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Magic Piano for iPad

Last night I downloaded Magic Piano for iPad, by Smule (iTunes page; Smule page). This incredible app cost only $0.99. Several things about it startled me.

First, the sound is very good–the imitation of piano sound, and the speakers on the iPad. Second, I didn’t realize the iPad’s multitouch allowed so many simultaneous touches to be recorded–I tried all ten fingers and it seemed to detect them all.

In normal “solo” mode you can play piano in freestyle mode, or a spiral, circular, or standard-layout keyboard. You can expand or shrink the number of keys, move them around etc.

There is also an amazing “song book” mode which lets you choose one of several songs; then little note guides start gently falling, coaxing you to play the song and showing you where to put your fingers; it’s like a gentler, more beautiful version of Guitar Hero on the Wii.

What really blew me away were the Duet and World modes. If you hit “Duet” the iPad finds someone else in the world in duet mode and you can play together, with your own locations superimposed over a google-earth style globe, and the notes jumping out into little ripples over the earth. It is quite amazingly lovely. And the World mode lets you just eavesdrop over people playing on their own around the globe, or duets. Some of the duets are fun, and some of the people playing are really good. It was just astonishing. Not this app itself so much, but just the idea of all the creative things that you can do with technology and devices like this; with the Internet and connectivity.

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