January 28, 2017
by Professor B
Chordtunes is an iPad app from EUMLab that helps you create song sheets with ukulele chords. Creating a new lyric/chord sheet is easy and fairly intuitive. After you click on the + icon to create a new sheet, you will see 2 input boxes: the top one is for the chords, the bottom for the text. Once you’ve typed the text, you can position the cursor in the chord box over the appropriate lyric and select the chord by choosing the letter name then the quality and any additional chord tones. To add the next line, press the + icon to the right of the line and two new edit boxes appear below the current line. To delete, choose the – icon on the left.
You can choose between a tenor uke with GCEA tuning, soprano with ADF#B, baritone with DGBE, standard guitar tuning, mandolin, and mandola. The chord diagrams will change accordingly. I wouldn’t mind a banjo tuning since I just got one. You can also transpose the song to different keys.
I found that lining up the chords in the input boxes did not correspond to what they looked like in the “chords on top” PDF preview. In the first line in the first picture, the chords have been placed over the corresponding syllable. On the second line, they have been adjusted so they will appear correctly (or nearly so) in the “chords on top” PDF file, as you can see in the second screenshot. However, making those corrections misaligns the chords for the “chords and lyrics” PDF format, shown in the last picture. Click on the pictures for a closer view.
Input screen. Chords are lined up in first line, not in second.
“Chords on top” PDF preview
“Chords and lyrics” PDF preview
I would like to be able to import text because typing on an iPad tedious. Also the interface requires a lot of back and forth between the input boxes and the onscreen keyboard: you type a line, touch the box to add chords, add chords, hit the + icon to add another line, reposition to that line, and repeat.
You would think that the share arrow at the top right of the main screen would be how you export a usable file, but instead it only saves a copy of their proprietary file format in the location you choose. To export the PDF, select the eyeball icon, select an output style (chords and lyrics, chords on top, only chords), then select the share arrow at the top right of the screen. I found it a little confusing that to save the PDF to my Dropbox I had to choose import with Dropbox.
One other little nit: you can’t add labels for sections such as verse, chorus, and bridge.
Aside from those relatively minor issues, I recommend this app for those of you trying to create song sheets for yourself or others. I’m going to find my external iPad keyboard, charge it up, and get started creating song sheets for my ukulele ensemble this weekend!
Available in the iTunes Store from EUMLab for $2.99.