.

Orphion Touches

Though you can hear in the recording below that it is hard to get that sound consistently.

There are both iPhone and iPad versions of Orphion, the iPhone version is called Orphinio. I prefer the iPad version because you can buy in-app a way to make your own pad layouts and use whatever notes or scale that you want to experiment with. Including how they are tuned. This is helpful as a way to arrange the chords and scales into a setup that makes sense to you, your hand size and the piece you are trying to play. You can share these layouts or download other people’s. I do like the fact that in your own layouts, you can change the tuning of a note. The sample below is showing you a Hungarian minor scale which is basically a minor scale with a sharp four and sharp seven. I didn’t like the way the C chord was sounding so I lowered the e-natural tuning a little.

iPad Orphion Build your own

There are some pre-loaded layouts available that include a piano-style layout and a blues scale layout. On the iPhone, the piano layout is helpful to working out or generating ideas. I think it is much more accommodating to a person’s hand than a really teeny-keyed piano app.

iPhone Orphion Piano Layout

There is an option only on the iPhone to select notes and have them play by shaking the phone. The sound that you can get with that is interesting but not something that I use often. The iPhone comes with 9 layouts. You cannot add any others.

One of the nice touches in Orphion is that in transposition, the layout holds it’s place so if you change the key, the pad that was the tonic will remain the tonic…just in the new key. One little gripe here is that the key name changes might give you some odd note names. For example if you are in c minor, the e-flat could be called a d-sharp. You can change the labels in your own layouts though.

One very cool use of Orphion is as a MIDI device and another app as the sound source. This is especially great with the Animoog app. The small keys there can sometimes be an issue but with the different gestures and glide available, you can set yourself up nicely to use Animoog’s great sounds with Orphion’s great gestures. However, be aware that this is not the easiest thing to record on the iPad itself. You can record within the Orphion app and export it but these are rudimentary controls at best. Once you start involving another app as a sound source, it might work and it might not. GarageBand for example, would not take more than 3 simultaneous notes while trying to record even through inter-app audio. Best to try and record directly into the computer if you truly want to record Orphion using the Animoog sound.  You will lose the easy editing of MIDI if you do it this way but keep the Animoog sound. You may also have to adjust some of your settings. I found that I really had to bump up the levels while recording the Orphion app straight into Logic. In terms of using the Orphion sound, you can record that directly into something like GarageBand on the iPad and it is compatible with the Audiobus app as well. It is quite easy to setup a network session with your desktop DAW and record Orphion directly into that either as audio to keep the Orphion sound or MIDI to keep all of the gestures intact. This works best with a software instrument that uses all of the MIDI information available. Otherwise, I would just use a regular MIDI keyboard and not go to the trouble of hooking up Orphion.

Recorded MIDI from Orphion into Logic. I did tweak it a bit but that is the great reason to use MIDI. The sound is from the Sculpture Synth, a very fun sound generator.

I like the Orphion app. It’s a lot of fun to play with and with the right equipment, can be used as an interesting sound source.

Orphinio is available for iPhone for $0.99 from the App store. Orphion for iPad for $3.99 plus $0.99 in-app purchase for the layout editor which I highly recommend.

Orphion is from Bastus Trump and you can connect with him on the Orphion website.

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.

iReal Pro for Jazz and Improvisation

iReal Pro is a great app. It’s from the same people who made Drum School and has the same quality and attention to detail that really helps a practicing musician become better. Despite the fact that I play bassoon, I listen to a lot of jazz and have always wanted to get better at playing it. Maybe even composing in it at some point. I use a couple of apps to try and broaden my jazz horizons. I’ve already covered one, Anytune Pro+. iReal Pro is the other side of that coin for me. I usually choose the same tune to practice in both apps so that I am thinking about the same piece but in different ways. Anytune lets me slow down and play along with a recording. iReal Pro shows me the chord changes and with an extra purchase, the standard chords and scales that go along with those. I can also input the Jamey Aebersold exercises that I work on in iRealPro to enhance practicing those as well.

