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May 1st, 2015 | by

app review: Virtuoso Piano Free 3


What it Does

A piano that you can play by touching the screen.

The Bottom Line

As a pitch reference and rehearsal tool, this piano app is excellent.

Ease (4)
Intelligence (5)
Extras (3)
Gossip (5)



Just open the app and start playing. When you shift the keyboard up or down, it can be disorienting for a moment.



You can choose which octaves and how many notes are visible on the screen. Simple and effective.



This app doesn’t need a lot of extras. You can select several different instrument sounds, set sustain level, key labels and number of keys visible. The keys are actually velocity sensitive to a certain extent.



Some say adamantly that version 3 is better than the more recent version 4.

Musician's Note

When I discovered the “broken pub piano” setting in this app, I had to laugh. It is always nice when app developers have a sense of humor. Furthermore, the app developers must know I have a pet peeve for perma-sustain. Thank god, I can control the sustain in this app. I find it a little disorienting when I jump up or down the keyboard on this app. For a split second, I’m always looking at the notes going, “where the heck am I?” On the other hand I like that I can instantly move the keyboard to whatever octave(s) I want. I can jump by one pitch at a time, use the slider, or jump by octave. I love having the key labels on (even though I know the notes perfectly well) because it reminds me which octave I’m in, if I have been jumping around. I don’t really see why they made the keys velocity sensitive (i.e. if you hit it harder, the sound is brighter and louder) since no one would actually use this app as a performance instrument, but hey, it is kind of neat, I guess.

To me this app is mostly a pitch reference. If I don’t have a pitched instrument nearby, I can play pitches or chords with this app. The app will let you play four or more notes at once. As a singer, I can’t just push a button on my voice and know for sure what note I am singing. That is why singers find it so handy to have a way of referencing pitch at all times.
When I am not near a piano or if I need a silent way to practice (just plug in the earphones), this app allows me to get a lot of musical tasks done. I can figure out a harmony, memorize chord progressions, compose melodies or chord progression and even practice my ear training and music theory. Of course, a real piano would be much better, but I can’t use that when I’m on a train or in a hotel room. I have even used this app to help my guitar player tune his guitar (don’t ask me why he didn’t have his tuner or his phone with him – I can’t remember).

I once saw someone using an app like this thinking that she could actually learn how to play piano. Let me clear something up: you can do a ton of useful things with this app, but learning to play piano is not really one of them. Sure, you can learn note names, a little music theory, and gain an understanding of how a piano is organized, but this app is not a performance tool and does not allow you to develop the necessary skills to play a real piano. So if you have a dream of becoming a pianist, please switch to a real keyboard as soon as possible!