Ge Wang | Ocarina
(also see: CV | publications | projects)

Ocarina transforms the iPhone into an ancient flute-like instrument that responds to your breath, touch, and movements. Created in 2008, it was one of the very first mobile/social musical instruments; its globe visualizes where people are playing Ocarina and even lets users listen in on each other. It went on to be one of Apple's Hall of Fame apps and currently has more than 10 millions of users, who have since 2008 expended 2 billion breathes blowing into their iPhones (see map below) and have listened to each other 47 millions times in the globe! The vision was and remains to bring the joy of music-making to as many people as possible, and to connect the world more through music (with a little help from technology).

Related Publications

Wang, G. 2014. "Ocarina: Designing the iPhone's Magic Flute." Computer Music Journal. 38(2).

Wang, G. 2014. “Improvisation of the Masses: Anytime, Anywhere Music.” Oxford Handbook of Improvisation Studies. G. Lewis and B. Piekut Eds. Oxford University Press.

Wang, G. 2014. “The World Is Your Stage: Making Music on the iPhone.” Oxford Handbook of Mobile Music Studies. S. Gopinath and J. Stanyek Eds. Oxford University Press.

icon of Ocarina

Ge plays Ocarina on an iPhone Ocarina 2 Medley
video | by Ge Wang + Turner Kirk (with Andrew Briggs)
Spring 2012 | Vimeo | YouTube

A short medley on Ocarina 2, including Clair de Lune, Legend of Zelda,, and Ennio Morricone's "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly".

five people sit 
on a rug each playing an iPhone, Ge accompanies them on guitar Stairway to Heaven intro (for guitar and five iPhones)
video | by Ge Wang
November 2008 | YouTube | .mov

This video, initially created to reach a potentially different generation of iPhone users, spawned the notion of "dirty iPhone hippies"...

logo for New York Times column: 
The Latest in Technology from David Pogue So Many iPhone Apps, So Little Time
New York Times | by David Pogue
March 2009 | online

"It's one of the most magical programs I've ever seen for the iPhone, and probably for any computer. It's Ocarina, named after the ancient clay wind instrument."

distribution of breaths blown into Ocarina.