Developer: SuperMegaUltraGroovy, Inc.
Price: $19.99 Download on the App Store
Capo is a clever app that gets to the heart of why budding musicians bother to practice in the first place: to learn to play the songs they love. Toward this end, Capo will slow down whatever music you have saved on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad, so that you can play along at a speed that matches your skill level. With practice, the user will be able to speed up the track and play along at the regular playback speed.
Is this a single-purpose app? You bet. But that is not a criticism. What Capo does, Capo does impressively. When Capo slows down a track, the pitch is left unchanged-- in other words, the vocalist’s voice will not sound like some basso profundo monster. However, if you want to play with the pitch for whatever reason, Capo will do it. You can add markers to particular parts of a song you mean to practice, or even loop one part of the song over and over again, to practice continuously until you get it right.
It’s no surprise that Capo for iOS works like it should, as Capo for Mac has been slowing down tracks for musicians for some time now. However, as a young iOS app, there is room for improvement. For example, there is no feature that allows a track to be sped up. Sure, this would have limited utility for a musician, but it’s no more or less useful than pitch alteration, which the developer (the hilariously named SuperMegaUltraGroovy) thought to include. With sped-up, pitch-corrected playback, Capo might also be used to zip through podcasts or even audiobooks.
While Capo might be missing a feature or two, the features it has are in no need of improvement. The user interface is not only intuitive and functional, but also very slick. Songs are chosen from a layout that perfectly mimics the native iPod app, right down to the user-customized tabs at the bottom of the screen. Once songs have been imported into Capo, the album art displays next to them as a thumbnail. These little details make Capo a pleasure to use.
Amateur musicians who are serious about mastering their craft will definitely enjoy Capo, but all others might be scared off by the inexplicably steep $19.99 price tag. While that price will likely drop with time, those who can stomach the bill now will not be disappointed by Capo’s performance.