Genuine virtuosos are few and far between these days, but you can bet they wouldn’t spend much time playing with Virtuoso on the iPhone. Don’t get me wrong, Virtuoso is actually pretty good as far as app instruments go, it’s just that real-life virtuosos are invariably rather pretentious and preoccupied with their own abundant greatness.
Admittedly, calling the app Piano Novice 3000 or Turbo Sausage Fingers might’ve lessened the appeal somewhat.
So, Virtuoso, what do we have in the virtual box? The latest free version, Virtuoso Piano Free 3, comes with two options, Grand Piano and Broken Dub Piano. The former sounds just as you’d expect, while the latter instantly brings dusty flea-ridden saloons to mind. As such, Virtuoso is perfect for providing an impromptu soundtrack to drunken brawls with cowboys.
In the Settings menu, you can alter the sustain (that’s how long the notes ring for, for you non-musos), and choose the number of on-screen white keys (from 8 to 15). For smart-arses, there’s the option to turn the key labels off (you know, like A, B, C… up to G).
The response to touch is remarkably well implemented. Virtuoso will quite happily entertain two, three, four, or even five fingers simultaneously (alright, less of the giggling, Mobotniks). In an attempt to push Virtuoso to its limits, I ran multiple fingers up and down the keys for several seconds. To my pleasant surprise, Virtuoso took it in its stride.
If you can spare 59p for the full version, Virtuoso Piano Pro Classic, you’ll unlock the ability to tune your piano between 415.0 and 466.2 Hz. I have no idea what that means, but it sounds impressive. There’s also reverb, a built-in metronome, and – best of all – you can record, name, and play back your own little ditties. Or how about 'universal nomenclature'? That’s basically a fancy of way of saying you can rename the notes, and spell out words like “bum” on the keys. The possibilities are endless.
- Impressive touch response
- Good sound
- Plenty of options
- Not a great deal to do
- Inability to tune below 415.0 Hz
- Adverts in the free version
Summary: for the average Joe, Virtuoso is worth a tinkle, but it’s hardly going to consume you for hours. If, on the other hand, you’re a budding virtuoso who intends to play the app through external speakers in the context of some sort of iOrchestra, Virtuoso is absolutely the app for you.
Developer: Peter Nagy
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 2.2.1.
Price: Free, or 59p for Virtuoso Piano Pro Classic @ Appstore