Review: Capo For Mac

Review: Capo For Mac

When I’m not working on my Mac, one the the things I like to do is play the guitar. Not being much of a music theorist, however, I often find myself frustrated when trying to pick the cords out a song from my iTunes library. If you’ve ever found yourself in that position, you need Capo for Mac ($49.95) – a great piece of software that analyzes and helps you learn your iTunes music by providing cords, slowing down the pitch, and even helps you write the tablature.

Overview

Capo, by SuperMegaUltraGroovy, is a neat little program for that Mac that you feed a song into in order to learn how to play it on an instrument. The app can tell you which chord is sounding in any portion of the song, can speed up or slow down the playback, alter the pitch to match your vocal range, and make a world of difference in helping you to learn how to play the song.

Initial Thoughts

Capo, with its simple, easy-to-use interface, is an absolute must-have utility for any guitar player with a Mac and a collection of iTunes music – it greatly simplifies the experience of learning a song by ear, and makes it easy and even fun to break down your iTunes music note-by-note.

One important tip that I should offer here is that it’s important to learn the keyboard shortcuts for Capo – they make the experience that much better and smoother than simply tapping buttons with your mouse or trackpad.

Design

The first time I tried using Capo, I was a bit overwhelmed. I imported one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs (Blowing In The Wind, if you must know) just to figure out how everything worked, and was immediate surprised at how intuitive the interface was.

What separates Capo from other software I have used is its beautiful UI and ease of use. The buttons are all easy to identify and clear in purpose, and it’s a natural experience to just jump into the software and get started – no tutorial necessary!

Functionality

The main function of Capo is to display your song in wave-form, and allow you to speed up and slow down the tempo. It also gives you the ability to raise or lower the pitch of your song to match your voice or key preference on your instrument, all while keeping track of what happens to the chords in the process. At the same time, it allows you to “mark up” the song, and clicking on the chord button at any point in the song displays exactly which cord is sounding at that time – an extremely useful piece of info to have, and one that can be hard to detect on your own.

The quality of the sound at the various speeds and pitches is remarkable good – Capo clearly uses a very refined audio processing engine, as the sounds are neither distorted nor broken when altered through the app.

The most brilliant aspect of Capo is just how remarkably easy it is to simplify your music – by slowing your music down a bit, listening in, and marking the chords, all of which are a breeze in Capo, even complicated chord passages become easy to navigate. While listening, you can even use keyboard shortcuts to mark the verses of your song, among other things.

Verdict

I really appreciate Capo – It served a need that I didn’t even know I had, and did so very well. By visualizing my music files, and making it easy to slow them down, identify chords, and even transpose the music in my iTunes library, Capo has actually changed the way that I go about learning new music on my guitar – and that’s something that will leave a lasting impression.

Rating & Conclusion

Rating: 5 out of 5

There’s so much more to Capo than meets they eye, and much more than I can describe in a single review – I highly recommend downloading it and giving it a solid try. If you like it, buy it – you won’t regret it, and if you play the guitar much at all, it will come in handy again and again. Below are a few of the pros and cons I encountered in this review:

Pros

  • Simple to use, includes defined keyboard shortcuts.
  • Visualizes your music, making it easier to learn.
  • Offers the ability to export your work for later viewing and editing.
  • Excellent sound quality, even when varying the pitch and/or tempo of your music.

Cons

  • At $50, this isn’t the cheapest app, so make sure it’s worth it before purchasing.
  • It can take a while to really get the hang of using the program well.
  • Doesn’t work with music that has DRM protection.

If you own a guitar, and have already mastered the basic chords, picks, strums, and so forth, you may as well consider Capo for Mac an essential app – and an essential part of your investment in learning and playing the guitar. It truly is an invaluable resource.

For more information, or to purchase Capo for Mac ($50, on sale right now for $40), which recently won a design award at Apple’s World-Wide Developer Conference, visit SuperMegaUltraGroovy online.

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