It’s the work of developer Extraordinary Facility, and blends comical characters with some impressively powerful features for creating music and learning about the theory behind it.
The iPad app gets kids to make sounds by stretching the heads of its colourful-shape creatures up and down – thankfully they don’t seem to mind – while tapping speakers to turn beats and background melodies on and off.
There are buttons at the top of the screen to record and create loops, as well as move some of the characters up and down the octaves. Recording doesn’t just save the music either: it saves what happens on screen as an animated video, which can then be shared onwards.
Here’s an example we made this morning:
But that’s just the start of this app’s creative fun. The first screen uses a standard five-note ‘pentatonic’ scale, which if children tap on the button saying that at the top right, gives them an explanation of what it is and how it works.
But from that main screen, they can also swipe right to get to other scales: blues, Ethopian and Indian, to explore other kinds of sounds and harmonies – each with their own explanation.
“There are no rules, high scores, time limits or stress – just open-ended creative, constructive play,” claims the App Store listing. “It’s simple enough for a beginner to pick up immediately, but has enough layers of complexity to interest even the most experienced musician in the family.”
We agree: The Tune Zoo feels playful in the same way that Loopimal (still one of our favourite children’s apps of all time) did. And yes, children can make a TERRIBLE racket with it if they so desire, but at least they’ll be having fun.
The Tune Zoo costs £2.29 for iPad from Apple’s App Store.