Published on November 7th, 2012 | by Carolyn Hengman0
Mapping Tonal Harmony App Review
An innovation beneficial to students, teachers, and composers alike, the Mapping Tonal Harmony (iPad – Pro $4.99, L1 Intro $1.99) app aims to simplify harmonic progression and playing notes and chords within particular keys. Music theory is broken down into chords and wheels that turn to display the relevant major and minor chords to make songwriting easier and quicker for both novice and professional musicians.
As a helpful tool for musicians of any level, the app’s interface has seven layers of complexity ranging from basic diatonic scales to advanced secondary functions in both major and minor modes for all 12 keys and enharmonic spellings. The map levels include:
- Basic Diatonic functions
- IIIm (or “minor third”) and Deceptive Cadences
- SubV7 and Neapolitan sixth (N6)
- Secondary Dominants
- Blues and other modes
- Advances Secondary Dominants
- Complete Map with all functions
The interface may seem complex at first, but once you get the hang of the different areas and modes, the tool becomes quite legible and useful. After selecting the tonic (1st note of the scale) from the keyboard at the bottom left, you can click on the different spots on the wheel to play the selected chord aloud. These chord choices become more varied as you move up through the different levels.
Moving all the way to the complete map will show you all the possible chords, their related notes, and their familial relations within the selected key. To further enhance the learning experience, there are workbooks respective to each level of tonal complexity available at mDecks.com.
In terms of the interface itself, there are different panels like the Chord Info Panel which displays information about the function, mode scale, and so on relating to the chord you have tapped. The Staff Panel transposes the selected key and shows the progression of standard chord notation on the staff. In play mode you can then tap these chords on the staff to play them aloud and find them on the wheels and map.