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SimplePiano

By JDMCox Free Editors' Rating

Editors' Review

Download.com Staff Nov 16, 2009

We really wanted to like SimplePiano. It looks like it has the potential to be a great tool for users who are learning to play the piano. Unfortunately, a problem with the program's interface combined with its lack of Help file made the program practically useless.

SimplePiano's interface consists of a keyboard, which users can play using either their computer keyboard (the corresponding keys are labeled on the piano) or with an external MIDI keyboard. This part of the program worked just fine. Unfortunately, in the space above the keyboard where we expected to see the treble and bass clef staffs, all we got was a bunch of nonsensical symbols. We suspected that this was a font issue, so we referred back to the publisher's description, which told us that Maestro fonts would be installs along with the program. We rebooted our computer hoping that that would solve the problem, but it didn't. Frustratingly, the program has no Help file at all, leaving us completely unable to troubleshoot. We were very disappointed that we couldn't get the program to display properly, because it looks like it has some really great features, including a note-reading test and a chord-playing function. But all we could really do with it was noodle around on the keyboard.

SimplePiano is free. It installs and uninstalls without issues. We recommend this program with reservations; we can't guarantee that all users will have the display problems that we had, so it may be worth a try. Just don't be surprised if you find yourself with problems and no way to fix them.

Full Specifications

What's new in version 1.17

General

Release June 24, 2010
Date Added June 22, 2010
Version 1.17

Operating Systems

Operating Systems Windows 2000, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows, Windows XP, Windows NT
Additional Requirements None

Popularity

Total Downloads 29,476
Downloads Last Week 18
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User Reviews

4.2/5
4 User Votes
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Developer's Description

SimplePiano is an aid to learning piano and music notation. It uses Maestro fonts (that are installed with the program) to show the notes played on the treble and bass clef staffs as well as on a 60-key on-screen piano keyboard, using either the keyboard, the mouse, or a midi keyboard connected to the computer. The Circle of Fifths can be displayed, and when a key in it is selected, that key's signature is shown on the staffs. Eight types of chords can be selected and played by playing their root key. The output piano sound (Windows or soundcard sound) is selectable. I recommend the M-Audio Keystation 61es midi keyboard to go with it.