I have an iPad and I love it. I bought the iPad thinking I would make music using its awesome apps such as Garageband, Geo Synthesizer, SampleTank and many others but so far I haven’t had anything done using these apps yet *gulp* because I haven’t found any practical use of these apps in my music yet. I should really look more deeply into these apps one day…
Now on to iReal b. Back then I had a friend in university who had a 1st gen iPad and he had iReal b (it was called something else back then but I can’t recall) installed and it could show the chord progressions for different songs and even TRANSPOSE them to different keys. That means a lot to me because it’s always good to have a cheat sheet around that I can rely on when I go for jams or gigs (without bringing any physical book with me!). This alone justified itself to be purchased as soon as I got my iPad.
Besides that, iReal b has a playback function which plays the songs according to your specified groove and tempo. The good thing is that it doesn’t sound bad at all! So you want to play ‘Donna Lee’ in bossa nova, go ahead! Coupled with its ability to transpose instantly, it’s a fantastic practicing tool. I’ve always had a problem with the keys of Db and Gb major. I would just pick a song, lets say ‘Autumn Leaves’ and transpose it to Gb major (which is also Eb minor) and press play. It’s a song that I’ve played countless times in either E minor or G minor but with it being in the key of Eb minor now, it feels new and it sure makes my brain work out!
I don’t have many apps installed on my iPad. The only games that I have installed are a few Sonic the Hedgehog games which I seldom touch now (but I did finish some of them!). iReal b is my most used app alongside iBooks, the music player and CloudReaders for some manga moment. Whenever I get inspired to compose something, I would simply create a new song by keying in the chord progressions straight into iReal b so that I can work on them some time later. I can’t say enough good things about this app and there are many more features that I haven’t covered. To those who are interested, you can check the app out at http://www.irealb.com/.
P.S.: It’s always better to have the songs in our head than relying on this app alone but since we aren’t walking real books who know all songs’ chord progressions known to mankind, with this app, even though we don’t really know the songs, at least we know the chords and that alone would save us from a lot of trouble! But still, nothing beats listening to the songs and practicing them!