Street Orchestra iPhone App Allows You to Sync Your iPhones and Create Music

June 23, 2010, By Alex Ion

Creating music directly on your iPhone is a known fact. There are loads of apps that allow you to “create” by simply touching and tapping on the screen. And while some of these are really great and fun to play with, I honestly think none can beat the newly announced Street Orchestra iPhone App.

Street Orchestra iPhone App

That’s because the Street Orchestra iPhone application is actually the first synchronised multi player music game in the world, that allows users to create musical crescendos wherever they may be. You and everyone around with an iPhone and an installed app, get to sync their phones and play right on the spot.

And this is what happens when an entire orchestra uses the App instead of their fancy instruments

The new Street Orchestra iPhone App has been built by SCP – a Gothenburg-based agency, for the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, and was meant to prove that everyone has the potential to create and contribute to a larger than life musical experience.

“When the first seed of an idea was planted, everyone involved was unanimous in that the uniqueness of El Sistema and the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra should be reflected in the app and the experience it delivers. Over 3 months of development and through the application of never before attempted synching technology, we’ve created the world’s first synched iPhone musical experience and in doing so, taken music literally to the streets,” said Russell Clark, Interactive Producer at SCP.

Street Orchestra iPhone App

Street Orchestra iPhone App

Users can play the Street Orchestra app solo, but the fun part is doing it with a bunch of friends or strangers right in the park, at the football game, or while traveling by train — you’ll notice how all these places are instantly transformed in ad-hoc concert halls, and people will stare at you smiling if they like what they hear or covering their years if they don’t. And if you consider that after launch the streets of Gothenburg in Sweden, got filled with gangs of impromptu orchestras popping up and about, it sounds like a fun thing to do with your iPhone. Don’t you think?

For those of you who’d like to get a bit technical and understand how the synchronization of the iPhones was achieved on such a huge number of mobile phones at the same time:

One device sends out an audible synchronization sound once every second for ten seconds. When other players hear that sound they try to tap their screens at the exact moment the synchronization sound is heard. Internally the application will disregard the first few taps since they are most often not correct. For the rest of the taps the application will move the taps so that the second tap is moved -1 second, the third tap is moved -2 seconds, and so on.

The application will then calculate a median value in time based on all taps and will then remove the worst tap. It will then repeat this process to remove the three worst taps. After that has been done a new median time value is created and (n+5) seconds are added to this value to create a moment in time five seconds after where the device thinks the last beep was sent. This time is then used to start the music playback. The end result – perfect syncing on a huge number of mobile phones every time.

There are a few things the developers haven’t mentioned yet. Like how long it will take to master the application, if the triangle is as easy to play on an orchestra app as it is in real life, or if more instruments will be available in the future, but I must say we tried it in the office and, in all honesty, it kicks ass (although we had a bad “conductor”). And, on top of that, Rock Band on iOS4, seems like very far away.

The Street Orchestra App is available to download from the iTunes store or from www.theorchestraapp.com.

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