Student Orchestra Performs Music with iPhones

This is a cool article from Wired about a class at the University of Michigan where computer science students get to create their own musical instruments for the iPhone. “One student’s instrument uses the iPhone’s video-savvy screen and microphone to synesthetically work the relationship between color and sound. Another student is exploring what the iPhone can do with feedback and distortion.”

From the article:

“What’s interesting is we blend the whole process,” Essl said in a phone interview with Wired.com. “We start from nothing. We teach the programming of iPhones for multimedia stuff, and then we teach students to build their own instruments.”

“We don’t stop there,” he continued. “We don’t just see this as an engineering exercise. We want to do the whole process where we start from nothing, and then we go to performance next week in a live concert, where people can come and listen to the outcome of what students have learned in the course.”

The advantage of digital music can be seen in instruments as far back as the electric guitar: the flexibility to manipulate bits of code to create different sounds, superseding the limitations of a traditional analog instrument. Naturally, technological advancement keeps raising electronic sound to new heights. In recent years, musicians have been experimenting with gadgets ranging from laptops to high-tech cellos, and from cellphones to bent circuits.”

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