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Friday, September 3, 2010

Video: Is the iPad an Amazing Musical Instrument, or a Tool of 'Orchestral Destruction'?

Posted By on Fri, Sep 3, 2010 at 11:18 AM

There are many amazing uses for an iPad. Among the device's potentially revolutionary applications, as I wrote back in April, are those related to making music. As several musicians told me, having a 9.7-inch multi-touch screen attached to a fast computer with an audio output opens up a crazy universe of possibilities. Case in point: this video, in which an "iPad Orchestra" performs "Sweet Dream," a piece written by Ilya Plavunov, on an app called Seline HD while wearing T-shirts indicating which "real" instrument's part each musician is playing.

Digital Music News frowned on this video, calling the iPad an instrument of "mass orchestral destruction," and the performance "a geeky iPad frolic." TechCrunch wasn't too stoked on it, either. And those writers may have a point -- watching a bunch of people tap an iPad is nothing like watching a capable chamber ensemble or a full orchestra perform. Having the iPad simply replicate the part of a real instrument -- cheeky T-shirts or no -- is about the most conventional use of it imaginable. But iPad music-making is in its infancy. If this video doesn't show what the iPad may eventually be capable of musically, it at least gives us a starting point.

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Ian S. Port

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