Accompanying apps (Cadenza etc.)

March 20, 2020, 4:11 PM · We are at a shelter-in-place order as of this weekend, so no more access to accompanists. :( I was wondering if people had used any of these accompanying apps and what they think. The two I saw that seemed to have decent violin repertoire were Cadenza and Accompany. The former seemed not to have concerto my son is working on (Shostakovich); the latter had one movement.

Are there any other good ones out there? Are any of these helpful/useful?

Replies (22)

March 20, 2020, 4:27 PM · The violin will just project over the speakers, or if the speakers are loud enough, the opposite will happen. An accompanist needs to follow your son’s rubato and tempo, not the other way around.
Edited: March 20, 2020, 4:46 PM · We have been using Tomplay. Only Shostakovich is a duet with Piano
Edited: March 20, 2020, 8:22 PM · I LOVE Cadenza. See my previous posts on it. The thing that is most valuable for me about Cadenza is that it behaves much like an actual orchestra does. It picks up your tempo at entries very quickly and well. It adapts to other things, but it's possible to lose it the same way you'd lose a not-great orchestra (say, a youth symphony or community orchestra). It won't jump the way that a pianist would in order to stay with you. The same sorts of tempo-changing levers that will be clear to an orchestra work as you'd expect with Cadenza, and it does a good job of handling rubato. I've found it to be very valuable in my preparation of concertos; anything that Cadenza doesn't find followable won't work with a live orchestra either, even if it will be fine with a pianist.

Cadenza should be used with good-quality wired headphones.

Xuanyuan, that attitude only works if you're a student not playing serious concerts or major repertoire. Once you start doing significant collaborative music (for instance, violin-piano sonatas), the pianist is a collaborator and not an accompanist. You adapt to each other, but in most cases it's not the pianist's job to "follow" you. For anyone learning concertos for performance with orchestra (as Susan's son is), it's vital to figure out what the orchestra can and can't follow. There's a musical communication aspect involved, but things like the linearity or other predictability of an acceleration/ritard matter, too. Do things that are abrupt or that distort the pulse, and you'll throw many orchestras, and/or eat rehearsal time. Given that for many students, performances with orchestra primarily involve the final round of a competition, you want as efficient of a rehearsal as possible. (And for any conductor judging a competition, if you're not followable, that will be an instant negative mark against you.)

March 20, 2020, 8:48 PM · @Lydia, but is the app just a recording of the accompaniment? Or is it a dynamic person or group that can adapt and be adapted to? I have never used these apps so...
March 21, 2020, 12:24 AM · Cadenza is dynamic. The other apps are not.
March 21, 2020, 9:56 AM · Thank you, Lydia, for the feedback! We will give that a try, at least for my younger one (on Mozart 3).

@Matthew - is Tomplay a backing track only?

March 21, 2020, 10:41 AM · Yes backtrack. Adjustable tempo. Not sure dynamic
would work with our low level internet....
March 21, 2020, 10:42 AM · I'm don't think that Cadenza streams the accompaniment. I think it downloads it onto a cache on your device.
March 21, 2020, 10:45 AM · By the way, if you do find a Shostakovich 1 accompaniment, please let me know. I put learning it on pause while I prepped for my March-April blitz of sonata performances, and with that all cancelled, I'll be able to return to concerto prep.
March 21, 2020, 11:46 AM · @Lydia Accompany has the Burlesque but that is it. I haven't found anything else (yet). My son has learned 2nd mvmt and is working on 1st. I haven't found either.
March 21, 2020, 12:38 PM · We’ll try Cadenza out and see!
March 21, 2020, 1:25 PM · Cadenza is very good.

If there's not already a Music Minus One recording for Shostakovich, maybe you can pay your regular pianist to record the piano part for you. It's not the same as a rehearsal, but it is something.

March 21, 2020, 1:42 PM · There isn't an MMO for the Shostakovich, unfortunately. By the way, one of the interesting bits with Cadenza is that many of its orchestral accompaniments use the MMO backing track.
March 29, 2020, 6:48 AM · Trying Cadenza. Someone commented about using earphones.
Just wanted to say we have used a wire to our normally Bluetooth
Bose portable speaker. Which avoids the earphones.
March 29, 2020, 9:23 AM · Liking this thread. Now I want to they Cadenza. Thanks!
Edited: March 29, 2020, 11:51 AM · @Matthew can you be more specific on how that works without headphones? We have never been able to get it to work without headphones. It seems like it makes it lag somehow.
March 29, 2020, 12:31 PM · I have a mini Bluetooth speaker, and I didn't manage to get that to work for me; I always assumed the difficulties were me hearing it. I contemplated hooking up my phone to a pair of full-sized standing speakers, but in the end, I've concluded that if I'm working on a concerto, I should practice at performance volume, and having headphones is essentially necessary in order to hear the orchestra with clarity.
March 29, 2020, 12:40 PM · We have not fully tested things out but,
the app says you cannot use Bluetooth because of lag. I ordered a lightning cord with a jack that plugs into the speaker. It should work according to them but we have not tried the interactive part. Using IPhone.
So from what I have read as long as it is hard wired to speaker it should work.
March 29, 2020, 12:47 PM · To be clear I hooked up everything and it seemed to work.
But daughter is on orders from teacher to work through the Bruch slowly
for Monday. That and homeschool have kept us from messing around.
Might try tonight.
Followed your son on IG, Susan! Great inspiration!
March 29, 2020, 7:27 PM · Thanks Matthew! We will try it wired. My son has one that should work.
Edited: March 30, 2020, 5:13 AM · Damn it, Candenza is only for IOS. Even if there wasn't a quarantine, I don't know if anyone within many many kilometres has a Mac where I live.

I really hope they port it to windows at some point. I don't know why it is, but it seems that many music apps are only for ios.

March 30, 2020, 6:58 AM · I’m not in music but Apple pretty much dominates in the Visual arts.
Daughter tried last night and had a blast. She played the 3rd movement
of Mozart 5. You could see her eyes get big everytime the orchestra came back in on time after a cadenza. There were a few issues with tempo a few times, confused between following and leading I think.
Too bad it gets so pricey after the first three months!

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