App Review: Tempo is a Musician’s Best Friend

by Dorothy   on April 2, 2009
Filed under Daily App Reviews, Music, Utility

temposquare1 150x150 App Review: Tempo is a Musicians Best FriendMetronomes are expensive to buy and then you have to carry it around with you to orchestra rehearsals, quartet practices, and lessons.  Tempo by Frozen Ape allows you to use your iPhone, which you are probably carrying everywhere anyway, as a metronome.  The only questions are, does it have all the functions you need and how well does it work?

After downloading this app and playing with it for a few minutes, I am convinced that it is a great tool for anyone involved with music.  The user interface is simple and easy to use, which is a must.  The home screen has all of the basic metronome functions.  You can easily choose the tempo by using the up and down arrows.  You can also tap along with music to find the tempo that is being used.  The longer you tap, the more accurate the tempo becomes.  You can do this with the metronome sounds and lights on or off and it will adjust to your tapping.  To help you keep tempo and perform more accurately, you can also add a meter and a beat to the metronomes tapping.  There are 6 of the most common meters displayed, but if you tap and hold one of the six, it opens another menu where you can select from even more meters.   The meter that you choose determines the number and arrangement of the lights across the top of the screen.  There is one light for each beat in the meter.  You can further subdivide the beat by tapping one of the beat buttons.  The lights will flash on the beats, but the metronome will tick on each of the subdivisions thereof (ie. eighth notes, triplets, etc.).  You can also change the beat emphasis by selecting or deselecting the lights at the top of the screen.  The metronome defaults to accenting the downbeat of each measure.  However, you can turn that one off by tapping the first light and turn others on by tapping them.  These functions alone make for a useful metronome.

tempo2 269x180 custom App Review: Tempo is a Musicians Best Friendtempo1 269x180 custom App Review: Tempo is a Musicians Best Friend

If you tap on the “i” in the corner of the screen, you open up even more possibilities.  You can turn on or off the full screen flash on the down beat.  You can also choose between two play modes.  The first, Solo, will allow the metronome to keep playing even when the screen is locked.  The second, Overlay, allows you to play the metronome over music that is on your iPhone/iPod.  However in this mode, the metronome will stop when your screen is locked.  There are 3 choices of sounds for the metronome to make.  Digital sounds like a digital metronome.  Analog sounds like a mechanical metronome.  Drum Kit makes it sound like you are playing along with a drum set.

The last function is the tuning function.  If you don’t have a piano around to tune your instrument to, this function can be extremely helpful.  You can choose any note in the diatonic scale to tune to.  Unfortunately, you cannot fine tune your selection and tune to an A444 instead of A440, but for most people that is not necessary.

Overall, Tempo is a great metronome app that eliminates the cost of buying a more expensive device and lugging it around.  It performs many functions that are often seen only in more expensive metronomes like Dr. Beat.

Tempo is $0.99 in the iTunes App Store.

Developer’s Website:


14 Responses to “App Review: Tempo is a Musician’s Best Friend”
  1. Isabelle says:

    J’ai acheté pour mon ipod puisque c’était indiqué compatible, mais l’application ne se charge pas sur mon ipod. Pouvez vous m’aidez?

    I have bought this application for my Ipod (it was specified ipod compatible) but the application doesn’t download from my itunes on my ipod. Can you help me?

  2. admin says:

    Sorry, we can’t offer support for iTunes or devices. However, you should be able to buy the app on iTunes (on your computer) and sync it to your iPod OR you can re-buy it from iTunes on your iPod and it should just download right to your device. Buying it again on the iPod does not cost anything, it just downloads it directly to the device so long as you are logged in with the same iTunes account on both.

  3. Craig says:

    Does this app have the ability to preset a meter and save it for future recall? As a drummer, I am thinking of building a set list with the song title and associated tempo for quick recall while gigging.

  4. Mike says:

    I love the app, the features, the ease of use and the price. Any chance of adding a small clock at the top of the screen (a timer would be a great plus…even if it was in the form of a timer you set on the ’setlist’ and when time expires simply post a pop-up on the screen that says ‘time up’. I use the app to practice drum rudiments and not having to hop out of this app into the clock feature would be great. Thanks, Mike.

  5. Grant says:

    I love this metronome, but there is one feature
    missing that I would really like.
    My favorite PC metronome has a function that allows
    you to program it to alternate between several
    measures with sound and several silent measures.
    It’s a great practice tool to help develop bulletproof
    timing. I hope that someday you consider adding
    that feature. You would be the only metronome app
    in the app store that had it. Great job with it as it is now!

  6. EdM says:

    Hi, love this app as drummer in a band works good :)

    Would see one improvement tough: Start directly from out of the setlist.
    Saves me a lot of switching between setlist and player.

  7. Lew Smith says:

    Great app. We play music that is often in composite rhythms so the ability to take, for example, the 11/4 option and change the emphasis on the beats is a great help. I would like it if your app could accommodate even longer measures, perhaps user defined. For example I am currently working on a piece in 18 (7/4+11/4), and we do play pieces in even longer measures. For a piece in 11 we were playing last night the 250 tempo was a little slower than we wanted to play, but it was a good tempo for practice. Perhaps you could accommodate faster tempos? Extend the tempo meter to 280 or 300?

  8. Gary says:

    Hello, Great ap,
    Can I run this on my Macbook pro?
    I would be happy to pay for this.


  9. Brian says:

    This is the best metronome ape for iPhone. It does everything. I wish this was available for OSX.

  10. Phil says:

    Brilliant app. Very flexible. I am actually using it to reproduce beats required in piano tuning. Two different notes often share similar harmonics and to tune a piano (eg in equal temperament) it is often necessary to have these harmonics slightly offset: This produces an audible beat.

    I can recreate this beat to a certain extent using TEMPO ( I set TEMPO to bpm and then add – say – a semiquaver offbeat) but what would be really useful would be to be able to set a constant beat (without a seperate “downbeat”) and ideally to be able to do this at beats per sec as well as bpm.

    There is a whole new app possible here by using two adjustable frequencies (KHz) to recreate a beat, but thats a different story.

    Well done on a great and affordable app

  11. Lew Smith says:

    I’m very pleased with the performance of this app We are using it during individual practice and group rehearsal by using the iPod to drive a guitar amp. For some of our tunes it doesn’t reach the speed at which we will play for dancers, could you boost the tempo settings to 400 in your next upgrade?

  12. Rodney Harrison says:

    Let me start by stating that I am a professional drummer. You have a good app that can be the best in its field. What all drummers need, beginners as well as advanced players, is to not only have the rudiments at hand, but we need the sticking …take a look at the Korg BeatLab drum machine. It is a metronome and rudiment teacher that can be played at various tempos. It also shows the sticking with visual as well as audible cues. You guys have the best metronome app for performing drummers. As of now I practice to both the Korg drum machine and the tempo app on my iPod Touch. It would convenient if I could have all the features in one app rather than carrying two devices on the road. I would be willing to pay for this upgrade.

    Thank you!

  13. Dan says:

    I’ve been using this for months now, and I can only recommend it. Especially with the latest update (as of March 24, 2010) it’s perfect. It doesn’t lag, it’s unbelievably consistent no matter how it’s set and now it’s tempo ranges from 10-800, not bad!

    Yes. It does have a Set list. I guess you can have an unlimited number of settings.

  14. Adam says:

    Is it possible to transfer a song from one set list to another? I’m a professional drummer and this app is almost perfect for live shows. This feature, if it doesn’t already exist, would make it absolutely perfect. Sell your $100+ click track and get this app.


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