Mobile Music | Part 3: Where to next?
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"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."
- Alan Kay

The world I experience today is not the one that I remember as a kid, or the one that I recall just a few years ago. The age of mobile, ubiquitous computing has begun. Powerful computers embedded in networked, mobile personal devices are transforming how, where, and when people use computing technologies. Computers are becoming increasingly pervasive and invisible (to our awareness). No longer tethered to the desktop, mobile phones and tablet computers are free to roam in everyday life with their human users while persistently connected to the network and aware of their location. This combination of powerful mobile devices and the connective potential of cloud-based computing present immense potential to reshape the way we engage one another socially, creatively, and musically. This revolution will not be only technological in nature – but also psychological. Computing is becoming less deliberate, less static, and increasingly ad hoc, on-the-fly, and context-sensitive to physical interaction, location, and social relationships. As computing paradigms shift, opportunities arise for exploring new musical interactions that take advantage of the scale and pervasiveness of new technology, leading to musical experiences that are not only "mobile," but also were perhaps never possible before. Might we find new modes of social-musical expression? Can we create new music-making experiences for a planet, involving millions or perhaps even billions of participants? I look forward to exploring all of this - together.

- Ge!

two people look intently into a laptop on stage Origins: The Laptop Orchestra
Apple Pro | feature by Dustin Driver
November 2008 | online | SLOrk homepage

"MacBook maestro bends the boundaries of computer as musical instrument." The experience of designing instruments and performances in SLOrk continues to explore new realms in computer music; it also informs and inspires many of Smule's creations.

Ge holds an iPhone in his palm and gently blows into it From Pocket to Stage, Music in the Key of iPhone
New York Times | feature by Claire Cain Miller + Miguel Helft
December 2009 | online | MoPhO homepage

How can we use technology to change the way we make music, and connect people through it? This story examines making music together as a Mobile Phone Orchestra.

faces of many people who sang 'Lean on Me' together through Smule's Glee Karaoke app Thousand Voices
audio rendering
2011-present | mp3 audio | YouTube | original invite | participants

In the wake of the 2011 Japan earthquakes and tsunami disaster, a woman in Japan started a rendition of "Lean on Me" using Smule's Glee app, and invited people to add their voices. At the time of this writing, 3898 people around the world have joined. The audio recording was rendered on Smule's servers when there were 1200 voices. What new possibilities for making music together await us?

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