Designing Smule's iPhone Ocarina

TitleDesigning Smule's iPhone Ocarina
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsWang, G.
Conference NameNew Interfaces for Musical Expression
Conference LocationPittsburgh
Keywordsccrma, design, iphone, music, ocarina, smule, social

The Smule Ocarina is a wind instrument designed for the iPhone, fully leveraging its wide array of technologies: microphone input (for breath input), multitouch (for fingering), accelerometer, real-time sound synthesis, high-performance graphics, GPS/location, and persistent data connection.  In this mobile musical artifact, the interactions of the ancient flute-like instrument are both preserved and transformed via breath-control and multitouch finger-holes, while the onboard global positioning and persistent data connection provide the opportunity to create a new social experience, allowing the users of Ocarina to listen to one another.  In this way, Ocarina is also a type of social instrument that enables a different, perhaps even magical, sense of global connectivity.