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Tech: Review: CAPO2 for Mac

Amos 06 Aug 10 - 10:43 AM
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Subject: Tech: Review: CAPO2 for Mac
From: Amos
Date: 06 Aug 10 - 10:43 AM

This is a fascinating piece of software!

"Capo 2 for Mac: music learning software done even better
By Jeff Smykil |

Last year we wrote about a new product from SuperMegaUltraGroovy Software called Capo. The well-designed software was essentially a tool to help users learn to play music by ear, and it worked by slowing down songs without changing their pitch. Capo restored our confidence that not all competent developers were focusing on the iPhone, and that there could still be high quality software for the Mac. Now, Capo 2 has launched. While one developer can't support an entire platform, Chris Liscio is still making really great software.

At its root, Capo 2 still focuses on slowing down music without changing the pitch, enabling users to practice along with difficult passages of music. The technique has been used since the days of record players, and is one that many budding musicians are familiar with. The core functionality of Capo is still there, and if you are interested in learning more, you can read what we had to say about the original version of Capo.

In the newest version of Capo, the waveform view has changed to spectrogram. Now instead of seeing the fluctuating amplitude of the music, you actually see the individual pitches. Individual tones are represented by what can only be described as smears; the view looks a lot like an old time piano roll.

The higher the pitch on the spectrogram, the higher it is represented; the longer the streak, the longer the duration of the note. On its own, the spectrogram would only be mildly useful, as it only shows you the relative distance between notes. What makes Capo 2 remarkable is that a user can trace the smears of the music and, in turn, automatically create tablature. (This was enough to make me drop a few expletives in amazement.) If you click on a given smear, the note representing the pitch gets played back to you.

Music with just a solo guitar can work well, and with an entire band, it works better than you'd think. You still have to use your ear to differentiate between instruments, but as you use the application, you learn to read which notes are the fundamentals and which notes are part of the overtone series."

The full review is here at Ars Technica.

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