The Sound of SLOrk

Friday, August 14, 2009 - 11:01 PM

This week, Angela Frucci brings us the story of Ocarina, the iPhone app created by computer programmer Ge Wang that allows you 'play' your iPhone by blowing into its microphone (with pleasant, vaguely pan-pipe-like results). A YouTube search yields Ocarina performances of everything from 'Stairway to Heaven' to that favorite of high school choral directors 'Oh Shenandoah.' It's not hard to see why Ocarina's so popular -- this is cheery, melodic stuff.

Not so accessible is Ge's other foray into musical electronics, the musical laptop. Ge is the founder of the Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk for short). How exactly does one play a laptop? I have no idea. I did not find this explanatory diagram very helpful:

plork

SLOrk's sound is atonal, atmospheric, buzzy -- definately not 'Oh Shenandoah.' I'm not sure I like it, but I'm intrigued. Maybe it will grow on me?

Listen to PLOrk (the Princeton laptop orchestra) here.

Listen to Angela's piece on Ocarina: 

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