|iPhones are musical instruments in new course and ensemble
are being used as musical instruments in a new course at the University of
students -- who design, build and play instruments on their smartphones
-- will perform at a public concert on Dec. 9. The concert is free and open to
Phone Ensemble, believed to be the first such course in the world,
is taught by Georg Essl, a computer scientist and musician who has been driving
the development of mobile phones as musical instruments. Several years ago,
Essl and his colleagues were the first known to use the microphone
as a wind sensor—a tactic that enables popular iPhone apps such as the Ocarina.
Ocarina essentially turns the phone into an ancient type of flute. Essl is an
assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer
Science and the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
mobile phone is a very nice platform for exploring new forms of musical performance,"
Essl said. "We're not tethered to the physics of traditional instruments.
We can do interesting, weird, unusual things.
kind of technology is in its infancy, but it's a hot and growing area to use
iPhones for artistic expression."
build an instrument on an iPhone, you program the device to play back as
sound information it receives from one if its multitude of sensors. The
touch-screen, microphone, GPS, compass, wireless sensor and accelerometer can
all be transformed so that when you run your finger across the display, blow
air into the mic, tilt or shake the phone, for example, different sounds
class demands creativity and technological savvy.
order to come up with a creative piece you have to engage with the technology,
but in order to make technology interesting, you also have to engage with the
musicality. These are really hard to separate. We're trying to teach
both," Essl said.
information: The Michigan Mobile Phone Ensemble concert is Dec. 9 at 8 p.m.
in Britton Recital Hall in the Moore Building in the School of Music,
Theatre & Dance. The Moore Building is at 1100 Baits Dr. on U-M's North
Campus in Ann Arbor.
Provided by University of