Every piano player or student knows how frustrating it can be to need a reference and not have it. Any one scale, chord, or a reference chart such as a circle of fifths is immensely useful, both when practicing and when composing. That's why an app like Piano Companion LITE is such a welcome surprise. Offering a comprehensive directory of chords and scales, along with a reverse lookup tool, it is easier and faster than ever to find the perfect note. While installation is relatively painless and the interface is bare-bones (12 large icons in a grid), the layout is quite intuitive. Attractive, no, but very easy to find what you're looking for.
The chords dictionary is split into a number of references including roots and inversions, details of any single chord, the staff representation of that chord, and a visual keyboard so you can easily play the chord while practicing. This is immensely useful both for beginners and intermediate musicians, providing the early references a newcomer might need with the latter modification and composition tools an intermediate musician requires. We found the reverse lookup a nice addition as well. As you highlight keys on the keyboard, options appear showing which chords use that combination. It provides options and helps you pinpoint the exact chord or scale you are looking for, even if you're not entirely sure what it is.
For such a seemingly simple app, Piano Companion LITE offered more than we were expecting. The paid version offers a handful of upgrades that are more suitable to advanced piano players, so if you are just learning to play or are beginning to compose for the first time, the free version will more than support your efforts. It is easy to use, quick to reference, and makes it possible to relax and practice without piles of papers surrounding you with that one chord just out of reach.