App Review: Tempo Slow

Tempo Slow App Review

Contributed by Mike Deniz

IMG_0291If you’re like me, you download some tunes to your computer or mobile device that you dream of figuring out how to play one day – even if it’s only the base melody or a particular “riff”. The logical place to start is trying to find the sheet music online, but that often doesn’t pan out.  Another option is to use an app that can slow down your music sufficiently for you to play by ear.  There are many such apps out there; some free, some requiring purchase. One such free app that I use is Tempo Slow – also called Tempo SlowMo. It is available for iOS and Android platforms (I use mine on my iPhone).  The user interface is fairly easy to figure out as you start to work with it.

IMG_0290Once installed, you can select a song from your device playlist, Dropbox, WiFi connection, or even record ambient audio from your device’s microphone. From there a touch sensitive “turn wheel” lets you select the speed of play based on a percentage of the original tempo (100%).  If you’re in a masochistic frame of mind, you can even speed up the tune by cranking the wheel over 100%.  It should be noted that at some threshold the sound becomes increasingly “muddy” the more you decrease the speed. The percentage where this starts to occur depends on the tune. For songs with one or a couple of instruments, you can crank the percentage lower before you reach a point of diminishing returns. I find I can go down as low as half speed (50%) on my fiddle-only tunes, but for all others I can still get decent resolution at 65% tempo.

IMG_0292A swipe of the screen brings you to another screen which displays your song’s time track in the same turn wheel format. From here you have the ability to insert three different types of markers anywhere along the song’s duration.  One type of marker set lets you identify a start and end point anywhere along the song, so you are not relegated to playing it from the beginning each time or manually pressing “stop”. Another set of markers lets you play-loop any segment of the song over and over. This is particularly useful when you are trying to hammer out a difficult part so you don’t have to put your instrument down. The third marker lets you quickly return to a specific point in the track. To remove a marker, just touch it and hold for 2 seconds.

For more on this app, please go to the following links:

Google Play Store
Apple App Store