Welcome to a very much belated Flute Friday/sorta Solo Sunday combo blog.
When I was just starting to learn to play the flute, back in the days of cassette tape recorders, I loved to practice duets by recording myself playing the 2nd lines so that I could play along with the top line on playback. I mostly did this for fun but it also helped me to prepare both parts, as was typically required at my flute lessons, and memorize some of the trickier entrances and cues. I noticed a couple of years ago that some of my colleagues were making amazing videos of themselves performing duets, trios, quartets, and even entire flute choir pieces in a single video. How cool! I finally looked into this for myself and tested out a couple of apps that made this possible. In today’s blog, I will be reviewing three acapella apps to create these types of Do-It-Yourself Duets (not sponsored – although I should be). These are great to use for fun, as assignments for your students, or as a handy way to perform small ensemble pieces on various social media outlets.
1. TOP CHOICE – Acapella. This app was super easy to use! What I love about this app, aside from how user-friendly it is, is, unlike the other apps, you can set it to record in durations from 15 seconds to 10 minutes. I also really like that the countdown timer appears very large on your screen so you know exactly when the recorder is set to start, which makes timing your entrances easier. Finally, this apps give you a number of choices when it comes to saving the final product. If you do not want to publish immediately to social media, you can save to your My Photos folder and post later. There is also a great trimming feature so you can edit anything out from the beginning and end of your video and you can also add interesting filters and fun boarders. The bummer is that it is not free (*enter sad violin music). This app will cost you $9.99/month after a 7-day trial. I still think it is worth it if you enjoy creating these types of videos or would like to encourage your students to create videos of their own. I was able to easily create a short video featuring Mozart’s “Non so piu” from The Marriage of Figaro:
2. DO NOT RECOMMEND – Riff. This app seemed user-friendly at first. You may only record up to 1 minute on the free version but the custom timer on the paid version of the app ($1.99/week after a 7-day trial) does not have a max. The countdown timer is not nearly as clear as the Acapella app and it does not let you add cool filters and boarders. What I found to be the automatic fail in my book was they delay in playback. I recorded the same Mozart duet with this app in the same way as Acapella, but the playback on the top line was delayed slightly, which unsynced the version of the piece that I was playing along with. Below is the recording of this video using Riff (warning – this video is horrible due to the delay in playback):
3. DO NOT RECOMMEND – Mixound. I couldn’t even get this app to work! There is no countdown, no settings for the time limit, and certainly no filters or boarders. Totally not user-friendly. You don’t even know that the video is recording when it is on! I don’t even have a terrible sample to share with you because this app was such a flop. Do not recommend.
So the clear winner is Acapella. I will likely keep this app and record more extensive duets in future Solo Sunday videos (although, I guess it would be more like Duet Sunday). Get ready for a future Doppler Solo Sunday! Here is another short video I was able to throw in using the Acapella app (featuring Blavet’s Tambourin)
What acapella apps do you use? Do you have a favorite? Have you had success with any of these apps in the past? Share your stories (and your videos) below!