Hyejo Seo – Looking Outwards – 10

Ge Wang’s Ted Talk on computer music

Ge Wang is a professor at Stanford Department of Music and a co-founder of ‘Smule’. As a professor at Stanford, he created different instruments for the Stanford Computer Orchestra, using programming language, Chuck, and game track. Game track was first commoditized for golf players as it is a device that tracks your hand gestures. After coding for different instruments, the orchestra members play these instruments using this device. It not only produces different sounds depending on how much you have pulled or the location of your hand (left or right), but it also promotes interactions just like the traditional instruments.

As a co-founder of Smule, Ge Wang created an app that would function as portable instruments. In his Ted talk, he demonstrates playing ocarina with this app. As he is blowing into the microphone of his phone and pushing different buttons on the screen, the app starts to make sound. The app has Chuck code – music programming language – that detects the strength of your blowing and synthesizing the sounds.

I decided to talk about this talk for several reasons. First, the fact that Stanford University has Computer Orchestra was really impressive. Students are able to learn and experience the future of music – exploring the interdisciplinary field of Computer Science and Music. Furthermore, I thought it was really interesting that Ge decided to keep the interaction between the people and their instruments. Overall, his works are innovative and pioneering.

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