I can no longer find Pitchlab in the App store. Taken down?

How I found out: When I tried to do a restore to my iPhone, it tried to restore Pitchlab from the App store (I had no control over this). It reported the app was deleted from the App store. It gave me only two options (Cancel or DELETE), either of which left me with no Pitchlab on my device.

Any of you see something similar?

Keep those 5s’s handy, folks…

Someone reported previously that they got caught in a patent dispute and had to take it down.


I’ll have to keep my current iPhone going, just for this…


You can still download Pitchlab Pro for free from Amazon - at least in France.


This was discussed at length in the old list. The program became the subject of patent litigation from Petersen who own the rights to the concept of a strobe tuner. I can hardly refrain from commenting on how petty this action is. That is why it is withdrawn.

The previous threads mostly offered the suggestion of having an old phone dedicated to being a tuner.

Allow to me say that we have a category here for Tuning and Temperament, and this frequently raised matter would be better there.

I apologize for placing this post in the wrong topic.

However, in regards to your admonishment regarding timeliness, when this topic was last discussed, it was in fact still possible to still download the app from the App store, even though it was not being updated and hence causing problems with various OS versions.

Now not even downloading is possible. I thought it prudent to make the list aware of that, and also to make the list aware that if they restore their iPhone, they will now lose what many on the list consider to be a valuable program. That was not true before.

No need! There’s no hard and fast rules about the Categories. It’s just that we did make one specially for tuning, so people interested in those related subjects can look there.

No admonishment intended. I had looked into the matter at the time and found the legal reason for the withdrawal, that’s all.

Indeed – that was two lists ago!

Imagine that you are the proud owner of an original Ruckers and attempt to tune it one day, only to discover that the strings have disappeared on account of

a) you not having paid to upgrade the operating system.
b) you not having bought new secure strings.
c) a rival maker claiming that the method of tuning is proprietary and belongs to him.


You sit down at a concert with your iPad ready, pedal attached to turn over, ready to go, and discover that the score you had paid to download is not to be found because the licensing arangement with the library that owns one of the mss has expired and Bear-rider, the publisher, from whom you downloaded it, has gone bust.

And people wonder why some of us still rely on printed music and physical recordings…


This HAS happened in reality. Maybe not in a concert but I am sure you all know the case of Amazon silently retiring regularly purchased ebooks from Kindle devices due to copyrights issues. Same happened with Nook and recently with Microsoft (Microsoft's Ebook Apocalypse Shows the Dark Side of DRM | WIRED).
As usual, you don’t own a book, you just get a license to read a book, a license that can be revoked for whichever reason.

David wrote: And people wonder why some of us still rely on printed music and physical recordings…
Let me add the obvious and already discussed in our lists not long ago:
" … and tuning by ear (with beats and also without!)" .
Years ago I sponsored the excellent (but expensive) iPad/iPod-based CyberTuner. Very useful for tuning a piano, much more difficult than a harpsichord. But for a harpsichord things are much easier and for an historical temperament we do not need to tune every note to an accuracy of a fraction of a Cent. Starting the iPod, selecting, whatever, well, in the same time I can do the partition of meantone purely by ear (no beat counting needed) and also the partition of any irregular temperament by using any of my “schemes”: with checks, duplication on the other 8’, it takes 4 minutes either electronically or aurally. I apologise again for repeating things already discussed among us: tuning by ear is not just “authentic” (which is not too meaningful when the end result is the same!) but it also keeps basic harpsichordist skills honed. Of course, the electronic aid is invaluable when you have to tune two or more harpsichords to play together. Also in a noisy place, of course, although even there with a bit of training it is perfectly viable to tune successfully by ear.

I have Pitchlab Pro on an Android phone that was downgraded to a dashcam because its wireless died. Last week PP refused to start because of license expiry or suchlike; so I had to Bluetooth to another system and have that system allow internet access via Bluetooth. Once that was done, I suspect PP silently connected to Amazon and reinstated its license.

Hi All, we will have to make this an FAQ. It’s been discussed extensively on all the lists. The developer of PitchLab was sued by Petersen, who have the patent on strobe tuners. Seems overly aggressive to me, but that’s how people are. I am certain of this fact and I researched it extensively some time ago.

All I can say is that people will have to drop their attachment to that software, sadly, sooner or later. There are other tuners, depending on iPhone or Android.

I cant help inserting here that I think people should tune by ear, my hobby horse. One thing that is not subject to litigation, so far at least! I think electronic tuners are a crutch that cripples our senses and skill. But hey! This is one of the Great Debates on the list, what it’s all for. :slight_smile:

The phone I had Pitchlab Pro on was stolen last night. I had no problems installing it on another phone in Canada, caveat that Amazon Appstore under Android still has it listed in My Apps.

On starting the newly installed Pitchlab Pro, I saw a note that some features had been restricted because of patent issues. But it still does what it did before as far as I’m concerned.

