Pianist is a virtual piano that allows you to play a keyboard, compose music, and record and edit your compositions. It has a full scrolling keyboard with all 88 keys, virtual sustain and soft pedals and a metronome. One octave is displayed at a time, while scrolling to other octaves is accessible through a highlighted smaller keyboard at the top of the screen.

The option to display the notes on each key is available through the setup panel as is access to the recorder and metronome.

Recording is easy and through the Recorder panel you can erase notes or erase an entire song. The metronome feature allows you to adjust the volume, tempo and beats per bar.
The sustain and soft pedals are at the top of the screen above the keyboard giving you easy access to those features as you play.

The good: The keyboard responds very smoothly to your touch and the keys are large enough that you are able to play a three key chord cleanly.

The bad: I would like to see MIDI export built into Pianist to allow transferring of songs to programs such as Logic on your Mac or PC. It would also be more fun to play if it had the ability to have 2 octaves onscreen at once as having to constantly tap the top of the screen to switch octaves interferes with continuity of play. Though the app allows you to play up to five notes at a time I found this to be somewhat difficult. Additionally, the volume doesn’t seem to be loud enough and the addition of more instruments or various pianos would make this app even better.

The Bottom line: Pianist is a nice start to a genre that is sure to improve as the iPhone matures. The ability to display two octaves, additional instruments and MIDI would greatly improve it’s appeal. The quality of the sampled piano, ease of use and reasonable price makes this a 3.5 star app.

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