When I first came across this article, my first reaction was to snicker and scroll on. After watching the video on the U of M’s website, however, I have to say it’s kind of impressive how people are beginning to use their new and refurbished cell phones to express themselves creatively.
I’ve seen some other “cellular orchestras” before, and they were horribly annoying. Because the iPhone is so advanced, however, this group of grad students at the U of M has been able to manipulate the phones in some really interesting ways. The course that they are enrolled in, which seems to sparking a new field as universities like Stanford will soon be adding similar programs to their course catalog, teaches the students to design, build, and play instruments on their iPhones. The music they are making is definitely different but if you’re a fan of Phillip Glass, you might be into it.
Georg Essl, the instructor of the course, feels that, “The mobile phone is a very nice platform for exploring new forms of musical performance,” because “we’re not tethered to the physics of traditional instruments. We can do interesting, weird, unusual things.” If you are into what they have going on, they are putting on a concert December 9th.