iPhone Ocarina: Geekiest Musical Instrument Ever

By Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

In a fit of boredom I decided to try out a bunch of iPhone apps yesterday, and have decided that Ocarina is a keeper. This is one of those concepts that really makes me wonder what the developer was thinking: (1) let’s turn the iPhone into a wind instrument by blowing into the microphone, and (2) hey, wouldn’t it be cool if it were an ocarina like in Zelda? I think that the combination of those two things make it officially the geekiest musical instrument ever. It’s a phone dressed up as an instrument from a video game. (Of course, the ocarina did not come to be with the N64, but the iPhone version even features a “Zeldarian” scale mode.) Here’s how it works:

Of course, after playing with it for twenty minutes, I sound nothing like that. It’s just like any other musical instrument, I guess–it requires practice. You should have heard me playing the oboe when I first picked it up in the sixth grade. It sounded like I was strangling a duck.

One of the coolest things about the Ocarina, however, is that it’s not just something to practice alone and then whip out to impress your friends–there’s a community component, too. The website has forums where Ocarina enthusiasts post sheet music for how to play different songs. Even better, there’s a “World” mode on the Ocarina where you can listen to someone else anywhere in the world playing; there’s a neat rendering of a globe that spins, and it displays the username of the person playing and a pinpoint of where they are. Last night I listened to someone in southern China trying out a pretty convincing rendition of the Star Wars theme.

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