The Tune Zoo
By Patricia Monticello Kievlan,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Whimsical music-maker includes great info, records video.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn some basic music theory, including four scales: Five-Tone, Blues, Ethiopian, and Indian. They can learn about how sounds change by moving them up or down by an octave, and they can experiment with rhythm by creating loops and playing along with their creations.
Ease of Play
The tiny intro text ("Pull my head to begin!") is cute, but a little more guidance would help kids understand all the features and unlock all this app's possibilities.
Parents Need to Know
Where to Download
Videos and Photos
The Tune Zoo
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What’s It About?
In THE TUNE ZOO kids tap and drag brightly colored characters to create their own songs. Tap the speakers to start and stop different beats and percussion sounds; tap the red characters and drag the yellow and blue characters' faces up and down to play tones from a five-tone scale. You can change the scale by tapping on a menu at the top right (your choices are Five-Tone, Blues, Ethiopian, and Indian), and you can drag the red and yellow characters up and down to move the notes they play up or down an octave. A special menu page reveals more information about each of the five-tone scales available. Using the buttons on the main page lets kids record loops and play them back, and they can use the main record button to make a recording of your screen that you can save to your device's camera roll.
Is It Any Good?
On the surface, this music-creation app is a charming, fun way to record your own songs and experiment with sound, and digging a little deeper shows that there's even more to enjoy. There's a lot to learn about music here: This app lets you play around with cute characters, but it's also chock-full of great information about different kinds of musical scales and their origins. Beyond that, it's endlessly fun to toggle sounds on and off and to drag the characters's heads to open their mouths wide to sing. While The Tune Zoo isn't a comprehensive way to learn about music, it's a terrific, approachable way for kids to create their own tunes with only a few simple on-screen tools.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about making your own music and sharing it with friends. What kind of music can you make with The Tune Zoo? When is it OK to share things online?
Talk about how manipulating the different characters changes the sounds on-screen. Think about what kind of song you'd like to create and how you might use the characters on-screen to make music.
If your child is learning to play an instrument, talk about reading music. How do the characters represent different notes? How can you change the key and change octaves to change the sounds?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Subjects: Arts: improvising and music analysis, music
- Skills: Creativity: imagination, innovation, making new creations, producing new content
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Release date: December 20, 2016
- Category: Music
- Topics: Music and Sing-Along
- Publisher: Extraordinary Facility LLC
- Version: 1.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 10.0 or later
- Last updated: February 10, 2017
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