The title of my blog post is kind of like the new name of FiddleWax Pro – the new official name is Firo – Music Make, Instrument, Drums, Chords, Looper and MIDI controller. I think the new name does help in figuring out what the heck this app is for.
Here is my take on the app – if you are a music educator who teaches music theory, chords and scales to your students – you would be crazy not to grab this app.
Here is the official introduction form the App page – “Fiddlewax Pro is a cutting-edge music sketchpad. Create songs, riffs, and compositions with an instrument that’s designed from the ground up to bring your musical ideas to life. Fully compatible with MIDI, AudioBus, and IAA”
It is the ability of this app to quickly and with ease, be able to demonstrate chords, scales and modes to my students with a nifty graphic representation on the screen for them to be able to help visualize what can be a difficult concept to grasp. Of course that is in my hands as the teachers using the big screen as a demonstration tool.
In the hands of students Firo becomes what it was created for – a sketchpad for the students to play with different chord progressions, different scales and for them to record ideas in. the app gives them the ability to “play” without fear of sounding horrid. The user has access to 4 different drum sets to carve out some beats with using the loop recorder. Then they can use the 12 other built-in instruments along with the chords feature to lay down a basic (or complex) underlying chord progression. Lastly they can then record in a melody using the keyboard layouts that limit notes being played to the current scale/key. Nifty.
Choose from all 12 keys, 7 diatonic modes, and 7 secondary scales – here is a list of the different keys/modes included in the app:
Here is the list of the different scales:
One of the coolest features built into this app is Realtime visual pitch detection that lights up corresponding notes as you sing. This allows the user to sing what they are hearing in their heads, quickly find the notes and make use of that knowledge!
I really like the opening screen as there is a ton of helpful information on the screen as to what everything does….
I do have one huge differing view on the way the app works. The keyboard is NOT always labeled the way that I think it should be. Here is the way that they describe what is going on in the top two rows of the keyboards at the bottom of the screen:
“The top two rows (chromatic and diatonic) can be considered together as something that resembles a piano. However, there is a fundamental difference; the notes on the Fiddlewax Pro “piano” are always derived from the key you’ve selected.
For example, In the key of A minor or C major, the notes correspond exactly to those on a traditional piano. But for most other keys, the notes are shifted along the interface to preserve their spatial relationships, and thus located in a different position than on a piano.
By preserving the spatial relationship between notes across any key, it becomes trivial to transpose a song to another key – just change the key and play the same thing.”
I get it, I think it is an interesting way to do things but I also wish there was a way to turn that “feature” off!
IN CONCLUSION: The amount of music theory in this app is huge but it is so easy to use that anyone can do it! There is so much in this app that is presented in a very visually appealing manner that students and teachers alike will enjoy the process of making music. They have created an easy to read and understand users guide too for those who really want to dig in and figure EVERYTHING out – Users guide
This app goes into my list of Apps For Music Classrooms!
Watch this video to get an idea of what is possible