|-Read the review!|
Music/Utility Joakim Högberg
If there´s one aspect of music education that all musicians hate, it´s aural tests - and just like a trip to the dentist, they´re inescapable! Despite common myth, most people can do well in aural exams even if they aren´t fortunate enough to be blessed with a bionic ear - it´s a simple matter of practise. A computer is the perfect tool for carrying out this practise as it is capable of producing random tests, and won´t laugh if you make a mistake, well, not yet anyway. There have been many aural training packages for the Atari over the years including Steinberg´s The Ear, and C-Lab/Emagic´s excellent Aura. All of which brings us neatly to hEARCoach.
hEARCoach is a simple but effective modern GEM application written using GFA Basic and currently consisting of an interval trainer and a chord trainer. Both trainers allow you to hear each question as many times as required and to see the answer if you get stuck. The interval trainer provides a statistics error report page so you can see where your weaknesses lie. It would be nice if the number of hearings and attempts per question could be added to this statistics page.
The program allows a fair amount of user configuration that can be saved for next time the program is run. An interval settings dialof allows you to set which intervals are used by the interval trainer. The global settings dialog allows the lowest/highest note to be specified, the length of notes played, whether the chords are arpeggiated or not, MIDI settings and more. hEARCoach can be used with external MIDI playback equipment or can generate basic tones using the Atari´s sound system. I would personally recommend a realistic acoustic piano sound for serious practise. Although the hEARCoach is quite basic, it is still very useful and clearly shows potential if enough people support the author. hEARCoach is shareware, but at just $3 dollars to register offers excellent value for money. An ST-Guide hypertext manual is supplied and I haven´t experienced one crash while I´ve been testing it - it there a higher compliment?!
(hEARCoach v0.96 was rated 80% in this review)