Review: Music Apps for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad

Information is constantly at our fingertips thanks to the progress of technology. In a world where there is an app for everything and access to infinite knowledge fits in your pocket, there are many technological resources available to the 21st century musician. Cleartune, Tempo, and Dropbox are three indispensable Apple apps for musicians today.

Cleartune is a chromatic tuner app by Bitcount ltd. that is available for $3.99 from the iTunes App Store. With hand-held tuners ranging in price from $20.00 to over $100.00, this app is an absolute steal. The note wheel display is clear and easy to read. Above the note wheel, there is a box with a 25 cent range for fine tuning that is highly responsive. Users may customize the needle dampening for more precise tuning. Other user-defined options include:

  • Calibration plus or minus 0.01 semitone (1 cent)
  • Notation– English letters, Fixed Do Solfège, Moveable Do Solfège, French Solfège, and Northern European (-es) and (is) Solfège
  • Transposition for all 12 semitones of the octave
  • Temperament– Equal temperament, Just intonation, and Meantone, Well-tempered, and French tuning systems

Cleartune is user-friendly, accurate, and highly customizable. The app uses the built-in mic in your iPhone or iPad. This app provides a reliable tuner for modern musicians and baroque performance practice experts alike.

Tempo is the best-selling metronome on the iTunes App Store by Frozen Ape Pte. Ltd., and it is available for $1.99. Tempo offers two different user interfaces- one for iPhone and one for iPad. Praised for its “high accuracy and stability,” this app is reliable and easy to customize. Users may select from 35 different time signatures, including compound and complex meters. The six most frequently used time signatures can be saved to the home screen for convenient access. The pulsing LED lights provide a clear visual reference, while audible clicks may be accented or turned off to assist with more complex rhythms. Custom metronome settings can be saved for future use, a feature that is especially helpful while studying a piece in a complicated meter. The 14 different audio settings allow the user to choose a sound that is easily heard over the timbre of their particular instrument. This app also features a drone tuning device, a great reference point while practicing scales or complicated tuning passages with the metronome. Other features include:

  • Tempo ranging from 10 BPM to 800 BPM
  • Beat– choose subdivision from an array of note values depending on the time signature
  • Power saving mode

The creators of this app frequently release updates with bug fixes in order to continually improve the user experience. Tempo meets the rhythmic demands placed on today’s musicians and offers an array of solutions.

Dropbox is a free service that stores your documents and allows you to access them from any computer or mobile device. The Dropbox app is free from the iTunes App Store. For musicians on the go, this app is a wonderful resource. Simply scan your music, add the PDF file to your Dropbox, then access your music on any mobile device. Dropbox allows musicians to leave hard copies of music at home or feel safe knowing that a back-up copy is just one click away. New users are allotted 2 GB of free storage space. Additional space may be earned or purchased if needed. Single files or entire folders may be shared with friends and colleagues. On mobile devices, PDF files accessed from websites such as IMSLP may be directly added to your Dropbox folders.

All of these apps provide musicians with access to their most essential daily practice tools. They eliminate the need to constantly carry a metronome, tuner, and stack of current repertoire. Go ahead, dump out your gig bag and enjoy feeling a few pounds lighter.


One comment

  1. Hi Amanda, you might be interested in my app, Flute Prompter. It’s a way for new students of the flute to start making music right away, without having to wait till they understand music notation and learn fingerings.

    It shows note fingerings on-screen in real time as a song plays. Comes with pre-packaged scales and other sequences, but the real power is that the user can import any MIDI song file from a web page or e-mail attachment and see note fingerings for a track in that song. The user can also share imported songs via e-mail from the app. It’s great for instructors who can send out an e-mail with a MIDI version of a lesson to all his or her students who have the app!

    You can see more about it at

    Thank you!

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