I’ve been using this app for a few days now and I really like it, but I don’t think I did at first.

Polychord is an unusual iPad app, although you might argue with me on that one. However, it isn’t the kind of app that I would normally look at. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with it at all.

Polychord isn’t a synth or a sequencer really, it is an app for making music, in real time, without recording or anything like that, and that’s the point of it, at least in my opinion it is.

So what’s polychord good at? Fair question. The app is about making music with chords and arps and a little bit of bass and drums too.

It has to be one of the most straightforward to use apps I’ve seen. Everything is on the one screen, everything you need to mix the various parts of whatever music you make with the app.

You play chord by touching one of the large circles in the interface. Each circle has an inner circle which the root note and then smaller buttons around it for a variety of chords. It couldn’t be simpler to use. You can set the arpeggio to do a variety of things and use a selection of rhythms to play along to, but essentially that is it. You play chords and arpeggios with some bass and drums and what’s called a strum pade at the righthand side of the interface.

There’s minimal control over the sound, so don’t get this if you’re looking for a synth, but if you want something to use to play around with chord progressions and see how they feel then this might be right for your purposes.

Polychord retails at: $9.99.

polychord - Shoulda Woulda Coulda

iPads at the Apple Store

http://static.evernote.com/noteit.js Clip to Evernote


  1. Not much info available for this…does it have a good variety of chords (sus, 6ths, 5ths, dim, etc), and can you change the root bass note? Can you assign chords to the buttons?

  2. OK, I found a better photo showing the preset chords available.

    For the price, there needs to be a more in the way of features, I think. 1) ability to record progressions, 2) ability to change modal scales for arpeggios/sequences, 3) ability to record your own sequences for bass, synth, drums, etc.

  3. As far as sounds, this is coming soon as a free update: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYlKIsR6-Iw

    That's midi playing over wifi, controlling instruments in Logic (I'm playing two synths at once in the demo, over a drum loop).

    You can see the chords available in the screenshot above. There are two palettes offered currently, major and minor, and they can be transposed along the 12 octaves (C,C sharp, D, etc). Each note circle has variations around it — Major/Minor, 7s, Sus 4, Aug 5, Dim, half dim, maj 6 & 7 (minor 7's in the minor palette). Editing these chords is going to be an upcoming feature update.

  4. We'll be adding more features as updates over time, when we they've been implemented cleanly and simply, and tested in depth, but our focus is always going to be on playability — which is why we think the app justifies the price.

  5. You're welcome! (Those two previous anonymous posts should have been under my name — I'm Greg Wieber, one of the creators).

    Also, we have a fan page on facebook where we encourage people to post ideas for future versions. We seem to be on the same page with what we're already working on, but we love getting feedback and new ideas.


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