Yamaha Apps open up a whole new world of capabilities within your instrument
Yamaha have created a whole host of great apps to enhance all aspects of your playing, adding a very useful element to their already formidable repertoire of products. Whether you’re looking to improve your playing, your recording capabilities or you’re just starting out on your piano/keyboard/drums or guitar journey, there’s an app that can help you open up new features of your instrument or help make that learning curve seem less steep. Today we’re going to look at a selection of the apps available and discuss how each one could benefit your playing, recording or learning.
First on our list is the incredible Visual Performer App. This is definitely one for those who want to make their live show, or even their practice sessions more enjoyable by adding a visual element to their playing. Visual Performer essentially takes what you’re playing and graphically visualizes it by playing certain graphic animations in time with whatever you’re playing, whether it be a keyboard, a drum kit or another compatible MIDI musical device. The animation creates visually stunning representations of what you’re playing on your drums or keyboard, changing in time with the pitch and volume of your playing. Yamaha have included three great visual patterns with the option to upgrade to another 7 visualization options. Best of all it’s iPad/iPhone compatible, can be hooked up to your Apple TV via HSMI cable and AirPlay. You can even save performances and share them, online or via email. Check out the video below for an example of what this great app is capable of.
My Music Recorder
The My Music Recorder App has been designed with those parents in mind who want to effectively track their child’s progress whilst they learn piano. It’s a great way to monitor their progress, record what they’re doing and motivate them to learn how to play as the app does a great job of rewarding their progression. When the piano is connected to an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, the My Music Recorder app counts the number of notes your child plays as well as the number of recorded songs they play through and the total recorded time, rewarding them with stamps and little collectible icons as they go along. The longer they practice, the more stamps and unlockables they can collect. An interesting feature that parents will appreciate is the fact that results can be shared with friends and family. The performance can be recorded thanks to the built in camera and then emailed or uploaded to YouTube so Nan & Grandad, Mum & Dad and anyone else you care to share the results with can see how their little Mozart in the making is getting along – a great feature that will spur your little musician on, no doubt.
For those who may feel a little too old to be collecting stamps, there is a similar version for adults called Piano Diary that actually rewards you with new sounds instead. Simply hook up your MIDI instrument to the Yamaha i-MX1 cable and record your performances in the app to listen to later. All performance data is automatically stored to the ‘Cloud’ in the Piano Diary servers so you can login at any time and listen back to a performance on any iPad/iPhone anywhere. It will even keep track of how often you practice, which is why it’s aptly titled ‘Piano Diary’ letting you know when you need to get back to working on those scales or so you can show off how much time you’ve been putting in. You can also change your MIDI performances to audio for use in slideshows, where you can upload to social channels and even YouTube, should you want to show the world how good you’re getting – and so you should!
< The Sound Controller app offers the user an even greater selection of control sets, effects and setting options all through their smartphone or tablet. This great little app allows you to control aspects such as Pitch Bend & Modulation, Reverb, Chorus and other aspects such as Volume & Pan via their iPad, iPod touch or iPhone. This is perfect for those who may have a keyboard that doesn’t come with a great deal of options to play around with. You can change the cutoff & resonance, the Attack & Release settings and even create your very own thanks to 5 blank user presets. Better yet, you also have 20 preset arpeggio types that contain a vast array of different instrument types and grooves – perfect for adding a new dimension to your performance. Just hook it up via the i-UX1 USB MIDI interface and you’re good to go. A perfect app for those who want to get a whole lot more out of their keyboard without having to upgrade to an entirely new instrument – it will breathe new life into your piano for sure.
This is quite an interesting app for those who need alternative tuning capabilities without too much fuss. The Scale Tuner app allows the user to change the tuning of any compatible Yamaha keyboard or digital piano to Arabic or pure temperament tuning. Just connect it to the i-MX1 to your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch and choose from equal, pure (major and minor), plus 8 typical Arabic scales. For those who need more control over their tuning settings, you can even tune an individual key and save those settings to any of the 5 memory slots for easy recollection later on. Check out the demo below to get an idea as to what this app can really do for your performance.
Sometimes when we’re playing keyboard, finding the right instrument to go with a certain song can be an absolute nightmare, especially if you have hundreds of voices to choose from. Yamaha’s Repertoire Finder does all the hard work for you and instantly lets you call up a variety of recommended sounds and styles based on an ever growing database. If you feel like playing this week’s number one song on the radio, but you’re not sure what voice to use, simply search the app for songs by name or artist name and Repertoire Finder will seek out the most appropriate instrument sounds so you can play along. Heard a song on the radio that you’d like to play? No problem, just search the app anytime or anyplace on your iPad or iPhone and sync it when you get back home. You can even double check that you’re using the right voice as the song preview mode allows you to listen to the track via iTunes. You can even request a song that you’re having trouble finding via the online community, add your favourite songs into a playlist and view each and every voice applicable to the song you’re using. For those in cover bands this is a vital tool that can really help you nail that sound on stage.
One of the best ways to learn guitar or piano is to learn songs that you love to listen to as that enthusiasm can really translate across to an instrument. With this in mind Yamaha have created the extremely useful Chord Tracker app that is perfect for both beginners and those who want to expand their song repertoire quickly. The Chord Tracker app lets you discover the chords in an audio track in real time, by extracting the chord sequences on songs stored on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. The app listens to the song and shows you what chords to play and when – making it an ideal app for those in cover bands who need to learn the latest songs in a hurry. You can change the tempo of the song, loop certain parts and even suppress the vocals to create a backing track. For piano players, the app is extremely useful when coupled UD-WL01 wi-fi adapter, you can play back music in the chord tracker app through the speakers of your compatible keyboard such as the PSR-S670 and even transfer the chords to your chosen instrument and play it back in a different style. Whether you need guitar tabs or piano chords, it will show you exactly what to play and when – a great tool for professionals and beginners alike. Take a look below:
Digital Piano Controller
Not everyone likes the look of a display screen on their digital piano, but they might want to be able to scroll quickly through all the voices available on their instrument. Yamaha have put together the Digital Piano Controller app, which effectively does everything the name says! It gives you greater control over the voices on your digital piano. Using the app on your iPhone or iPad you can not only select the different voices available, but actually learn about all the characteristics of each voice and read some advice on how best to use them in a song via some examples. You can actually layer two different voices together in “Dual” mode and save personal settings for when you want to recall them later on, say at practice or during performances. Just hook it up via the i-UX1 interface and watch as a whole world of great sounds open up!
