In "Cellphone software allows a musical jam," the New Scientist writes that English engineers have found a way for groups of people to collectively create music using their cellphones.
The idea is the brainchild of computer interactivity expert Nick Bryan-Kinns and his colleagues at Queen Mary College (QMC). They have developed software that let will groups of people phone into a mobile number and work together to improvise short, looping tunes.
Their Java-based software, called daisyphone, looks like a floral join-the-dots puzzle (see below). Unlike a musical stave's horizontal sequence of notes, the daisy's circular design "reinforces the looping nature of the music," says Bryan-Kinns.
Here is a screen capture of the creation of some school kids after using the software(Credit: Nick Bryan-Kinns group).
The tempo is set by the speed at which a 'radar arm' rotates around the daisy. As the arm passes over coloured shapes placed on the dotted petals, musical sound samples -- such as piano, flute or snare drum -- are played.
Each of four instruments is represented by a different shape, while colour indicates who placed it. Distance from the centre of the daisy indicates pitch and ranges over a couple of octaves. All users can alter anybody else's work.
In tests with both adults and teenage users the QMC team found that even people with no musical knowledge can create tunes collaboratively using daisyphone.
Here are some links to the daisyphone tool and the research behind.
You can even try daisyphone by yourself (providing you have Java 1.4.1). I certainly hope you'll be better than myself.
Now, it remains to be seen if a cellphone operator is interested enough to make daisyphone available as a Java applet.
Sources: Paul Marks, New Scientist, October 24, 2003; Daisyphone Project website
2:06:20 PM Permalink