If you’ve ever longed to learn to play piano – or pick up on those lessons you took as a kid – there might have been a big impediment: Where do you put the piano? If you don’t have the space (or the money) and want to have some musical fun hitting the keys or playing a duet, try firing up your iPad and downloading the Virtuoso Free App.
You might have seen the Apple commercials: The Virtuoso Piano 3 Free app turns your iPad into a piano, conveniently labeling keys and chords to help bring out the maestro in you. Of course, the iPad isn’t as wide as a full piano, so the app lets you stack two keyboards on top of each other; you can then scroll left and right to expose different keys and octaves. You can also make the keys smaller to display more of them at one time. Of course, that becomes increasingly difficult… at least for those of us with three-dimensional fingers.
The app even allows for some of the subtlety of a real piano by making hard taps louder and soft taps softer. Plus, beyond the standard Grand Piano setting, you can also play in Broken Pub Piano, which sounds a little something like you’d expect hear when Clint Eastwood swaggers onto the scene in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”
But let’s just make one thing clear: This is not a fair substitute for a real-live piano. The sound quality won’t rival Carnegie Hall (although it’s about as good as you can expect from a free iPad app), and the tiny keys make complex pieces all but impossible. In short, this isn’t a grand piano – or even a not-so-grand one. But who really cares when it’s so much fun to fool around with? If you’re just looking to experiment with piano or maybe learn to knock out “Fur Elise” (see the video below of someone playing this on their iPad), Virtuoso can be a fun way to pass a few hours. If you have company, you can even flip one keyboard around and play a duet!
One major drawback to note: Compatibility issues have been reported with iPad 2. At time of writing, the app developers were working on a fix.
Virtuoso Piano 3 Free is compatible with the iPad, as well as the iPhone and iPod touch (although you’ll need real dexterity to make it work on latter two devices). It requires iOS 4.0 or later. You can download it on iTunes here.
Virtuoso is one of our favorite iPad apps – who knows, it might even benefit your health. (Click here to see how.)