When you first open up iRealPro, it will have a few exercises in it. To add new charts, you’ll either need to go to the in-app Forum and find some to download or input some yourself. The forum has user-made charts that others have shared. These are usually very good. Occasionally there will be a chord or two that may not sound right to you but that is easily remedied as once you have downloaded a piece, you can duplicate it and edit it as well.

Editing screen of iReal Pro on the iPad

Editing screen of iReal Pro on the iPad

You can make playlists for the pieces that you are working on. (Here is the one nitty-picky gripe that I have about this app. It doesn’t open up to the last thing that you worked on. If it did that, it would be perfect.) Once you have the piece that you want to work on opened, you can change the tempo, the number of times through and the key. You can also change the accompaniment style. There used to be just a few styles given to you but in the last update to iReal Pro, they made everything free except for some new jazz styles. Alas, I really like the Blue Note style especially, so I will probably be buying this pack.

Currently the only extra to buy. They've made everything else free.

Currently the only extra to buy. They’ve made everything else free.

One of my favorite things is the Chord Scales. This used to be an in-app purchase but is now standard. It allows you to see the chord and scale for each chord in the sheet as you play. If you tap and hold on a measure, it will show you a chord and scale that is musically viable in that spot. If you tap on that, it will show you other chords and scales that would also fit and allow you to choose a different one for playback. These then show up from measure to measure while the piece is playing. A big Thank You to the developers for also making these available in bass clef. Some developers seem to forget that there are also bass instrumentalists using their apps. One thing that isn’t there but that I’d love to see is an option to show all of the different chords in a chart at once since I usually start my practice by going one by one individually through all of the chords and scales that the piece might use before I ever start playback.

Chord and scales pack showing on iPad.

Chord and scales pack showing on iPad. Bass clef is available too.

You can also use this screen to make a loop if you just want to practice a small section of your piece.

iReal Pro iOS – Chord Scales for iPhone and iPad from iReal Pro on Vimeo.

Another really handy practice aid is the ability to change the key and the tempo automatically from one repeat to another.

Make practicing more of a challenge by changing the tempo and/or the key

Make practicing more of a challenge by changing the tempo and/or the key

In iReal Pro, there is an option to play the piece from your library while you are looking at the chart. It’s a very nice touch. If the piece isn’t in your library, the app will show you if it’s available in iTunes.

Play along with iReal Pro.

Play along with iReal Pro.

There are quite a few things in this app that can help you as an educator or a collaborator. You can quickly put in the changes to a chart for your own practice or to share with your students. I put some Aebersold studies in because I can change the tempo and change the key that it starts in so I’m not always memorizing the same chord change order from the Aebersold recordings. You can share these charts with your students and others either through the forums or by emailing the charts. The developers have made it so that these can be sent as something that someone else can use regardless of whether or not they have the app. The sheet music or the audio can both be sent. And for the audio, you can send it in an audio format or in MIDI which means that you can pull it into another program on your computer or device. You can also use AudioBus or Inter-App Audio Apps to send the accompaniment to another program. Though you need to be aware if you’ve updated to iOS 8 that there are some audio issues that need to be fixed and this may not work well for you at the moment.(September 2014)

iReal Pro is from Technimo. There is a direct website for iReal Pro and you can also find them on Twitter.

iReal Pro is a plus app for $12.99 in the iTunes Store.
There are in-app purchases available for additional accompaniment styles. The app used to be a little cheaper BUT since they have made most of the old in-app purchases part of the app, the price is quite fair and less than buying the old app and all of the purchases.

It is also available through the Mac App Store for $19.99. This could make life easier if you are making a lot of charts but I find it easy enough to make them on my iPad.

They also have an Android app.

This is one of those apps that I think every musician with an iOS device should have. It’s fun and it’s very helpful for improving your musical capabilities.

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.

Suggester Chord Progressions

This is an update to a previous post on the Suggester app.

