Like lots of musicians, I’m primarily self taught. While that has included some music theory (mostly enough to get me into trouble but not enough to get me out again) I’m more than aware of (and often embarrassed by) my own limitations. Over the years, I’ve done my best to plug some gaps, particularly in terms of music theory as it applied to the guitar or to songwriting but, without some formal musical education, it can often be a bit hit and miss to (pardon the pun) join the dots of the fragments of knowledge collected from various sources.
If you are just starting out on your own musical journey – and particularly if you are beginning to explore the songwriting process – then there is a new iPad iOS music app launched today that might be just up your street; Ten Kettles have released ‘Waay: Music theory that matters’.
Long-standing iOS musicians may be familiar with Ten Kettles through their hearEQ app. This is an ear training app for musicians that, with suitable practice, can improve your ability to identify specific sound frequencies and, as a consequence, improve your ability to isolate problem areas when mixing or arranging your recording projects. hearEQ is undoubtedly a very useful utility/educational app and well worth exploring….
Waay is also in the utility/educational bracket but, as the title suggests, provides an introduction to music theory. The app is built around a series of lessons and and interactive exercises, all organised into a structured pathway. There are two course elements; the ‘Melodies’ section is included within the base price of the app (usually US$4.99) while the ‘Chords’ section is available as a further IAP (also US$4.99) if you want to take the learning process further. However, for the first week of the launch, the base app can be purchased at 40% off (UK£2.29).
I’ve had a pre-release version of Waay to play with for a few days and the structure of the material is really rather good. If you already have some formal music theory education, then there may be some of the material here that you are already familiar with. However, for those just starting out – and particularly for budding songwriters – this would make a very neat – and well organised – introduction. There is plenty of material and the various lessons are nicely presented and easy to follow. Your progress is stored via a simple online account and this means that you can use multiple devices and things stay sync’ed.
Anyway, I’ll do a full review when I’ve had more time to explore. This initial release is iPad-only (although other platforms are in development I believe), requires iOS8.0 or later and is a 206 MB download. If you want a solid introduction to the kind of practical music theory that will get you writing songs that make harmonic sense, then Waay looks like a good place to start and, at the launch price of UK£2.29 for the base app, is unlikely to break anyone’s bank :-)
Waay: Music theory that matters