SM Music Tuition

Music Apps- Piano Pitch

In this series of Music App reviews, I include this one for pitch recognition- a very useful skill for any musician to develop. The same app developers also do a pitch recognition app for bass guitar and guitar.

Overview:

A free, easy to use app that plays a short phrase on a ‘piano’ and after listening, the user must play the keys on a keyboard screen as an echo response to copy exactly what they just heard. Although designed for piano/keyboard players in mind, it does have potential for other musicians (see below). I use this app on iPad but is is also available on Android for phone or tablet use.

Pros

+ This would be an app worth using for training aural memory and relying on ears more than eyes (something I confess I rely on too frequently myself).

+ It is an app I would recommend for both pianists and other musicians needing to improve pitch recognition.

+ Although the piano keyboard is the response layout, I think singers and other musicians would strongly benefit from being aware of the interval between notes in patterns.

+ It is really easy to use and there are 3 different levels to suit ability. Starting from the easy level 3 white keyboard notes are played. Levels increase in difficulty up to 5 notes (using black and white keys) up to a range of 13 notes (from middle C to the next octave C).

+ There is also a practise mode where you can just play the keyboard notes to remind yourself of pitches.

Downsides

There is no replay setting until you have attempted a response incorrectly so this can be a little confusing for the ears! I found the ‘hard’ setting caught me out a few times when distracted so a little frustrating not to be able to replay.

You cannot hear the initial series of notes again until you have attempted as many notes as was played. So for example, if you can only replay 3 notes out of the 4 you heard, you need to press another note before it will replay. There is room for improvement in this aspect.

There are adverts which try to redirect you to their other apps (e.g. Bass perfect Pitch for bass guitar) but no content is inappropriate and does not take up a lot of space on the screen.

There is room for development, such as lights on the keys once played to show which notes were used so far in the series or perhaps a score to show how the pitch appears on treble clef stave when played. However, these are just suggestions for users who are more visual- orientated learners.

Take away:

All in all, I would give it a go if you are keen to improve pitch training. It costs nothing and there are valuable lessons here for any musician in developing pitch awareness.

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