June 7, 2011 at 12:23 pm

This Week in Music Apps: Ear Training, Smart Players, Streaming and The Cloud

itunes app storeEvolver.fm intern Peter Amara’s weekly app store round-up is in, and the pickin’s are good. This week’s haul brings a number of exciting tools and toys to enhance your iOS listening experience, as well as two great streaming radio and MP3 search-and-download apps for Android. (See previous installments.)

Apple iOS

TunesMate (free): TunesMate takes multi-touch finger gestures on the iPhone to the next level. This music player app supports over 20 user-assignable gestures, giving listeners the ability to easily control play/pause, rewind/fast-forward, volume, and other playback features using one to four fingers. If you listen to lots of music stored on your iOS device, give this hot-rodded music player a spin.

Hound (free): Forget about typing or tapping; this new app from the makers of the popular SoundHound music identification app lets you access artist information with your voice. Speak the artist name or song title into the app for host of related materials: song previews, videos, lyrics, album art, artist biographies, and tour dates.

VocalZap (free): VocalZap will earn you new friends on the karaoke circuit by reducing (or even removing) the vocals from any song in your library in real-time, using digital signal processing. Easy sing-alongs at the push of a button means no more competing with Beyonce’s pipes during your morning carpool ride.

How2Play (free): As can be the case with apps, the title of this one leaves little to the imagination. This app promises to teach you how to play the guitar or bass through packaged lessons including scores, videos, and backing tracks. The lessons are also available as multimedia PDFs for desktop viewing.

mSpot (free): From your pocket to the cloud — and back to your pocket, mSpot allows saving and streaming of up to 4,000 tracks for free on your iDevice. Tracks can be uploaded from your desktop to your own personal cloud locker to be accessed anywhere, and the caching feature makes playback possible without network coverage — or without eating into your limited cellular data plan.

Quiztones ($3): A well-tuned ear is one of the most powerful tools in a musician’s arsenal. Quiztones uses frequency-altered tones, noise, and music loops to train musicians and listeners to better recognize pitches. Ultimately, this can make playing, understanding, and appreciating music a more enjoyable and enriching experience. Plus it helps you show off to other music nerds.

Ear Trainer ($7): Along the same lines, Ear Trainer uses over 160 exercises to teach valuable listening skills like interval, chord, scale, and relative pitch recognition. The iPad version features a playable keyboard for hands-reinforcement and note visualizations.

iDedicate (free): iDedicate is a music player app that looks like a retro jukebox, and it listeners wear their emotions on their sleeve — or more accurately, on Facebook, Twitter and SMS. Dedicate a currently-playing song to a friend, and it sends a personal message along with a link to a lyrics page, although they’ll have to track down the song themselves. Other cool features include a speed based volume control, which uses GPS to boost volume relative to your speed, which is super helpful in cars and on motorcycles.

Fandemic (free): Fandemic helps lesser-known bands get the word out about local shows, while providing fans with an easy way to find live music events in their areas.

Raditaz (free): The Raditaz free streaming radio service lets you create customized internet radio stations and tag them to specific locations, as well as listening to those created by others. The app also incorporates game functionality with users earning points and badges for listening to and sharing new music. Hidden badges are awarded for creating playlists with obscure artists or unique appeal.

iTour.furthur (free): For jam-loving festival-goers planning to attend this summer’s Furthur festivals, this app includes a healthy stock of useful information: seating charts, venue information, band descriptions, and a Google Maps integration to help find nearby hotels and restaurants.

Reverse Remote ($2)Last week we covered SolidState, a remote control app that lets you control the music playback on an iPod, iPhone, or iPad from another iDevice, or your computer, over WiFi. Reverse remote offers another option for achieving pretty much the same thing: enabling remote command of a docked device without ever leaving the couch. (This would be a great use for your old iPhone.)

Android

Tunee Music Pro ($1): Priced at a mere buck, this app is one of many that claims to allow search and download of over a billion free MP3 tracks, with WiFi being preferred for speed. We won’t go into the legality issues here — nor do we wish to be seen as enablers — but these things exist. All piracy disclaimers aside you might want to check this one out (before it disappears.

TuneIn Radio Pro ($1): The app formerly known as “Radiotime” bundles over 50,000 radio stations from around the world to serve up a diverse listening experience and pull you out of your listening rut. (Come on, you know you’re in one. We all are, to an extent.) The app streams hundreds of music programs from national networks including NPR and BBC, talk shows, podcasts, live sports, news, weather and scanners. This pro version includes the option to pause and record live radio, so that you never miss the end of a segment.