Ocarina iPhone app has Legend of Zelda mode

The Smule Ocarina app for the iPhone would be worth the 99 cents even if didn't boast a Zelda mode: it turns your iPhone into a musical wind instrument, where playing is accomplished by the fingering of digital valves coordinated with blowing into the microphone. It's also a social application: you can tap a globe icon and hear what other Ocarina players are playing, all over the world.

I'm eager to try it, but the disclaimer on the front page is a bit strange: "Optimized for 3G phones; for first generation phones we recommend upgrading to the 2.2 firmware when it becomes available." Huh. I wonder what's up with that.

Ocarina [Smule]

Update: I can't play worth a damn, but this is pretty neat. The Global View, in which you can listen to other users playing, is particularly impressive: a fluid, rotatable globe spraying whirling ionic fountains of music.

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11 Comments

  1. Quietly brilliant use of multitouch. That’s the first app that has actually made the iPhone interesting for me.

    I wonder how resistant it is to ambient sound triggering the mike. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem to have feedback problems, so maybe…

    I would also like to know what the actual volume level is; it’d be nice if we had some speech on that recording for rough comparison.

  2. is the zelda mode supposed to play music from the games, or is it just tuned to match the ocarina in the game?

    The global view would be much more interesting if anyone knew how to play. lol.

    Technogeek, ambient sound doesn’t do anything. You have to be blowing into the mic, just breathing into it doesn’t seem to have an effect. If you pushyour thumb down over the mic grille, it seemed to act like a pretty constant breath for me though, probably because it’d be really loud to a person on a phone call.

  3. Is there a mode that will allow it to be usable on an iPod Touch – i.e., does it /require/ a microphone?

    I’d dedicate a finger to an amplitude control.

  4. I bought this one too…it’s really impressive. It’s really very subtle.

    Now I just need to learn how to play ‘The Final Countdown’ on it and I will be really happy.

  5. hello from smule. sorry for confusion on the 2.2 comment. basically the 3g phone audio hardware is much better than the first gen. we’re trying to help the first-gen phones in software. we’ve made some adjustments in our 1.0.1 and 1.0.2 releases (both pending). the new 2.2 firmware from apple also helps a lot.

  6. @joel: the first gen’s have trouble with full duplex audio (mic + speaker). apple put in a fix in the 2.1 firmware, but this takes the first gen speaker down to 8K (vs. 44K). 2.2 firmware (pending) fixes this. but we’ve also found the speaker volume (regardless of duplex) on the first gen is much softer. the 3g phones, by contrast, work extremely well, and we’re surprised with the range on the speaker.

  7. Sorry for anonymous quote, just pushed for time as I’ve spent too much time trying to play it.

    Awesome App. I love it…. so much fun. I have no idea what I’m doing. I should try doing in on the London tube. That would annoy people :lol

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