Cloud Audio Recorder
Anyone who likes to record music, whether little demos or full songs, will appreciate the Cloud Audio Recorder from Yamaha. This nifty little app uses the microphone in your iPhone or iPad to record your instrument, whether it be a guitar, clarinet or your dog barking and then allows you to trim, normalize and add effects to your song. You can add reverb, gain use the noise suppression feature and then upload it to SoundCloud easily for sharing. This is a great app for those who want to record quick demos or 30 minute epics and swiftly upload them online. The key thing musicians will appreciate is the editing capabilities that are easy to use and very quick to navigate. It’s a no fuss, recording app perfect for songwriters or practicing musicians.
If you’ve ever heard a song on the radio and wanted to join the band, the Notestar app will be something you’ll appreciate. This great app offers up easy to read, smooth-flowing digital sheet music that is matched with real audio backing tracks that have been recorded by professional studio musicians. If you’re learning how to play the piano, you can play along with your favourite track once downloaded from the extensive library of songs within the NoteStar store, slow it down to get used to playing it, isolate the music or even isolate the vocals to give you that “in the band” feeling. You can increase the note size, transpose a song and use the hands free page turning capabilities to make sure your hands never have to leave the keys. Each song is professionally recorded and completely synced with the sheet music to make sure you’re playing along at the correct time. Ideal for those who want to learn some new songs to add to their repertoire.
The reface range from Yamaha has really captivated musicians of all levels owing to the beautiful design, portability and of course the wide range of sounds and voices available in the series. The Reface Capture App allows you to effectively rate, name and assign a custom image to each stored voice within the reface series. The built-in audition function plays some preset phases once connected to your reface to show you how the voice will sound – a great feature if you want to demo a bunch of sounds before you commit to them. You can organise all your preferred voices into Set Lists to save you from calling them up manually when you arrive at a gig or get to practice a little late (we all know it happens!) and you can even share, scan and create QR codes of reface Voices via the custom QR code generator and scanner. If you have a reface instrument, it’s definitely worth adding this app to your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Check out the reface CP below:
DTX400 Drum Lessons
If you’ve just started playing drums, the learning curve can be a little difficult to handle at first, but it should by no means put you off! With this in mind, Yamaha have created a selection of apps to help drummers get to grips with this awesome instrument. DTX400 Drum Lessons helps beginners to learn by teaching them, the basics of drumming. Not only does it actually explain the different types of wood and how they change the sound of your drums, as you have a range of sampled kits to get through with the DTX400, but it even shows you how to do simple things like hold the sticks, how to play the hi-hat and a breaks down a variety of really useful technique tutorials. There’s also a variety of training functions and video drum lessons for 10 different groove styles. It’s a great app for the beginner or the professional who just wants to brush up on some basic skills.
Song Beats is another great “play along” app that actually teaches you and hones your drumming skills whilst you play along to your favourite songs or from 10 of the free demo songs included within the app. Song beats shows you which drum to hit and when, allowing you to see exactly how to play a song – a great feature for those who are in cover bands, or those who are learning a new song from scratch. Designed to work with the Yamaha electronic drum DTX series via the i-UX1, you can play along with a backing band and mute certain instruments whilst you’re jamming along with either the Yamaha DTX522K Electronic Drum kit or the DTX400K. You can test your skills and create simplified beats for practice. The A-B looping feature is great for when that fill or drum section is hard to nail first time whilst the tempo change allows you to slow down the song or speed up depending on how confident you are. If you want to learn how to play drums or want to access 1,000s of drum tracks from your favourite songs via the built-in shop, this app is for you.
Finally we have MusicSoft Manager, the best way to purchase, transfer and back-up all of your content as well as access the Yamaha MusicStore from your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The cool thing about this app is that it acts as a great conduit to transfer song data purchased in the MusicStore to your instrument via wi-fi or cable. It can also allow you to store recordings effectively. It’s essentially a database of all your purchases, song recordings and data – ideal for those who want to make the most out of these great Yamaha apps!
Check out these great apps and more from Yamaha available on the app store now and open up a whole new world of capabilities with your Yamaha keyboard and digital piano. Remember to check out the Yamaha MD-BT01 Bluetooth Wireless Midi Interface, UD-BT01 Bluetooth Wireless USB Interface, i-MX1 cable and the i-UX1 USB Midi Interface as you’ll need one of these depending on which app you choose. Click here to go to the App store.
Lee Glynn is a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who lives in Liverpool, England. After moving to the UK from Perth, Australia, Lee enjoyed a successful career as guitarist in Liverpool based rock band Sound of Guns.
After releasing two albums, a myriad of EPs / singles and touring extensively around the world for 6 years including stops at Glastonbury, Latitude Festival, as well as the coveted Reading & Leeds Festivals, Lee decided it was a time for a change of scenery.
Utilising his experience in music journalism, Lee now works within the web team at Dawsons Music, where he can still relay his passion for music by producing great content for the Dawsons blog and social media. Lee is still an avid guitar player and writer.