Chordium is proof that the most simple tools can sometimes be real gems. Transforming your Mac’s computer keyboard into a musical keyboard that triggers piano samples, it’s not much more than a tech demo. But clean implementation and a couple of clever features make it a great teaching and learning tool for music lessons and tutorials.
Loading Chordium gives you a nicely rendered three octave piano keyboard. It can be played in one of two modes and, helpfully, Chordium tells you what they are front and centre. Hit Control and you’re in Bass and Harmony mode. With this toggled you can play bass notes on the left of the keyboard and chords on the right, with single key presses. Hit Option and you’re in Bass and Melody mode – ideal for playing lead parts at higher octaves.
The application provides visual feedback as you play, which makes it an ideal teaching and learning tool.
Your computer keyboard becomes a piano with Chordium, complete with automatic chords, visual feedback and an onscreen metronome to keep time
Dots on the virtual keys show where fingers need to be placed to play notes, while numbers represent notes. C is 1, D is 2 and so on.
And that’s where one of our gripes comes into play, we’re afraid. It might have been wiser for the display to show musical note names as well – or at least offer a choice.
A bit of research reveals that Chordium is a single developer project – a tool created so the author could make piano tutorials for his website.
But it has so much more potential that it would be a pity for the project to end there. There’s still much work to do here to make the interface more friendly. As it stands, it’s a fun tool for musicians to try.