For many, mobile technology and developing for the iPhone and the iPod touch is a fad and a Gold Rush. Good designers, though, take a longer view of how interaction can be expressive. And there are few people with a better sense of the big picture of small devices than Dr. Ge Wang. The co-founder, CTO, and Chief Creative Officer of Smule has a background that goes well beyond the latest Apple platform. Along with Perry Cook at Princeton, Ge Wang is the co-originator of ChucK, a real-time programming language for synthesis so efficient some people use it live onstage. (ChucK, as an open source project, now has a terrific team of people behind it.) ChucK is the sonic engine that powers Smule’s projects. Ge Wang also teaches at Stanford, working with students and fellow researchers to explore new ways of interacting with music technology.

Ge Wang joined me for a lengthy phone conversation recently. He really contextualized why the iPhone is important in the grand scheme of things, but also how the people at Smule and Stanford (and Princeton) can approach technology for musical interaction, focusing on what devices are rather than what they’re not.

(The audio here, believe it or not, is extensively edited – Ge Wang is that easy to talk to. I hope the next time it’s over beers rather than Skype.)

The full interview can be played below, or downloaded directly.


Download MP3 of the interview

Thanks to KORG and the Nano Series for their support of programming on

Lastly: a video of the Smule team headquarters and playing around with Leaf Trombone for a Zelda duet!

More information:
The Mule Chronicles [Smule Blog]
Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), Stanford University

Previously, for more on Ge Wang and CCRMA:
Make:TV Meets Stanford Musical Inventors, Feedback Piano

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