Why Ukulele Players Should Get OnSong
One of my top complaints about tabs online is the difficulties in quickly finding and accessing the tabs. Especially when you are out and have no internet connection. While the web is getting easier to search, sometimes there are multiple versions of tabs and the most popular and highest ranking may not be the version you want (or even correct). As such, I grabbed a useful iPad app so that I could organizing my tabs for playing at home and at gigs (I have a terrible memory and memorizing tabs and chords doesn’t come naturally to me). The one that I like the most is OnSong. It’s not perfect but it works well.
OnSong is an app which you can get on iPad, iPhone and even iPod (remember those things?) It’s clearly intended for the iPad first as that is screen size that is useable when reading tabs. Something like an iPhone might be a bit too tricky to look at for an extended time. It is designed to replace a folder with music in and has a few features that really help out.
You can import songs and chords for a variety of different sources and formats. Importantly, this includes text, PDF and webpages. All common formats to get music in. By importing, you can organize your music via key, artist, theme so you can find them easily, and you can create a “set”. This is great for performing as you can move through the songs you’re going to play on that occasion. This really helps when playing live as you simply have to swipe between the different songs. Especially if you add in a Bluetooth pedal so you can navigate with your feet and keep your hands for strumming.
When imported correctly, songs can be automatically transposed into different keys by simple swipes on the screen, great when your vocalist doesn’t have the same vocal range as the original singer.
Missing or not so good
Although OnSong is a great tool, it’s not perfect. The interface can be a bit confusing at times with the drop-down sections. You might have to tap on a few areas a couple of times till you find the right place that you want or until you’ve learned the area you want. More importantly, maneuvering through your set list can get tricky when you have a song with a coda and repeating parts (mostly true for sheet music rather than tablature).
Overall, this helps you to get your music in order, save great versions of songs that you find and enjoy playing more. It isn’t the cheapest at $24.99 for the universal app (it used to be $12.99) but it keeps getting updates after many years, unlike other abandoned apps. I’m glad I have this in my toolbox