Suggester is a chord progression tool. It is helpful if you are composing and want to generate some ideas. The app does one thing very well. That is to help you find chords that are in a scale…or a scale that goes with chords that you have chosen.
You can choose to hear your chord progression in one of three instruments: vibraphone, piano, or guitar. Originally there were nine scales to choose a from to make your chord progression. There are now fourteen different scales to choose from including Prometheus Scales from the mystic chord.*****

If you just want to hear the scale that you’ve chosen, you just tap the top bar. Once you have your chosen progression, you can listen to it, choose a tempo for it and also export it. Happily, looping has been added to this version of Suggester. I tend to play against a chord set to help generate ideas and this is very helpful to me.

Suggester - F Jazz Progression - iPad

However, exporting is still not very great. The text export isn’t very useful. You can send someone a list of your chord choices and that’s it. They are going to have to input those into whatever they are using, even if they also have Suggester. I really wish that you could send them in the “suggester format” so that the person you were collaborating with could open them directly in the suggester App. Also helpful would be the ability to sync your progressions through iCloud or Dropbox. As it is now, if you want the progression on both devices, you’ll be inputting that manually on both. It would also be really great if you could pull the MIDI export into another program on your iDevice but that is not currently possible that I have found. The MIDI export is good for pulling the chord progression into your DAW or notation software and I do use this but it’s more of a basic reminder of my original idea than something that I actually use in the piece.

Here is a sample of a G Lydian Chord progression MIDI export pulled into Logic Pro.

 

You can save only one of your progressions unless you upgrade from the free version. You’ll also need to do that to be able to export. Other features that are not yet available, choosing the chord voicing, the inversion of the chord and being able to alter the notes of the chord. The alter button that you see next to the chords in the progression will only let you alter the whole chord. Say you picked Am, you could select alter and then choose a different A chord instead. This doesn’t bother me too much as the UI could probably get pretty cluttered and you can always adjust this later in the program that you are using to compose with.

Suggester - Choosing an altered chord - iPad

It is now possible to choose a different bass note for your chord.

Suggester - Choosing an alternate bass - iPad

And also possible to edit your progression without deleting anything. You can drag and drop the chords into a different order in edit mode. One thing to note, you have to unlock “sharp” scales if you want to work with double sharps & double flats. Even when you unlock this, the chords can have strange spellings. Like an A major chord spelled a, d-flat, e.

One of the interesting and fun things about this app is the ability to start with the chords first and then have the app match those to a scale.

Matching a scale to your chord choices

Matching a scale to your chord choices

You are given an idea of how good the match is by percentages listed. Pretty cool. You can also transpose and rematch something that you’ve done. This is when it gets a little weird. It keeps the same exact chord and just respells them for the new key except they are sometimes spelled awkwardly and not labeled correctly. The f# chord from G Lydian to G major is still going to be a vii chord. In G lydian, it is correctly listed as a vii chord but in G major, it is only listed as an f# chord. It is still a vii chord but altered, minor rather than diminished as it would be in G major.

G Lydian Chord Progression on iPhone

G Lydian Chord Progression on iPhone

G Lydian Progression rematched to G Major

G Lydian Progression rematched to G Major

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
If I choose to transpose, I would expect that I would get the exact same chord progression numerals but in the new key. This however, is not the case. Instead of a I chord being a D Major chord if we move to D, It’s still a G major chord but listed as a IV instead of a I. This type of transposition could be helpful but I would prefer to have both options.

G Lydian transposed to D Major

G Lydian transposed to D Major

Despite some of the shortcomings of the Suggester app. I do like the app and would recommend it. It is quite helpful and it can be interesting to listen to the chord possibilities that you may not have considered before. There have been improvements since the last version that I reviewed and the developer seems responsive to requests.

The current version of Suggester is 1.9.9. It is a plus app and is available for free on iTunes. You will need to pay $4.99 to unlock the export and multiple progressions. The developer for Suggester is Mathieu Routier.

 
 
****Mystic chord: What a great name for what turns out to be a hexatonic scale that has a leading tone to the fifth but no fifth. This is now on my list of things to learn more about. Guess I’ll be listening to more Scriabin soon. If you want to listen to something based on that chord and scale, this is some music to go with a collection of essays titled Alexander Scriabin’s Mystic Chord as a Puppet of Heinrich von Kleist.