Category Archives: Android
Every now and then, I get an e-mail from a developer about their app (as a note, when the e-mail comes from the developer and not a PR firm, it makes me more likely to pay attention to the app. There are four of five blogs [in total] that discuss apps for music education, and all of us link to each other. It doesn't take that long to reach out to us). Not all apps are easily applicable to music education, and I choose not to blog about some apps, particularly when I don't see the connection to classroom music (which to me also includes band, choir, and orchestra).
The app I would like to bring to your attention today IS an app that is applicable to music education, and it is free without ads. It is a tuner called Bandmate Chromatic Tuner.
From the developer:
My name is Justin Dickson. I am a middle school band director in North Carolina. I wanted to tell you about an app that I designed. It is called Bandmate Chromatic Tuner, available for iOS and Android. It is free, with no ads so it is safe for classroom use. It is a chromatic tuner that displays your note on a music staff. It is the only tuner that does this. Since launching in August, it has had over 36,000 downloads. It has been a game changer with my beginners. Being able to see what note they are playing has made it so much easier to learn how to read music and play the correct notes on their instruments. Bandmate is set up for every instrument that you find in school bands and orchestras, and handles transposition without the user even needing to know what transposition is. In other words, Bandmate is an app that you can use on your first day of beginning band / orchestra with basically no explanation or set up time from the teacher. Download it, turn it on, and go with your lesson.
The unique element of this app is that it is a tuner that visually shows the pitch that is being played on the staff (with transposition in mind), unlike other tuners that show only the frequency. The only other app that comes to my mind that shows the pitch that is played is Magic Stave MIDI Recorder (or Magic Stave Free), but that app isn't a “tuner first,” are still iPhone apps (universal iOS versions are coming), and the free version is ad supported.
I know there is a HUGE following for TonalEnergy Chromatic Tuner and I am NOT suggesting that you “bail” on that app. Sometimes it is nice to have multiple tools in the toolkit, and Bandmate is a nice addtion that is straightforward for beginning students (and beginning technology users) [As a side note, also check out Band Tools].
So…if you tune instruments…go download Bandmate Chromatic Tuner!
Tim Holt’s recent article on EdSurge resulted in a lot of debate, including this recent rebuttal (pro-Chromebook). You can find the rebuttal by Joshua Kim at https://www.edsurge.com/n/2014-06-30-3-reasons-why-chromebook-beats-ipad-in-1-1-programs
Here are Kim’s main points:
In January 2013, Musitek released its latest version of its music scanning/recognition software, Smart Score Pro X2. I own SmartScore Pro X, and downloaded the demo. I had also purchased Neuratron’s PhotoScore Ultimate, and on the pieces I used for comparison, PhotoScore Ultimate did a better job of scanning than SmartScore Pro X2, so I chose not to buy the upgrade ($99).
I did notice, at the time, that Musitek was promising “mobile devices” in 2013 (see below):
A techinmusiced reader sent me a post from Musitek that was on Facebook today:
The text from the Facebook post indicates that this was using Musitek’s NoteReader App on Android, and apparently you still need to pull the data captured from the app into SmartScore itself to edit the data (no indication if NoteReader can export as a MusicXML file to another program instead). I hope the plan isn’t to force the user back to the computer–that defeats the purpose.
At the same time, Neuratron has just released a music handwriting recognition app, NotateMe (app link with referral), which also promises to add PhotoScore capability to the app in the near future.
It is about time for music scanning companies to take advantage of mobile devices for their software, particularly as a camera (of high quality) is attached to the device and the guessing game of scanner quality will no longer be an issue. There is a time coming–in the VERY near future–where a desktop computer will no longer be needed to notate music. For me, this includes the tasks of writing music by hand (right on the tablet), playing music into the app (with an attached instrument), or scanning a paper copy of music (taking pictures of each page, converting to music notation). This is going to be even more true with coming 64-bit processors in all our mobile devices.
Now, what I find interesting is that both Musitek and Neuratron have adopted an Android-first process (although the iOS version of NotateMe came out within weeks of the Android version). Perhaps that is because Android programming is more similar to desktop programming than iOS; or perhaps the iOS approval process is longer. Android apps in music education, to this point, have not been very abundant, whereas the iOS app selection for music education apps is overwhelming.
I am not sure how the world will accept these “expensive” apps. For example, Notion for the iPad (app link with referral) is currently $16. NotateMe (app link with referral) is $13 (which is 50% off). Anyone who has bought a “full” version of software–notation, music recognition, etc.–will recognize the “deal” these apps represent. But the marketplace is full of free and ad-supported apps that reach a much wider audience (e.g. how many more people would download Temple Run versus NotateMe?).
At any rate–interesting times lie ahead where your tablet really can be a computer replacement.
Now–if we can only get Apple to let us save audio to the music library!
Note: all app links on techinmusiced include a referral code that sends a percentage of the purchase price of the app to techinmusiced.com. No extra cost is added to the price of the app, so if you are going to purchase an app mentioned on techinmusiced.com, please consider doing so with the referral link that is provided.
Paul Shimmons already posted about this, but there is a new app that converts written music to “printed” notation called NotateMe. It is by Neuratron, the makers of PhotoScore (the scanning software that comes with Sibelius).
Here is a YouTube link:
And a link to the app (also available on Android) that seems to be a universal binary on iOS (runs on iPhones and iPads)
It is 50% off right now and will have future abilities to do music scanning (PhotoScore) right on your device (for an additional fee).
I am purchasing this now and will blog more later.
This post is a request for those of you who own Android devices. I’ve been working on a new release of my book “Practical Technology for Music Education” which features “key” app lists for a number of devices, including Android.
I’m having a very hard time finding quality apps to recommend for Android.
My list, so far, includes:
- Mobile Sheets
- EZ PDF
- iReal b
- Remind 101
- Class Dojo
- Music Theory Lessons Pro
If I can be blunt, I’m looking for the great must-have apps, not just apps that have some component of music education in them. The sort of apps that say, “Buy an Android tablet just because of this app.”
Yes, I’m an iPad owner and apologist; and no, I’m not asking that question in jest. There might actually be apps on the Android platform that are unique, special, and powerful when on an Android device (note that a lot of my list includes apps that were iOS first). I’ve been looking on the two app stores and scouring the web to find apps. It isn’t easy. Please, PLEASE e-mail me if you have suggestions.
I’ve been wondering why there hasn’t been an Android version of GarageBand from another developer. The answer: latency seems to be an issue on Android devices. Latency appears to be anywhere between 20 times (at best) and 60 times (on average) worse on Android than iOS.
Think I’m lying because I’m pro-Apple? Don’t take my word for it:
I didn’t realize this until I was surfing the web for my book. I just thought that the device and OS fragmentation of Android devices–not to mention where the money in app development lies (iOS)–kept developers away from Android.
I think I had read somewhere that Miselu, the creators of the upcoming C.24 keyboard, were originally trying to design products for Android. Now I know why they chose to abandon that effort and to move to iOS.
I can’t fathom why Apple would have put a focus on low latency, and why Android would let their devices have high latency. I don’t see Apple touting iOS as being better for musicians (they certainly could); low latency is almost an afterthought on their part…something that occurred just because they did other things right.
So…if you are an Android owner/fan, and you are a musician…it looks like you won’t be getting any “serious” music apps (note: music playback and music playing are two different things) any time soon. I’m not picking on you; I’m just rather shocked to learn about this.