I have been holding off on buying the Ocarina application the iPhone despite it’s rise to the number one application as I couldn’t get myself to spend the 99 cents for an unknown application. After seeing Mike Arrington’s post on it this afternoon, I had to download it. The application is spectacular in that it enables users to play any song in any tone and has all of the features of a standard wind instrument (aside of course the lack of a place for air to exit to increase reverberations).
I downloaded the application and suddenly got sucked into one hour of playing my Ocarina on the iPhone, trying to play Simon and Garfunkel toons. If I had a recorder with sheet music next to me, I probably would have tried that as well, but unfortunately I didn’t. As I just alluded to, the Smule Ocarina website has tons of user submitted sheet music that you can follow. There’s also a pretty amazing social aspect of the application.
You can click on the world icon and suddenly you will be flown around a 3D representation of the globe to listen to users playing their Ocarina live. If you like it, you click on the heart and that user receives points for you liking them. It then becomes a game in which you race to become the most liked user on the application. The live component is both visually and functionally impressive.
It’s hard to imagine using the Ocarina as your everyday musical instrument, but I could see a cult following begin to spring up. There already is YouTube videos popping up with random people playing the instrument. Some are good and others are better. The video I’ve embedded below is of a girl playing the “Song of Storms” from Zelda, the video game.
The video is pretty impressive considering that she also pre-recorded the background music for the song on her piano. She is clearly multi-talented. If you are into playing music, this application is a must have. Go grab Ocarina in the iTunes store and let us know your thoughts. It’s well worth the 99 cents.