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Capo Touch review

Learn your favourite songs on the road with this chord-recognition app

Up until recently, if you wanted to learn the chords for a particular piece of music, you had to either figure it out by ear, buy an often overpriced sheet music/ tab book, or look up fan-made transcriptions on the internet, the quality of which vary considerably. Now Capo touch is here, with the promise of telling you which chords your chosen song, loaded in from your iOS device’s Music app, contains simply by analysing them.

And it does so with some degree of success. Naturally, it’s going to work better with different genres – pop and acoustic styles yield better results than more riff-based genres. However, even for Capo touch’s more accurate songs, a rudimentary knowledge of music theory comes in handy. Although many chords Capo suggests are similar to the ones used in the actual songs, the app does tend to complicate things by adding minor sevenths and dominant sevenths, so sticking to these exact chords will make your version sound slightly different. Capo touch does, however, provide an easy way to amend the chords it suggests.

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While it is its main focus, chord recognition isn’t the app’s only trick; it also includes a sophisticated tempo alteration tool that enables you to speed up or slow down the song while keeping its original pitch. It’s a very useful feature that will help musicians dissect solos and complicated phrases, but no notation or tablature is provided, so it may be more helpful for more experienced players. Slightly less useful is a pitch change feature, which lets the user change the song’s key – it‘s effective if you’re more comfortable playing in a certain key as the software transposes the chords you need to play, but the song changes too and it can sound a bit ridiculous.

Capo touch may not get everything right first time, but its wide range of editing tools make it relatively simple to tailor the song. As well as guitar, you can choose to get chords for several string instruments including mandolin. If you’re a user of the Mac-only Capo 3 then you can transfer your projects across from Capo touch too. While the desktop version has more functionality, if you’re looking to work on your travels then Capo touch is a great way to do so.