When trying to learn a difficult song or musical passage, sometimes it is useful to be able to slow the part down without changing its pitch, or even change the pitch or key while keeping the same tempo. iLift is a musical tool for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that does exactly that.
Developed by the folks at FlagPig.com, iLift is easy to use, with an interface that mimics a tape recorder. The app is free at Apple’s App Store and contains a three song limit. The pro version, which allows an unlimited number of songs, is available through an in-app purchase.
iLift for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch Features
- Real-time Audio Modification of Pitch, Key, and Tempo
- Set Audio Loop Points
- Tape-recorder Interface
- Upload Songs through WiFi
- Supports MP3, WAV, AIFF, and Unprotected AAC Audio Formats
- Free Version Allows Three Songs
- Pro Version Allows Unlimited Number of Songs
A Convenient Music Learning Interface
Unlike JamSession for the iPhone, which is useful for solo practicing with a backing band, iLift is optimized for learning a song, or better yet, a specifically difficult or fast musical passage.
iLift’s simple interface is based on a tape recorder. On the bottom of the screen are buttons for play, fast forward, and rewind. Above this control section are three sets of controls that allow to user to change the audio’s key, pitch, or tempo all in real time. The user can also easily set loop points to go over a specific section in the piece.
The audio programming in iLift is tight, with nary a pop or click when changing any of the song’s attributes. In fact, experimental musicians could use some of these features in either performance or recording, especially the pitch change functionality.
Downloading Songs to iLift
Unfortunately, the only way to load songs into iLift is through WiFi. It would have been nice to transfer them directly from iTunes, but Apple frowns on that kind of interaction between their software and a third party app.
The interface to actually upload the songs needs a usability improvement. Instead of the app spawning an instance of Safari with the relevant IP address, the user is responsible for remembering that IP address (and port number), exiting iLift, starting Safari, keying in that address, and hoping they’ve properly set up their server.
That aspect of iLift is a shame, since musicians who aren’t computer experts might get frustrated and not want to purchase the full version of the app to be able to upload an unlimited number of songs.
The real-time audio aspects of iLift are top notch and the software definitely provides a useful way to learn music. Maybe an updated version of the software will improve the song uploading process?