TiP Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Release Date: 1/22/2010
Seller: Chris Sutton
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires OS 2.2 or later.
Link to app (clicking launches iTunes)
App Store Description: As featured on the App Store November 2009. You’re not getting everything you could out of music. That’s unfortunate because you’ve always loved music. You have albums you’ve listened to hundreds of times over, and you play or sing a little yourself. You might even have put in hours of practice to become quite good at your instrument.
Summary: Relative Pitch is a tool which allows the user to better understand intervals within music, basically training your ear to understand the difference between a semi tone, a tone, a minor 7th etc. It’s a very useful app, and comes in a free “lite” version and a full fat, high calorie paid version.
Review: First let me get this off my chest, the App Store description is awful! I felt like I was reading one of those terrible ads trying to sell me a weight loss supplement. You know the ones where you have to read and read, for hours, before you get to what the item is that they’re trying to sell you. A quick tip, using my summary would be much better than that thing.
Anyhow, rant over, this is after all an app review, and not one of my “Weekly Moans”. When you first open the software you get two options “Training” and “Testing” , so straight away you’re not bamboozled with hundreds of choices. You can either learn the difference between intervals, or test yourself immediately. To be honest I found the training pretty pointless, as within the test, if you choose an incorrect answer it gives you the option to hear the interval you chose, and the difference between that and the correct answer.
The test starts off pretty simple, and gradually gets more difficult. Here’s where the difference lies between the seven dollar version and the free version. The free one only has 5 levels of testing, the paid one has 14. As soon as you are in a test, two clear notes are played, and you have to guess what the interval is between them. The UI is simple to use, you just tap the answer you think is correct. Easy right?
If I was to say who the target audience for this app is, I’d say anyone who is trying to learn an instrument, or getting singing lessons, those people who are being taught music theory. It’s definitely not for those of us musicians who like to “wing it”, especially people like me who were taught by ear and not through learning the ins and outs of musical theory. If you’re not a particularly intuitive person, and you need to understand something before you can attempt it, then yes, by all means, this could be the answer to your problems.
Overall then, I’d say it is certainly a useful tool, but for $7? No thanks. If I’m going to spend seven bucks in the App Store, I’ll spend it on something entertaining, and not on what is basically music “homework”. It does help sharpen your interval deducing skills, and is worth it if you are studying for a theory exam or just want to understand scales and intervals more. If I compare it Â to what is promised in the App Store description, it’s a country mile away from the “fun” app that helps people jam, but it is still a great piece of software, and really will sharpen up your musical understanding.