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Tech talk: smart app for smart rehearsals

As featured in The Harmonizer.

Get smart

Do chorus singers in your chapter use smart devices (tablets, smartphones, etc.) during rehearsal? A smart device can be more than just a place to store music. Here are some applications that can enhance the rehearsal experience for the individual and the chorus.

ForScore (sheet music reader)

$9.99 iOS, iPad; $6.99 iOS, iPhone

ForScore is a PDF reader specifically designed to make viewing and editing sheet music more streamlined. Importing music is easy through the ForScore website or through a data storage service, such as Dropbox. Forscore also provides a way to take pictures of sheet music, crop and enhance it, and add it to your digital library. Annotating music has never been easier with the markup tools, including pens, highlighters, even stamps of musical notes, symbols, and directions. Make a text box to change the lyrics or add colorful reminders in to the music, such as “Don’t breathe here!”

ForScore provides advanced organization tools. By adding labels to each file, your quartet sheet music goes in one folder and all of your chorus music in another. You can also link learning tracks to the sheet music to play while reading the score. While listening, you can slow down the track or speed it up, loop a certain section, change the key by half-steps, or even adjust by cents.

There are many more features that are noteworthy. A few favorites: an on screen piano to play through a part, a visual or aural metronome, an integrated pitch pipe, and a digital recorder. Don’t let the price scare you, this is the best music library app out there for Apple devices.


Tonal Energy Tuner (tuning app)

$3.99 iOS, Android

TE Tuner is an app that changed my perspective on tuning. It uses the microphone on your device to hear sung frequencies and displays how close you are to singing the pitch. Red half-circles plainly shows your relationship to the tonal center. When you get close, a green smiley face appears and
grows the longer you stay on the correct pitch. Most members of Central Standard chorus use this app during warm ups (and sometimes during songs).

TE Tuner has other, advanced features. For example, you can change the mode of tuning, transpose the key, change from using letters to Solfege. It also has a great metronome and various spectrogram analyses.

What’s My Note?
(sight singing app)

$0.99 iOS, Android

Have you always learned music by ear but desire to improve your music reading skills? Upload a PDF of sheet music or take a picture using What’s My Note and touch the notes you are supposed to sing, and it plays them for you! The only background in music you need is to know which notes are yours. No piano experience, interval training, or perfect pitch required.

Harmonize
(interval tuning app)

Free for iOS, Android

Ever wondered how the pros tune chords? This app allows you to practice
hearing and playing intervals with just intonation in a fun way. This game app plays an interval in just intonation and then you slide your finger up or down the screen until the interval is in tune. The closer you get to the correct interval (measured in cents), the more stars you get!


InTune
(micro-tuning app)

$0.99 iOS

Work on your fine tuning skills with this fun game. InTune asks you to identify if the second pitch played is higher or lower than the first. Be careful though, you only get three strikes! The further you progress in the game, the
closer the pitches are to each other.



UCLA Music Theory
(sight singing and ear training)

Free for iOS, Android

Strengthen your sight reading and ear training skills! This app will help
you identify melodic and harmonic intervals, and chord qualities, including progressions. The app features two modes, practice and test, so you can monitor your progress at the pace you wish.

Other Apps

BarberChords (Free iOS) is an arranging tool that suggests options for the upcoming chord progressions. This app is designed specifically for barbershop style music.

Tagmaster (Free iOS, Android) is the ultimate aid in singing tags. Is there a tag you can’t remember all four parts to? Don’t give up, look it up! Save favorites, rate tags, and listen to learning tracks.

Andrew Rembecki is associate
director of Central Standard chorus