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Students Create iPhone Orchestra

Playing a real piano with your iPhone is one thing. But assembling an entire orchestra of iMusicians? That's quite another.

A course taught at the University of Michigan offers students the chance to compose and perform music with an iPhone or iPod touch. The class, called "Building a Mobile Phone Ensemble," is taught by George Essl, an assistant professor of computer science and music who says he's been making sweet mobile phone music ever since 2005. Essl teaches students how to code their own instruments, using the full array of sensors that the iPhone so uniquely offers, along with a few extra audio tools. Once they've all honed their iSkills, the entire class gets onstage to show the world what they've conceived (video after the break). What's really cool is the extent to which some students have experimented with the medium. They've all come up with different ways to create sound using combinations of shakes, screen-touches, and puffs. One kid even came up with a way to implement the video display to create some sort of synaesthetic sound-color display. (We're gonna take a wild guess that it was one of these two).

The class recently displayed their iPhone virtuosity at a university orchestral performance, and as you can see from the video below, it's more John Cage than John Mayer. Although some might find the music inaccessibly ambient, it's hard to discount the resourceful innovation that went into creating it. At a time when the music most of us are creating with our iPhones tends towards the simplistic, it's refreshing to see people exploring just how far the device can take our imaginations. [From: Wired, via TUAW]

Tags: iphone, music, university of michigan, UniversityOfMichigan

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