Using Cell Phones to Make Music

Ocarina app(Photo: http://ocarina.smule.com/)
Ocarina app(Photo: http://ocarina.smule.com/)

I came across this article last night which launched me into a new era of music making – using free or inexpensive iPhone apps to make music.

There are several ways to play and create music on your mobile phone, but the one which captured my fancy is the Ocarina app, which replicates the sound of an ages-old wind instrument. No doubt many of us played around with ocarinas as kids. Now we can go high tech!

Here’s how it works:

  • Holding the phone 2-3 inches from your mouth, blow into the microphone. The program converts the rush of air into sound. The harder you blow, the louder the tone.
  • Four circles on the iPhone’s touchscreen represent the instrument’s holes. Place your fingers on the circles in varying combinations to change the pitch. Ocarina can produce 16 different notes, enough to play most songs, from “Amazing Grace” to “Stairway to Heaven.”
  • Tilt the phone to trigger the built-in accelerometer, changing the timbre of the sound.
  • Record yourself playing and share with your friends, or listen to recordings of Ocarina players from around the world.

Just think of the possibilities: a solo act, small ensembles, and even an iPhone orchestra. Could be fun as home concerts or even on the concert stage.

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