Capo (works out the chords for you)


Capo (v3) might be a really useful audio tool for analysing a track to learn or transcribe because of its chord detection feature—where it automatically displays the chords below the waveform (alas, no numbers—you’ll have to convert for yourself). For those still developing their ears (or you’re just having a bad day) Capo can give you a good quick start. I found it surprisingly accurate for most of the songs imported (various from folk, jazz, country, rock, pop, acoustic) but sometimes have seen errors such as a m7 instead of dim or two chords produced where they were different voicings of the same chord (not surprisingly) or A# appearing where you might expect Bb, so you still have to check and correct. It can quickly help you understand the structure and progressions to understand the form because you can see the chord patterns repeated throughout.

There are the usual features you would expect such as looping, speed control (slowing down exhibits very few digital artefacts), pitch adjustment, metronome, time sigs, mark region. It’s designed with various string instruments in mind like guitar, ukulele, mandolin, 4, 5, 6-string basses with the selected instrument’s chord boxes appearing below the chords so you can study or play along. Each instrument has its own extensive range of tunings you might want to use (like Open Eb, E modal, drop D), with any capo position and left or right handed. You can edit or change the diagram to another as needed.

Instead of EQ, its sophisticated Isolation feature gives you options to determine the frequency range (width) and pan location of the instrument or voice for either enhancing or attenuating. It could focus on a specific guitar on one side of the stereo mix for instance. And it nicely finds the bass which is what we often need to hear.

There is an iOS and Mac version, the latter having a sophisticated spectrogram where the individual notes and how they are being played (trills, vibrato) is shown pictorially and it can generate the tab of the notes.
I hope this overview is useful for some of you.

1 screenshot from iPad, showing the waveform of the song, a region selected, Isolation settings, chords, diagrams for guitar

2 Mac, bars along the top, waveform just below, spectrogram (C6 C4 G3 note range on the left edge vertically), chords and diagrams at bottom

3 just a few :) of the guitar tuning options

(no affiliation with the developers of Capo; purchased a couple of years ago)



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Staff member
Thanks for the overview, @arco. I've been curious about this app. I've played around with Yamaha's Chord Tracker for iOS, which incorporates some of the same chord analysis features. It's not as feature-ful as Capo, but it's fun to work with, and it offers some tie-ins with Yamaha keyboards.