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10 cool videos of the iPhone as a music instrument

The hyperbole around the iPhone platform has become hyperbolic itself, so I'll spare you the deconstruction of what is now an obvious conclusion: the iPhone has musical chops. The dizzying array of apps on the store has led to quite a few musical apps as well. It makes sense, as the multi-touch screen is a divine interface for manipulating sound.

Along with the dump truck of musical apps has come an even larger group of iPhone performers. I have yet to see impromptu drum circles made of iPhones, but you never know what the future will bring.

We begin our afternoon concert with Jordan Rudess demoing one of my favorite musical apps, Bebot. Take it away, Jordan!



I remember hearing music from the Hearts of Space on public radio as a kid, and this one reminds me of that show. In the video below the ethereal sounds are courtesy Bloom and ambient water noise by Koi Pond. I could see this music playing at a spa, although it's less musical than the first video. There are tons of ways to combine various audio apps, of course. How about a fart piano and Bebot? Or a vocoder app (there are several) and RjDj?



Speaking of RjDj, the video below features beatboxing and RjDj. There are three flavors of the app, each with a particular function, but the cool thing about RjDj is how it samples ambient noise and turns it into rhythmic music (of a sort). Beatboxing seems easier using this app...


What do you get when an iPhone and an iPod touch team up with Organist and the Band? Amazing Grace, apparently. The composition is a little CasioChord-ish, but fun to watch as one person coordinates separate parts. Both apps are by Moo Cow Music, who really have a thing for music on the iPhone.


You know what you need to really make an iPhone a piano? 3 iPhones! Here's iAno times three, showing off.



How about a little Metallica, courtesy Pocket Guitar:


I like the presentation of Fur Elise in the next video. The old film look adds to the ambiance, which is basically "my kitchen table." I'm not sure what app this is, unfortunately.


Using an app called Beatmaker with a pretty snazzy synth called a NeKo TSE by Open Labs. In this demo, you're able to upload from the iPhone to the NeKo TSE. Yep, noodle something on your iPhone, and dump it into a real machine when you get home. The future is now.



I would be remiss in excluding Smule. And here's one of my favorites from a contest they ran. It's the Jurassic Park theme song played using Ocarina... through the nose. Ew.

Here we have Jordan Rudess showing the app Ellatron (iTunes link), a fantastic trip down memory lane for anyone who remembers the Mellotron. I've been playing Ellatron for a while, and progressive updates have added a crazy amount of features. Filters, pitch, chords and extra banks of sounds generate an authentic sound make Ellatron a sweet-sounding app.

Finally, a bonus video -- this one went viral long ago but it's worth another look, as The Mentalists take on Kids by MGMT with a collection of iPhone instruments: Ocarina (iTunes link), Retro Synth (iTunes link), miniSynth (iTunes link) and DigiDrummer Lite.



I haven't shunned some of the other amazing music apps on the iPhone, like Cosmovox, Aura, Doppler Pad and Noise.io, but I'm interested in what gems you readers have found on the App Store or what performances on YouTube have blown you away. Leave 'em in the comments.

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