App Review: Tempo is a Musician’s Best Friend
Metronomes 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.
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: www.frozenape.com