Piano-learning tool

Learn to play piano with this surprising program.

FastChords offers those with a keyboard the chance to learn or perfect their piano playing. With a surprisingly easy way of dictating and learning songs, this is an intriguing option for pianists of all levels.

The program's interface was impressive, featuring a piano keyboard along the top, which lights up to showcase a chord. In addition, the tool to input notes and listen to music looks like a calculator and felt instantly familiar, even for nonpianists. There is a wonderful Help file that not only illuminates the program's functions, but also discusses terms and techniques that new pianists must learn. Inputting chords and learning how to play them on a piano was surprisingly easy. Using a point-and-click method on the calculator-like tool, we were able to choose the chord, its speed, and a number of other small details to make it perfect. Once a song is inputted, users can operate a simple Player, which shows the chords being played on the keyboard at the top.

We felt that the program's features are aimed more at users with piano experience. Focusing on allowing users to deal with harmonics and altering scales, these buttons will not make sense to everyone. However, the program's ability to print the music in a highly readable fashion was a nice addition. FastChords is a great program for new pianists or experienced ones who want to quickly dictate music. Either way, this 21-day trial's simplicity and focus is an asset.

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