Sick of hearing about music apps for the iPhone?

This is going to make you feel much worse. In fact, you might just want to go somewhere else right now.

Okay, before you start throwing your cell phones at me, they are experimenting with some nice ideas:

  • Tilt
  • “Wind input” using the mic
  • Finger placement over multi-touch holes on the device

Breath controllers haven’t gotten the play recently they once did. What this demonstrates is that you can use a mic input to fake it – though they don’t make that input variable; that is, you can’t blow harder or lighter to get different results. (In fairness, that doesn’t work quite as well with a mic, at least not without some effort.) So there’s plenty here to experiment with – and nothing stopping you from, say, using the internal mic on your laptop to play around.

Whether or not it’s a serious musical instrument, as a toy it’s a bit like a 21st Century kazoo. There’s even online sharing of songs. So I can’t knock it as a toy. I’d just like to see someone make a DIY breath controller – any ideas? (Musical breathalyzer?)

The software is $0.99. I’ll be they sell a whole bunch of them. But if you do a Zelda cover, dress up in the green suit – it helps the effect. [iTunes link]

Also on Synthtopia, who grabbed this first.

  • silicon/silicium

    In europe, Thomann also released a simple usb to xlr adapter for less than 50$ (38€ in fact).
    just look at

  • silicon/silicium

    hmmmm, problem inserting link :/

  • Not available in the Australian store yet, unfortunately — looks like a few minutes of fun at the least.

  • richardl

    A couple of additional notes:

    It's networked. You can hear and locate other Ocarina players around the world playing their Ocarina apps.

    Also Ocarina is iPhone only. It can't be loaded on to an iPod Touch (even the 2nd Gen with a Mic).

  • wuruwuru

    In fairness, ocarinas don't really have much response in the way of breath sensitivity anyway.

  • Wow, this is pretty badass. I like their version of Stairway to Heaven.

  • joe


  • Haha, funny! 😀 I love Zelda. I have the triforce on my hat! Woo

  • Mix

    Novel idea, which makes you look a bit of a tool, blowing hot air up your iPhones dodar.

  • ml

    it does in fact react on the strength of your blowing.

  • Pingback: links for 2008-11-10 at Pixelblog()

  • Axel

    It's worth noting that the app is based on the ChucK audio programming language. The company behind the app was founded by ChucK's creator Ge Wang.

  • RichardL

    Ocarina is currently the top paid iPhone app on iTunes. That's impressive.

  • JohnG

    I don't see anywhere that says that it uses Chuck, where did you get that from?

  • Axel

    From the application logs folder on a jailbroken phone :

    [2008.11.12 13:31:31.119] starting chuck…
    [2008.11.12 13:31:38.676] buffer duration – preferred: 0.016000 : actual: 0.016000
    [2008.11.12 13:31:38.815] sample rate – preferred: 16000.000000 : actual: 16000.000000
    [2008.11.12 13:31:38.931] route is 'SpeakerAndMicrophone'
    [2008.11.12 13:31:39.024] hardware sample rate of 16000.000000 (iPhone 3G) detected
    [2008.11.12 13:31:39.116] route = 'SpeakerAndMicrophone' : output gain = 1.000000 : input gain = 1.250000
    [2008.11.12 13:31:40.180] chuck ready…

  • JohnG

    Ah, interesting. This comes back to the question of how they can get this into the app store, as a chuck script is interpreted. Unless they have changed it so everything is hardcoded in.

    Also strange that they are not advertising the fact that they are using Chuck…

  • great work Ge. I've been having some fun with ChucK ever since ISMIR. cheers,