Pitch Control – There’s an App for That!

Finally, life as an instuctor just got easier!  YES! Music, Petra Kolber and LoLo just released an app for the iphone and ipod touch that gives you total PITCH CONTROL for your music!

Historically, the ability to control your music with pitch control has always lagged behind the progress of technology. Back in the days of cassette tapes, you had to spend big bucks on a ‘special’ tape deck for pitch control.  By the time it became standard on decks, technology had moved to CDs.  And there you’d be once again without the ability to speed up or slow down your music.  Same thing happened with CD players – just as pitch became standard, the ipod came along.

Nevertheless, I’ve been using an ipod since 2005.  The ability to line up your music in a playlist was certainly better than carrying around a bag of scratched CDs.  The music companies soon made their mixes available for download – even though it was at first tricky to get them to play without a gap.  The downside was, for me at least, if you hit a song that dipped in energy,  it was harder to hit another playlist quickly.

I also found that using an ipod required a bit more homework to prepare my music.  But I loved being able to mix in music from iTunes with  music company tunes for my cycling class line-up.  Even so, I did find it hard to judge sitting at my computer what songs would work best for each part of the workout.  I almost dreaded working in new tunes – not quite sure if the tempo would be right for the actual workout.  My playlists got to where they would have about 50 songs – just in case I needed to quickly jump to the next tried and true song in the playlist.

When the Yes! Music guys (Mike & Mike) gave us a preview of Tempo Magic at IDEA, I couldn’t wait to try it.  So I got ready for the release. I downloaded their Cycle Mega Pack and had already tested some of the tunes.  There were quite a few songs that I really liked, but the tempo was not right for where I’d prefer to use them in my workout.

As soon as I received notice, I downloaded it the app.  The only bummer is that I have to retire my 3rd generation ipod and switch ALL my music and playlists over to my iphone.  But from first impressions, I think it’s gonna be worth it!

It’s really simple to use.

You just import your music and the app gives you options similar to iTunes to organize your music by playlists, songs, artists or albums.  To use the pitch you can select individual songs or entire playlists by selecting “Add All Songs”.  Click Done and after a few seconds, the line-up is ready to go  – once you’ve added them, they’ll be there for your next class.

The display shows the original song tempo on the top left, a large slider in the center and the “Magic BPM” top right.  Below that is “Magic Percentage” (if percentage is how you roll) and then Up and Down arrows that allow you to bump the speed 1 beat or percentage point at a time.  The slider allows you to adjust it up to 12 bpms faster, or 12 bpms slower for a full range of 24 bpms.  Even adjusting to the top and bottom levels, there’s no distortion of the music or the vocals (I know, you were thinking “chipmunks”, weren’t you?)

On the left side of the screen are three more buttons in a gray box which are smaller and a bit harder to see. (Hopefully, no one will ask me what the name of the song is – it’s scrolling in tiny print at the bottom of the screen.)  The top button in the gray area is to RESET to the original speed which, if you have applied any pitch, glows blue (thankfully!).  The second one is a LOCK button and you can slide it to either BPM or Percentage.  This is awesome for people who need a steady tempo for cardio workouts – select the tempo you want, LOCK it and ALL your song selections will play at the same speed!  MAGIC!

Okay, so I know I told you the range was a total of 24 bpm’s (12 each way), but there’s one last button called ULTRA shift and it DOUBLES the amount of available pitch!  I can’t quite think of a slow song that I would like to increase in speed by 24 bpm’s – but the slider also goes the OTHER way.  And, in case you are wondering, pitching your tunes does not change the vocals to sound like the chipmunks!

Tempo Magic, at $1.99 to download from the iTunes store, is not only perfect for fitness instructors, but DJs will likely find it useful too.  Regular folks will no doubt love it for keeping their pace on treadmills, ellipticals and while walking, running or cycling.  As for me, I’d just like to thank Yes! Music, Petra Kolber and the geniuses at LoLo for making my life as an instructor a lot easier, finally… and once again!



  1. Robin says

    This looks like a great app. What generation Ipod would I need to get. Any recommended mg`s? I don’t currently have an ipod so will need to buy one. Thanks for any information you can give me!

  2. says

    It requires ios 4.0 and higher which means you need a 4th generation ipod. It looks like they just have one now… holds 40,000 songs 160GB for $249. I repaired the link to the app in the itunes store. Take a look at it and see what your options are – an ipod touch might be an option as well. You may want to read the reviews while you are there. In practice, it takes awhile to get the hang of doing playlists…. so I found it wise to have a back-up cd in case of technical issues when first using it!


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