Every musician needs a working knowledge of music theory in order to ply their trade, but like with all other knowledge, the basics can deteriorate in your over time if you haven’t trotted them out in a while. Enter Dr. Joel Clifft, music professor of USC and APU, with Music Theory Pro, an app that musicians of all levels will find useful. In spite of being developed by a professor, Music Theory Pro doesn’t make you read tons of text, spit out facts or recite a lecture at you; instead, this app challenges you by outright testing.
There are five areas that this app covers: note names, key signatures, intervals, chords, and ear training. In all of them, you are able to adjust the level of difficulty by tapping on the gear button and customizing the question topics. Once you choose an area, the app will immediately throw you straight into testing–it’s just like being in school again! Even better, the test is timed. If you’re ever stuck, you have the ability to cheat a little by tapping the question mark button on the button, which will review some of the concepts you’re being tested on. If you feel confident in your scores, you can post them and see if you’re a top student. By the time you go through the entire app, you’ll be able to:
Identify by sight
Identify by ear
Music Theory Pro is straightforward and easy to use, even if some of the topics aren’t easy to grasp. Beautifully designed and easy to navigate, you don’t ever have to waste time trying to figure out what your next step should be. However, it is also an app that requires at least some knowledge beforehand, or you’ll be hard-pressed to keep up (i.e., if you haven’t studied music theory at all, you’ll be completely lost). This is not really a beginner’s sort of app, but those that do possess enough music theory will enjoy utilizing it. The testing aspect in particular is great–learning through a series of little quizzes is nearly always more effective than just reading text. You don’t have to carry around your instrument to practice your art…sometimes all you need is an app.
Here is a video demo of the Music Theory Pro app on the iPhone
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My kids have studied piano for about a year and this app is great in drilling note name recognition. For me, a college graduate of music school, I like the ear training. The only thing I’d like to see added is more extensions on the chords, like maj9, min9, dominant 9th, #11, b9, #9, etc. Other than that a great app that I wish I had 20 years ago in my aural skills class!Posted on November 13th, 2010 at 8:42 pm by Dave