Since the launch of the Apple App Store in 2008, thousands upon thousands of apps have been created, giving instant access to everything from recipes to travel deals to a bunch of angry birds right in your pocket. Here are just a few of the classical music-related apps out there for the iPhone and iPad (and iPod touch):
Padrucci ($5.99 – iPad) – Forget about lugging around a folder of sheet music. Save space (and trees!) with this app, which allows you to view and browse scores from the IMSLP Petrucci Music Library, a virtual library which provides public domain music scores free of charge. It has everything from the full scores of Wagner’s operas to Chopin’s piano music to user’s own compositions. While your fingers are happily tickling the ivories using this app, your feet can help out too with this cool accessory: the AirTurn AT-104, a wireless footswitch that will turn the pages forwards or backwards. Add to that the iPad music stand and you’re all set!
British pianist James Rhodes has his Steve Jobs moment in this video, as he shows off his iPad containing 12,000 scores, and uses it to play a Chopin piece:
Cleartune – Chromatic Tuner ($3.99 – iPad, iPhone & iPod touch) – a chromatic instrument tuner that uses the built-in mic to tune your instrument – acoustic or electric guitar, bass, bowed strings, woodwinds, brass, piano, tympani and more.
Note Goal Pro ($2.99 – iPad) – Here’s one for aspiring pianists: a piano app to help you learn and practise music notes. The app turns learning the notes into a game, so you can see how you’ve improved.
Seline HD ($2.99 – iPad) – This is a very cool app for musicians and wannabe musicians alike. With the iPad placed on your knees or on a table, users play on a surface called ioGrid with two hands. The app has 20 built-in factory voices (flutes, bowed strings, etc) and 9 drone voices. There are many more features (including recording possibilites) to ‘create magical, delicate sonic heaven’ – which you can read about here.
You can see the app in use in this ‘iPad Orchestra’ video – 4 ipads performing a piece called ‘Sweet Dream’ by Ilya Plavunov for a live audience. Pretty darn neat:
Ocarina ($0.99 – iPad, iPhone & iPod touch) – This one is very cool. By blowing into the mic and touching the holes on the screen to play notes, you can turn your iPhone into a flute. Tilting the phone changes vibrato rate and depth. Ocarina users worldwide have posted scores for popular songs here. See it in action:
Street Orchestra (Free – iPad, iPhone & iPod touch) – If you’re a fan of Guitar Hero, you’ll like this one: touted as the ‘world’s first “synched” musical experience’, your fingers will fly as you try to tap along to Bizet’s Les Toreadors. What’s neat about this app is that you can sync your iPhone (or iPod touch!) with friends who also have the app, select the instrument you’d like to ‘play’ (there’s woodwind, small strings, big strings, brass and percussion) and you’ll be playing at the same time with your friends on different instruments. As you become more in sync as an iPhone orchestra, you’ll create a crescendo of lovely music. Wish there were more pieces to play!
The Göteborg Symphony Orchestra gave the app a whirl – very cool!
Bravo Gustavo (Free – iPad, iPhone & iPod touch) – If you’ve ever thought about what it’d be like to stand in the Dude’s shoes, this is the closest you’re probably going to get. This app transforms your phone into a conductor’s baton using the iPhone’s accelerometer and allows you to control the tempo of the orchestra. If you got a kick out of that app, check out the game on the LA Phil website that tests your conducting skills using your keyboard – it’s a similar idea to the Street Orchestra app, testing the ability of your fingers to react to music notes zipping by.
Composer of the Day (Free – iPad, iPhone & iPod touch) – This one’s pretty straight forward: interesting factoids about composers on a daily basis. Can’t go wrong with that one!
Oxford Dictionary of Music ($14.99 – iPad, iPhone & iPod touch) – Here’s a helpful app to brush up on your musical terminology, musical works, composers, musicians, instruments, orchestras and so forth. Once downloaded, you can access the dictionary without being connected to the internet.
Royal Conservatory Concerts (Free – iPad, iPhone & iPod touch) – The RCM app makes it super easy to view upcoming (and past) Royal Conservatory Concerts. You can also listen to snippets of past concerts, such as cellist Colin Carr and the baroque orchestra The English Concert. Just wish these clips were longer!
If you’d like to hear music from specific orchestras and musicians, as well as news, events, podcasts and videos, check out Instant Encore. The free New York Philharmonic app, for example, allows you to watch videos, download their podcasts (with Alec Baldwin introducing performances!), find out about upcoming events, and more.
Classical 96.3FM & AM740 ZoomerRadio (Free – iPad, iPhone & iPod touch) – No list of classical music apps could be complete without our very own app, of course With our radio app, you can listen to The New Classical 96.3FM (as well as our sister station AM740!) anytime, anywhere.