While it’s a crutch, my aging neurons need all the help they can get when it comes to turning.

It may be under your MyApps but in Australia at least it is simply no longer available. Development has ceased, partly due to patent infringements and law cases from Petersen who own the concept of strobe tuning. We know this from the developer of the app. So depending on a dead app to tune with may not be a long term sustainable solution. Who knows when an Android update will knock you out. It was good for what it did though.

I don’t know the law here. Would it be possible to post the apk
somewhere where US patent law wouldn’t reach? Although, since the app
isn’t being kept up, it may eventually stop working anyway.

Many of us use only the tone generator portion of PitchLab. If the strobe function were eliminated, would the software avoid the patent dispute?

Sure, but the developer has abandoned, so there’s no support, and programs that access hardware tend to be sensitive to OS upgrades. People are extremely attached to PitchLab because it was good. But it’s time to drop attachment to it.

With all the regret over PitchLab, I have been surveying Android tuners for some time (although it is a fact universally well known that I am a large proponent of using one’s ears and skill…) as some people have convincing reasons to want one.

There are none presently, in my opinion. Cleartune is moribund, and I and others are not convinced of its accuracy. DA Tuner was sold a couple of years ago to some anonymous mod that now dares to want to charge A$47.99 per year for the ‘pro’ (such a miserable word) version. All the others are just guitar tuners, of varying degrees of crudity in software design. What our group wants is multiple built in and editable temperaments, and this has become rare.

One could use the Peterson strobe app for Android, if one can tolerate the fact that they crushed the
developer of PitchLab (was he such a large threat to their business?).

The situation my be slightly better over in iOS land, but I do not know.

The good old dependable Korg OT-120 Orchestral tuner still lives, surprisingly, and now has 8 temperaments built in (which is not enough but better than only ET). That may be a possible solution.

The so called ‘tuning sets’ by TLA from Marc Vogel are still available, with absurd prices (1200 euros) and the ugliest industrial design ever conceived of, and an interface from about 1962. But they can filter high harmonics and may have some specialised use.

This is not a complete survey, but the current landscape is bleak.

Ironically, I think this is the best argument for learning to tune how everybody in past times did, by ear, and with a tuning fork to set the pitch standard.

As a software developer myself I have toyed with the idea of writing a high accuracy DSP tuning program with full support for temperaments, due to the current lack. But it’s a huge task, and judging from the current low level of interest in harpsichords apparent from our low membership, maybe the total audience for such an app is only a couple of hundred people worldwide. So the commercial economics of it do not make any sense, and I think partly account for the lack of such software. It’s too specialised, and when people expect to pay $4 for something on the app store, there’s no return on the investment in development.

And finally, there is no better integrator than the ear of the enormous complex harmonic problems with low strings, with high strings, and even strings in the middle. No electronic tuner ever gets it right. I hear so many instruments badly tuned with electronic help, although to be fair some can wield such a tool with skill.

I can only second every and each of Andrew’s words, safe for one thing:

“One could use the Peterson strobe app for Android, if one can tolerate the fact that they crushed the
developer of PitchLab (was he such a large threat to their business?).”

I think they could tolerate. However, I own the Peterson strobe app in the iOS versione (on iphone 11) and I advise against using it. Its temperaments are too inaccurate, the resulting tuning was just unplayable, particularly so with the Rameau temperament. Maybe the Android versioni s better.

I own two old TLA tuners I bought from Marc Vogel in the nineties. They still work fine but they did cost a lot. The newer TLA have the strobo, however. No need for us to buy the most expensive models (they make 4 different models) as we don’t need octave stretching an the likes. The TLA-CTS-A is sold at 429.00 euros, still a huge amount (similar prices on Thomann.de or Amazon).

Let me tell you my personal experience.

I started in the nineties with the electronic tuners (TLA). Everything fine, so far. Some years later I managed to get a couple of temperaments by ear and everything was a lot better. I didn’t look at the tuner’s screen anymore but gave attention to what I was hearing. Before, if the harpsichord as a whole went down or up a few cents remaining tuned in itself, I couldn’t just touch up the two or three strings needing attention, but I had to re-tune everything (three registers), because I didn’t know it was “tuned” in itself because the strobo on my tuner was showing each string was out of tune. An affair of 10-15 seconds became a struggle of 45-60 minutes.

Now, I was able to be both a lot faster. More important, the tuning was a whole lot better: more harmonious, more singing, more precise.

Then I went lazy and reverted to the electronic tuners, now as iphone apps. I had good results with Pitchlab, less so with Peterson iStrobosoft, but never as good as I tuned by ear. I am going to revert to by-ear-only system.

However, I only use tuners for the central octave and tune by ear the octaves and unisons.

“The TLA-CTS-A is sold at 429.00 euros”

Sorry, the right name of the model is TLA CTS-5-A.