Gengar Studio has created a program called Pitch Pipe which sells for $2.99 at the Apple AppStore.
As I have previously mentioned, I teach high school choir, and choirs often have the need for a reference pitch. As of the date of this review, there are two pitch pipe applications available, and of the two, I chose to purchase this program. The program is simple and effective, with clean graphics and ease of use. When a pitch plays, the pitch is highlighted on the screen, and it appears at the bottom of the screen as well. The sounds, with one exception (which I will mention in a moment) are good, and I particularly like the volume slider on the bottom of the program. I have used Pocket PCs and Palm devices in the past to give pitches for various events (singing the National Anthem at a Minnesota Twins game, or to give a pitch backstage with the Minnesota Opera) , and the ability to adjust volume ON the same page as the pitch pipe itself is a great thing.
There are two things, and only two things, that the program could improve upon. The first is to offer various pitches for the “home key” of the pitch pipe, such as with the original Master Key Pitch Pipe. The C to C is offered, and is the most popular, but an F to F and E-flat to E-flat should also be offered. Second, the sampled songs fade in, so that there isn’t an abrupt start to the sound. Unfortunately, the sampled sound isn’t very long, and you can hear the “dip” in the sound as the “fade-in” loops in the recording. The “dip” almost sounds like a change in pitch. I would suggest sampling a pure wave of sound, and allowing the program itself control the “fade in” as the sound begins. As a teacher, I wish I could offer a pitch for the length of time of the recording…but there are times when a pitch needs to be sounded longer. Ultimately, this is a real negative, as some other programs offer sine wav sounds that last indefinitely.
If you have a 1st generation iPod touch, you’ll need a way to amplify the sound from the headphone jack, otherwise all iPhones and 2nd generation iPod touch models will project the sound over the external speaker.
At $2.99, this program is a good value, and it looks great and works reasonably well. Considering a actual Master Key Pipe will cost you between $18 and $25, not counting shipping or tax, that’s a bargain! This program is recommended for use in music education.
Application Description (from iTunes):
This handy application provides pitch references for musicians and singers.
It’s a chromatic pitch pipe ideal for a cappella singers and timpanists. With thirteen pitches, each a half step above the previous, Pitch Pipe provides all of the notes of a single octave, so a singer can start in any key required by Western music. To use, play the initial key note or tonic of the piece to be sung. You can also play the first sung note of the song, particularly when the song begins in unison or with a solo.
Having a Pitch Pipe inn your iPhone is useful because you always have it with you. Normal pitch pipes can gradually change pitch as the material hardens with use, and since they are often carried in a pocket, lint can work its way into the device and affect the sound. Pitch Pipe for iPhone has none of these problems.