Metronome Plus

If you’re a busy musician who owns an iPhone or iPad, I can guarantee you already have a metronome app… If you don’t, I have one for you! Metronome Plus, now available for iPhone and iPad.

I own an iPhone (lucky me) and let me tell you that is super helpful to have a few or a lot of music applications installed. Picture this, you are in a bar or music club, you hear a song you like and you want to know the tempo of the song… done, take your iPhone out of your pocket, open your Metronome Plus app and use its tap option to find it out, easy, simple and fast! oh, and helpful too!

There are heaps of Metronome options available on the iTune store, some of them are free, some of them cost a couple of dollars. I have tried around 5 different apps and so far, Metronome Plus is the one that has done the job for me!

Metronome Plus has a modern and elegant interface. It also comes with big buttons, which is really good when using it on an iPhone. Most metronomes I tried before had very little buttons, making it hard to manipulate.

What I also like about Metronome Plus is that it can be very loud if you want without distorting which says to me that the Metronome Plus sounds were professionally created and optimised for different ambient conditions, whether through headphones or speakers.

What I also like about this app is its customized accents, meters, subdivisions and sounds.

Features at a glance…

Retina display graphics
Sleek and simple design with ergonomic touch interface
Beautiful digital pendulum animation
Four distinctive sound sets
Sounds are among the loudest possible on iOS
Realistic Tempo Scroll Wheel
Tempo range from 30-300
Screen lock
Incredibly accurate metronome engine
Drop down menu where you can change all settings with a single touch
Meter- 8 most common meters
Subdivisions- quarters, eighths, sixteenths and triplets
Accents- program accents to occur on any beat

Cost: $2.59 usd. from the iTunes store.

Luis Tovar

Posted by Luis Tovar

What’s a MIDI keyboard?

I wanted to introduce you to MIDI because of the sheer amount of possibilities they can bring to your playing and composing. I am sure you’ve probably heard this term or seen or heard a MIDI keyboard in action. If you do own a MIDI keyboard, good on ya´. MIDI keyboards or MIDI controllers are great to work with and they are very helpful when it comes to learning to play the piano, especially with all the software and applications that are becoming more and more available these days.

For those of you who have no clue about what a MIDI keyboard is, I think it’s very important to get involved with it, or at least to understand the basics of what you can do with one. We are living in a modern era, where everything is doable through little more than a computer and a controller.

MIDI is short for “Musical Instrument Digital Interface”. A MIDI gadget basically allows you to connect to a computer and allow the two to interact with one another. Software or a device is needed to get whatever you are looking for. It could be a music training software, music production software or simply great quality sounds and samples to play or practice with.

I don’t want to get bogged down in terminology, but for those that are interested in the more technical aspects, check out Wikipedia’s wave.

A MIDI controller offers you a plethora of sound options, synthetic or analog, and even sounds you’ve never heard before. Are you after some nice Rhodes sound? You got it; or perhaps you are after some Organ sounds; No problem. Or maybe after some crazy soundscapes or modern synthesizer sounds? They’re all available if you have the time to search for them.

If you are into learning piano, and also exploring new sounds, getting creative with your music once you have a reasonable grasp on piano theory, is something you can do with a MIDI keyboard. There are plenty of options around, for all budgets and for all technical skills and needs too.

There are 3 things you need to get started:

1. A medium to high performance computer – to be able to support any software you need. 2GB RAM and 500GB Hard drive should do…
2. A music production software or learning software – depending what you are into.
3. A MIDI Keyboard – Plenty of options.

Now, I’m sure you already have a computer, maybe not the music production software but there are many brands doing amazing stuff. My favorites? Ableton and Reason, for two reasons: They are very simple and easy to use with great quality sounds.

What MIDI controller or keyboard to buy? Pfff… there’s a whole blog post in itself, however M-Audio, Akai, Korg and Alesis are brands that have many options available from $100 bucks upwards, cheap as + amazing quality!

If this is an unknown field for you, don’t worry and please don’t be scared. MIDI keyboards are super friendly, what could be more challenging is the software you use with the keyboard, but again, the Internet can sometimes save your life and there are many tutorials around for every possible software.

I highly recommend you have a look into MIDI keyboards and software, they really are something! I did it myself about a year or so ago and I am always surprised of how powerful these tools are. I am a drummer and my piano skills are less than a beginner, I know some basic chords and some progressions but let me tell you that I have made some good beats and atmospheres with my little knowledge… I need to get back to my Rocket Piano lessons though!

What do I have? I have a very old M-Audio Keystation Mini with 32 keys but I am after a Korg MicroKey. Software wise I use Reason for composing and Cubase for producing the finished product. Again, I highly recommend you to get into this, do some research online on MIDI keyboards you will be surprised how many options there are and how cheap can be.

I might have a deeper look into newer MIDI Keyboards and make a blog post about them in the coming weeks, what is good and what is not.

WARNING: having a MIDI keyboard with music production software is addictive as you are always coming up with something new and you won’t want to leave your room or even sleep. For those of you who live in the Southern Hemisphere it might be a good time to get into it now. It’s said that the brain works better when it’s cold…

All the best with your learning!