Are you a high-tech folkie? How about taking the complete O’Neill’s Music of Ireland in your pocket to a folk festival! Here’s where Bryan Duggan’s TunePal comes to the fore. I first encountered this wonderful software when I found an early version for my Psion 5MX. Since upgrading to an HP iPaq2750 I have been on the lookout for something that would play .abc format tunes, so I can take an aural reference with me to festivals. Enter Bryan Duggan again – with an updated version for pocket PC (pocket windows 2003+).

The software is easy to instal, and, once you pay the €10 registration fee (ten euros)you can then install a MIDI instruments package that lifts this software into a truly useful package. So you can play the tunes with a fiddle-like sound, and control the volume, and more importantly, the speed of play. That is, you can vary the speed without varying the pitch – so you can slow the tune down to learn it, then speed it up as you get more confident with the tune – or to hear it at session speed.

This will play any .abc tune, and runs very stably on the iPaq. So now I can go armed with literally thousands of tunes, and when I hear one I like at a session, I can retire from the fray and play it over a few times to get it stuck in my head and ready to play for real πŸ™‚

TunePal on pocketPC

TunePal on pocketPC

As you can see from the screen shots above (the bulge is an artefact of the camera lens) the interface is simple, clear and easy to navigate. The only further development I would like to see is a means to display the tune as sheet music – but this has a big thumbs up from me – well done Bryan πŸ™‚