Musicopolous is an iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad app that is intended to help the user practice music theory skills, mostly related to building scales, intervals, and chords as well as sight reading skills such as identifying the names of key signatures and note names when shown on the grand staff. For this review the app was tested on an iPhone 4. How did it measure up to the competition? Read on to find out.
Music Theory Drills In Musicopolous
The music theory portion of Musicopolous has a large number of different drill sets to choose from ranging from identifying the notes that make up various intervals, chords, and scales to naming key signatures and the relationships between different scales. All of these theory drills are done in text format which is actually a good thing, in my opinion, making the user see the notes in his head instead of having a staff with the notes on the screen to use as a crutch. The theory drills are adjustable in difficulty from easy to hard, and at the advanced level will give even seasoned musicologists a bit of a challenge.
All of the music theory exercises in Musicopolous are timed, starting as soon as the exercise is displayed. While this is fine I found myself thinking that it might be nicer to have an instruction page with a start button be the first thing you see when you select an exercise rather than having to jump right into it. Once you get the hang of how the app is designed it becomes fairly easy to navigate and enter in the answers, but for first time users the interface can seem a little bit stark and unwelcoming.
Sight Reading Drills In Musicopolous
As for the sight reading drills things are pretty straight forward. A key signature or a note in the treble or bass clef is displayed and the user has to enter the answer as quickly as possible. There are no penalties for wrong answers, nor are there bonuses for fast, accurate answers. In other words, the scoring system is pretty bare bones, just competing against the clock rather than accumulating points. Turning off either the treble or bass clef is simply a matter of touching either clef during the sight reading drills, however I must admit that I probably never would have thought to do that until I saw the tip that referenced it buried at the very bottom of the note identification theory lesson page.
Musicopolous does what it sets out to do. It provides the user with plenty of variations and brain twisting theory questions. Racing against the clock is a nice touch but some start/stop/pause controls would be a nice addition. While not quite at the level of apps like Karajan the Musicopolous music theory app is still a valid and useful way to practice theory and sight reading skills for any musician.