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Call me strange, but one of the first things I noticed about iTunes was the BPM field in the song info dialog. I had visions of filtering songs and putting together mixes based on tempo. I even went as far as writing a little app that allowed me to click the mouse in time with a song to calculate the BPM and insert it into the currently playing song’s metadata, but I soon abandoned hope of working through my large music library in my lifetime. A signal-processing-based solution is what was needed, and the folks at a software company called Potion Factory have created one.

The new app is called Tangerine, and it automatically analyzes your iTunes library and adds BPM info for each song. It’s not always perfect (the app’s still a beta release), but it’s quite good. It also has a very slick interface — it’s actually got the functionality of an early release of iTunes! It even has a playlist builder that lets you visualize the duration and tempo of each song. One very cool feature is a auto-generator that builds a playlist for you with one of several tempo profiles! See the screenshot below for details.

Playlist Generator

When Tangerine makes mistakes it’s likely to be either double or half the correct value, and there are easy shortcuts for doubling or halving the value it calculated. However, there needs to be a better way to validate Tangerine’s BPM calculations within the app. When I’m playing a song, for example, I’d like to see a metronome animation showing me what Tangerine thinks the tempo is. For now, all you’ve got to go on is the numerical value, and I have to confess that I don’t have an internal feeling for what 92BPM should sound like. It would also be nice to have a tap-along method for fixing the BPM of a track that Tangerine got wrong. But hey, it’s a beta release so we can cut Potion Factory some slack.

All in all this is a very nice app that I’ve been wanting for a long time. Plus, if you report a juicy bug or blog about the app they’ll give you a license when it ships (not that that had anything to do with this post ;) ) Check it out!

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Like my work? Check out HexaLex, my game for iPhone & iPod Touch. It's a crossword game like Scrabble, but played with hexagonal tiles. http://www.hexalex.com