Another Instrument from Smule

One of the featured apps in Apple’s iPhone 3.0 release announcement this past March was Smule’s Leaf Trombone, their second music app (see my review of Ocarina in the Spring 2009 issue of iPhone Life) that leverages both the iPhone’s touch screen and “peer to peer” capabilities of the iPhone. It’s very cool. . .

The interface for playing is simple and straightforward. There’s a “slide” in the shape of a leaf that’s very responsive and fully chromatic with two arrow buttons for transposing up or down in octaves. To help achieve pitch accuracy, diatonic pitches are marked and animate when the slide is directly aligned. You can either blow into the iPhone’s microphone (or I assume with an add-on mic for the iPod Touch) or set to play on touch alone. There are settings for the key and sensitivity too.

Again Smule goes beyond simply playing a cool instrument by leveraging two social networking capabilities of the iPhone, playing duets by pairing two phones in close proximity of each other and their World Stage which allows you to play either the role of performer or judge. As I understand it, to be a performer requires spending “leaves” that you earn by judging others. This seems like an equitable way to fill the need for judges and give performers opportunities to play for others.

<p class="authorbio"><a href="file:///D:/files/2009Feb/Marcjacoby.jpg"><img alt="Marc Jacoby" hspace="4" width="150" align="left" border="0" src="/files/2009Feb/Thumbs/Marcjacoby.jpg" /></a>Marc Jacoby is an Assistant Professor of Music at West Chester University of Pennsylvania where he teaches in the Music Education and Applied Music programs. He is also a Flash and Director developer of music education software and games, a certified Apple Pro Apps Trainer, and treasurer and an instructor for TI:ME (The Technology Institute for Music Educators). You can contact Marc at</p>