iPad and music apps

As I said in my last post, I’ve been teaching myself music theory.  In the book I’m using I’ve gotten to the section on intervals, and it’s important to hear these things while learning, so I hopped on Amazon to price a small keyboard.  Um, no.  Not paying $40 or more just to do music theory on.  So I looked for iPad apps.  There’s a free one that suits my purposes exactly.  Thank you, iPad, for proving yourself useful yet again!

I thought I would make a list of what apps I’m using, in case anyone’s looking for some good music apps:

  • Musicopoulos: music theory with exercises.  Allows for multiple instrument fingerboards (violin, viola, cello, guitar) as well as a piano keyboard for the practice exercises.  The theory presentation, for me, isn’t as good as the book I’m using (Basic Music Theory by Jonathan Harnum), but being quizzed on scales and stuff is very useful.
  • Music Notes: sight reading practice.  Treble clef, bass clef, and grand staff all covered.  A simple app, but one I’m finding very useful.
  • MusicTools: a rather comprehensive music dictionary.  Also has a symbols dictionary.
  • piaScore: for music scores.  There’s a store for the app, but I’m focused on the free classical library that has like 7,000 pieces in it for all instruments. I haven’t played with all the features yet, but it lets you auto-turn pages, and there’s a pedal you can buy to turn pages with your foot.  My iPad mini is a bit too small to read scores while playing, but my MIL will be retiring her iPad 2 this fall and I’m going to snag it for piaScore.
  • Piano Free with Songs: the free app I got so I don’t have to buy a keyboard.
  • Metronome: what it sounds like.  It has a bunch of options, like flashing lights instead of ticking sounds, and you can set up some pretty complex rhythms if you buy in-app purchases.

Ones I downloaded but haven’t tried yet:

  • iTablaPro Lite: this was suggested in the music theory book mentioned above.  It’s useful as a drone, to practice both ear training and to work on hitting the right notes with your instrument.  I plan to use it once I learn some finger positions on the cello, to make sure I’m hitting the correct notes.  (Soooo easy to play an off note on an instrument without frets.  I remember that from childhood orchestra classes, and from my old fretless bass guitar.)
  • Tuner Lite: you can either play a tone and match it, or use the iPad/iPhone microphone to tune by frequency.
  • Julliard String Quartet: “Death and the Maiden”: Walks the use through how a quartet puts together the titular Schubert piece, including watching the instruments play while the score is shown.  Seems kinda cool.

So yeah, there’s some really cool apps for musicians out there, making learning cheaper and easier than when I was playing instruments in pre-iPad days.  I’m pleased.

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