At a time of quarantine, there are apps I feel are worthy of a mention by way of gratitude. I have selected these particular apps for the support they provide in technical music development. They give useful methods for practise warm-ups.
I focus on Piano and Drum apps primarily because I teach these instruments and appreciate which skills can further develop the pianist and drummer.
Today’s app review is an app for piano and keyboard users called ‘ChordChord.’
ChordChord is also accessible directly online if using a laptop instead of smartphone/tablet at: https://chordchord.com/
The web version (pictured above) offers online support via messenger in the bottom right corner of the site- useful feature if you have queries!
I find this app very easy to navigate and differentiate for levels from beginner level (C major scale) right through to the more advanced level (mode changes at a fast speed).
ChordChord is a chord generator which supports the novice songwriter or pupil who wants to ‘dip their toe’ in the waters of improvisation techniques. Additionally, the app can be used a technical warm-up to support known scales and keys or new learning of chords as well as exploring the circle of 5ths, major, relative minor, sevenths within a particular key.
There are many ways of personalising the settings to appropriate level e.g. scale (major, minor, modes) additionally features include the backing of drums, key selection, speed of transitions and whether or not to enable a random selection.
This app (and web version) is available free. The paid versions remove ads and offer additional synthesizer effects, audio export, unlimited saved progressions and further range of arpeggios. The free version is super as it stands for getting to work comfortably with chord progressions and speed chord changing, which I find is a vital skill for any piano/keyboard user to develop. I love that there is the option of changing speeds (or doing without entirely) using backing drum loops as this gives a steady pulse to develop timing and secure flow when playing a series of chords. I like that there are a variety of drum settings rather than merely a metronome click.
Additionally, there is the option for a random generator of chords which can be speeded up and change quickly which will appeal to learners seeking a driving challenge. The highlighted keys in blue indicate which notes should be played for which chord.
In learning Blues and Jazz, modal scales are prevalent and therefore the modes within the generator can help learners identify and recognise aural and visual structure of modal chords and arpeggios within the modal scales.
I found the modes clearer if learning them in the app version rather than the website. If developing use of modes (dorian, mixolydian etc) be sure to use the app version. The reason for this is because the website version seems to use a random generator for modes whereas on the app, you can select which mode you want to use, thereby making it easier to learn from and identify the various modes. See image below taken from the app.
All the images in this review (apart from pricing list) have been shown from the free version (N.B. There are less arpeggios available in free version).
In conclusion, this app is something I would highly recommend to piano/ keyboard users for the following reasons:
- If you are struggling with identifying chords as their chord names when you read music notation on the grand stave.
- If you are struggling with knowing which keys to press when you see chords in songbooks written as letters (e.g. Am, G7 etc.)
- If identifying the difference between major and minor chords in each key is something you are not yet confident in.
- You would like to develop playing by ear using chords for left or right hand.
- If you feel you could learn more about modes.
- You already know chords in another instrument (eg. guitar but want to know how to learn these on piano/keyboard instrument).
- You want a starting point for songwriting, chord progressing or improvisation.
- You are in need of ‘mixing up’ the technical aspect of your practise sessions.
- You feel a bit stuck in your progress and would fancy a change from learning pieces of music.
- You struggle to maintain momentum in changing chords without hesitation.
- You are ready for a challenge in improving your timing against electronic drum patterns.
- You would like to sight-read quicker when chords are present by speed-reading more accurately.
Please note, I do not receive any benefits from reviewing resources and do so purely to share resources of support to assist musicians. If you find my articles useful, please take a moment to leave feedback. Thank you for your support.