Mobile Music | Part 1: The Apps
back: home | next: part 2: bio

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
- Arthur C. Clarke

icon of Smule's MadPad app

an iPhone records the sound and video of two metal pipes being banged together. Improvising the Instrument: MadPad
video | by Turner Kirk and Nick Kruge
September 2011 | YouTube

Can you make an instrument out of anything? Why certainly - if one is willing to be expressive! MadPad samples sounds and video from anything around you, and turns it into an audiovisual instrument you can play.

two hands play a grids of 12 audiovisual elements like a drum This is Doug's breakfast... on MadPad
video | by Doug Larsen
September 2011 | YouTube

Transform the sound of food and cooking into an instrument. Welcome to the Sound Kitchen!

icon of Smule's Ocarina app

Ge plays Ocarina on an iPhone; holding and blowing into it iPhone, Ocarina, Legend of Zelda
video | by Ge Wang and Tanya Sleiman
November 2008 | YouTube | .mov | design sketches: one + two

What better way to introduce the iPhone Ocarina to the world than with an attempt to play the theme from Legend of Zelda - one of the most magical video games ever?

five people sit on rug each playing Ocarina on iPhones 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."

icon for Smule's I Am T-Pain app

grid of four people singing into the I Am T-Pain app Buy U A Drank ("crowdsourced")
video | by NappyBoyOnline
September 2009 | YouTube

T-Pain introduces this video and hands it off to many users to sing one of his signature songs with I Am T-Pain.

male wearing New York Yankees visor singing unabashedly into his phone on the subway I'm on a Phone [explicit lyrics!]
video | by the Misunderstoods
December 2009 | YouTube | with lyrics

This user-written and -produced parody of "I'm on a Boat" was the grand-prize winner of Smule's "I Am T-Pain" app contest. It is one of many examples of users "breaking into song" in the elements of everyday life. (warning: explicit lyrics!)

back: home | next: part 2: bio