Version Reviewed: 1.0
iPhone Integration Rating:
User Interface Rating:
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I’m generally a fan of musical instrument apps—Smule’s Ocarina remains one of my favorites. iTrump is an app in the similar vein, simulating a trumpet instead of an ocarina. iTrump nails a lot of key elements and is definitely the best trumpet app I’ve seen. However, it’s not without its flaws and I feel that more complex instruments like the trumpet just aren’t as fun in app form.
iTrump’s main display lays an image of a trumpet over three rows of transparent buttons. Each button is marked with a note value (A, Eb, etc) and each row is seemingly intended to represent a valve. You can play using either touch or blowing through your iPhone’s mic. Either way, pressing the right keys will cause the app to emit the corresponding pitch with the trumpet’s signature sound. That alone is pretty cool, as iTrump covers most of the trumpet’s range. You can even add vibrato, slur notes, and trill, in case you want to get truly fancy.
iTrump doesn’t stop there—it’ll also teach you to play a handful of songs. The songbook includes familiar tunes such as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey (or, Also Sprach Zarathustra); Air on a G String; and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. You can purchase additional songs including Carol of the Bells and Silent Night. When playing from the songbook, iTrump highlights the buttons you’re supposed to push. Practice makes perfect, but you can also opt to have “robotrump” play through automatically to show you how it’s done.
If you don’t want to use the songbook or play solo, the developers also recommend playing along with a track from your iPod.
While iTrump does all it claims to do, I still have a few issues with the app. First of all, sometimes it sounds like the trumpet is somewhat out of tune with the recordings from the songbook, which is irritating. Learning songs is difficult because of the lack of sheet music, so until you master a song you’re always behind the music. This actually one of iTrump’s largest failures: learning songs is hard. There’s no massive community to provide fan-made sheet music (ala Smule), and it’s also difficult to improvise if you don’t know the trumpet.
iTrump is a good trumpet simulator, and certainly the best I’ve seen. I’m just not certain that the trumpet is the best instrument for an app to mimic.