Musicians rejoice! There are several apps and extensions available for Chrome that will aid you in your life and journey of musicianship. There are apps that will let you practice the piano while sitting at your desk. Some will display guitar tabs for you. Others will help you make instrument purchases with ease. If you’re a musician and you use Chrome, you’ll want to check out these apps.
The thing about musicianship is that it’s incredibly hard to be an isolated musician. Sure, you can be alone and you can self-teach a lot of the basics by using guides and tutorials and free lessons. But even though you’re alone, you’re still using these secondary resources to help you. It’s best to have a friend or a mentor who can guide you, but for the times when they aren’t available, these apps and extensions will keep you company and give you something to do.
Well, to be honest, the Musician’s Friend app is little more than a shortcut that takes you to the Musician’s Friend website. However, just as its name implies, Musician’s Friend is a must-have and a must-use for any serious musician. The website is chock full of great instruments and you can get some of them for huge discounts if you look in the right places.
Whether you play guitar, drums, horns, keyboards, or even do electronic composition, you’ll find whatever you need on Musician’s Friend. The app is a good tool to remind you that a great deal is always waiting for you on the site.
There have been piano simulators for many years and, yes, I know that no computer-keyboard-simulated piano will ever come close to an actual piano in terms of layout, feel, tactile feedback, etc. On the other hand, having a makeshift keyboard available within Chrome at the tip of your fingers can be useful. A Little Piano offers that.
With A Little Piano, you can open the extension and have a small piano layout appear in the corner of Chrome. The individual keys can be clicked with the mouse or you can press keys on your keyboard where each key maps to a particular note: azsx cfvgb njmkw3e r5t6y u8i9o0p. These keys cover two and a half octaves. Unfortunately, the deepest three notes do not have a key mapping (yet).
A Little Piano can be a bit of fun when you’re bored, allowing you to noodle around and see what sorts of tunes you can come up with. It can even be used as a more serious tool to play out particular melodies in your head before you fully commit to composing a song. And if you have any toddlers, A Little Piano could be a good introduction to the concepts of keys, notes, and octaves. For something a little more advanced, why not try practicing piano scores with Synthesia?
Here’s one for you guitarheads out there. During my years learning how to play guitar, the concept of tabs always tricked me up, so I ended up playing chord sheets most of the time. Tabs were not only hard to read but hard to find. Guitar Tab Viewer knows the difficulties therein and tries to fix them with this Chrome extension.
Guitar Tab Viewer has its own database of tab sheets. You can search by song title or by artist and once you find the song you want, it just takes one click to bring it up on Chrome. It’s nice because Guitar Tab Viewer’s tabs show up in the form of sheet music with tabs under the notes. Even though the extension is aimed at guitarists, you can still make use of it as a way to find free sheet music for songs. Also, if you haven’t learned yet, check out these sites that teach how to read sheet music.
The extension is not exactly innovative since this has been done before, but having it all meshed together and wrapped up in a nice browser extension is really convenient. And if you’re having trouble hearing the song in your head as you read the tabs, no worries. Guitar Tab Viewer has a Play/Stop button that will play the song in MIDI format, providing you with the tune so you can practice alongside it.
Here’s another useful tool aimed at guitarists: the tuner. For the serious guitarist, you probably already have multiple tuners scattered throughout your home. But for those who are just starting out, or never bothered to buy a real tuner, you can use the Guitar Tuner app to play what each string sounds like so you can match your own strings.
Even better is the fact that Guitar Tuner comes with multiple alternate tunings: 1/2 step down, full step down, Drop D, Drop C, Open D, DADGAD, and Iris. Those cover most tuning possibilities you’ll find in most musical genres, so play around with them and have fun with this new tuning tool.
Now for something less serious: a multiplayer music experience. Plink is a fantastic music app that lets multiple people join in using one musical interface to create live music, similar to Online Jam Sessions. Now, the instrument selection and note range aren’t large enough for this to be used as a real composition tool, but it’s a great bit of fun that let’s musicians come together and unleash their creativity in a relaxing and entertaining way.
As far as I know, once you load up the app, everyone joins into the same room OR Plink automatically sends you into a server. There’s no way to do a private session with others. On the side, you’ll find a palette of 8 colors where each one allows you to play a different “instrument.” The sounds are unique enough to create a wonderful splash of diversity in composition.
The best part? All of the sounds are attuned to the proper beat and tone so no one can ever sound “off.” Whatever you play, it’ll always sound like it fits in just perfectly to everyone else’s music notes. I just spent half an hour on this app and I had a blast. You should give it a try.
You may find some of these tools useful or you may be way past the point where you need them. Either way, I think these apps and extensions are great and they work to prove a point – that your browser can be just as much a guide for musical learning as any other resource. As long as people create and maintain these tools, there may be a whole new world of musician apps and extensions to explore in the future.
And if you’re looking for apps that are geared more towards music lovers, not just musicians, why not give these Chrome extensions for music lovers a try?
Do you use any Chrome web apps and extensions to supplement your musicianship? What do you think of the ones listed here? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!