Antares launches Auto-Key Mobile, a free-to-download music key detection app for iOS devices. At the time of writing, Auto-Key Mobile is iOS only, but an Android version is in the works.
Auto-Key Mobile is a straightforward app that utilizes the same algorithm as the flagship Antares plugin, Auto-Tune (speaking of which, here’s our list of free Autotune software).
It works similarly to name that song apps like Shazam, in the sense that it listens to material and produces an answer.
When you open the app, you’ll see a multi-colored circle of fifths diagram.
The circle of fifths is such a simple yet powerful tool when it comes to understanding everything from basic harmony and cadences/turnarounds to substitutions, reharmonization, and negative harmony. I won’t turn this into a music theory rant, to the delight of anyone reading, I’m sure, but I do love some circle of fifths!
Once you’re ready, tap the diagram, and the app will start to process the audio. Within a few seconds, you’ll have the key, and it’s relative major or minor.
I have to say; I did get a few funky results from the app in the first few minutes of use. Not the good kind of funky either, like Bootsy’s Rubber Band, just inexplicably wrong. But that happened a couple of times, and not again, and I tested it on a wide range of sources.
Once you have your key, you can click the keyboard icon to produce a playable keyboard onscreen that highlights the notes of the determined scale.
The other thing you can do, if you are an Auto-Tune user, is to send the results to Auto-Tune.
This feature could be incredibly useful if you have multiple instances of Auto-Tune in a project. The app will send the key information to each instance of the plugin, and you’ll see them switch to match the app quickly. It takes away some tedious mouse clicking.
If, like me, you aren’t an Auto-Tune user ( I use a few things, like Waves Tune Real-Time and Logic Pro’s built-in Flex Pitch), you can still download and use Auto-Key Mobile no problem. All you are asked to do is create a free account after a few goes in order to keep using it.
As you can imagine, without Auto-Tune, it’s still a handy app to have. Even in purely social situations, we all know musicians sometimes like to dissect music instead of just enjoying it.
Auto-Key Mobile could settle any debate over who has the better ear, although, as a cheat sheet, when unsure, just say A minor; you will be correct often enough.
I like it, and I’m sure I’ll use it. Check it out.
More info: Auto-Key Mobile (iOS app)