Top Five Classical Music iPhone Apps

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Applications for the iPhone and iPod touch are multiplying at a dizzying rate, with over 100,000 now offered. While the most popular apps are games or gimmicky utilities like "Alarm Clock Pro," there is also a small--but growing--slate of entries for the classical music fan. Some are practical and others pure fun. Here are five standouts.

1. Bravo Gustavo

The Los Angeles Philharmonic recently launched a free iPhone application (pictured) that coincides with the arrival of its new rising-star conductor, Gustavo Dudamel. The "Guitar Hero"-inspired conducting game lets you feel what it's like to stand at the podium and lead an orchestra. Given two selections from Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, you supply the tempo. Either try to find the correct rhythm, or, if you’re feeling crazy, force the orchestra to play double-time. More details.

2. Oxford Dictionary of Music

Oxford University Press has teamed up with the software maker to create versions of some of their most popular dictionaries for the iPod Touch and iPhone. The easy-to-use music dictionary has entries covering musical instruments, composers, librettists, performers, orchestras, musical terms (from allegro to zingaro), and musical works from Aida to Zauberflote. More details.

3. Composer of the Day

This simple app offers concise, one-sentence biographies of classical composers, one per day, on each composer’s birthday. Don’t expect any bells and whistles here but you will get some easy cocktail party conversation fodder. Best of all, it’s free. The app was created by students and faculty at Wittenberg University in Ohio.

4. RCO Live (Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam)

Access more than 70 hours of streaming live performances by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, one of the world's great orchestras, using this free app. The makers promise that new recordings will be added on a regular basis, plus concert schedules and background on the orchestra. It is part of the orchestra's in-house record label.

5. Karajan: Music and Ear Trainer

There are dozens of music education and training apps of wildly varying quality. Named after the legendary maestro Herbert von Karajan, this is one of the more popular such tools. It includes lessons for learning how to recognize intervals, chords, scales, pitch and tempo. Music theory students and amateurs will find something useful here. The basic version is $14.99 but there's now scaled-down, free app called Karajan Beginner. More details.

Got a favorite musical app? Tell us about it below!

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Comments [12]

Drew from New York, NY

It's been quite a few years but I want to invite you to check out the latest music history app - Informusic.

Designed as the perfect supplement for music students, professors, and classical music lovers, Informusic provides biographies, audio examples, program notes, sheet music, suggested further readings, and interactive timelines that let users contextualize musical events with other disciplines such as art, literature, politics, technology, and more.

Check it out!

Oct. 24 2016 03:50 PM
Mire from NYC

Hi all, thanks for sharing the apps i do like them all, i have just found an other new classical iOS app, i love it, i love classical opera music.

Jun. 13 2013 05:25 PM

Definitely the BEST classical music app is - Classical Music Collection for iPhone and iPad ( I've tried a lot of them, but only this app contains over 500 world's MOST beautiful and famous masterpieces of all times! I love it!

Apr. 30 2013 04:50 AM

I am looking for an app that identifies classical pieces. (like Shazam for contemporary music)

Feb. 14 2011 03:36 PM
Laurent from Paris

Now, Classissima(.com) has an iPhone app (

(exist also in Spanish, French, German and Italian)

Dec. 20 2010 01:58 PM
Rafal from POLAND

Check Chopin and Paderewski app in iTunes:

Dec. 01 2010 05:34 AM
Gavin from UK

Note Perfect! ( is a really good app for music students to use to improve their fluency in reading music.

Nov. 07 2010 08:13 PM
Steve from Florida

I like an app called Mahler Translations.

Mar. 14 2010 07:14 PM
Barry Malvin from NY

Just got a Droid. How about the top 1 or to classical apps for the Droid?

Nov. 17 2009 10:31 AM
Isabelle Beegle-Levin

Hi! Glad to see Composer of the Day is on the top 5 classical music iphone apps! However, it is Wittenberg University, not Wittenberg College. Thanks

Nov. 15 2009 07:36 PM
Lou Garner from Washington DC

Isn't it terrific how the demise of classical music on radio and locally was answered by the rise of fine music offerings on Internet radio, DVD, IPods, personal computers, and now even cell phones? It's better than ever!

It's getting more difficult to attend live performance, unless you live in a big city, but other venues are more available than ever before.

Nov. 13 2009 08:12 AM

Another app I find useful is Alto:

It's a guide to orchestral instruments and lets you easily find ranges and transpositions. Great for looking at scores!

Nov. 12 2009 11:43 PM

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