iEnsemble in UMac

With sixteen iPads, two audio mixers connected to three amplifiers, a group of CKYCollegians formed an ensemble that plays musical works ranging from Western Classical to Chinese folk. These music, that being practiced for a little more than two months, are excerpts from French composer Maurice Ravel’s orchestral work Boléro and a song on a poem excerpt from Cao Zhi’s (曹植) Luoshen Fu (洛神賦), that accompanies a modern adaption of Tang dynasty dance Jing Hong Wu (驚鴻舞). They were being performed in a charity event ‘Oxfam Musical Marathon’ and in a Graduation High Table Dinner last April.

Mobile applications that turn iPads into musical instruments create an innovative way to make music. More importantly, they give everybody a chance to become an orchestral player! Although they do not deliver the degree of nuance and subtlety that an acoustic instrument could have achieved, they are relatively easy for people to learn. It requires hours and hours of practice before you can play a decent passage from the Boléro on a violin. On iPads, it only takes thirty minutes for a music beginner to be able to experience what it is like to be a member of an orchestra! And play in tune in such a difficult and complex work of art! In the ensemble, each member has a role in shaping, contributing, and recreating the music as a team. They experience the joy of playing music together as a virtual orchestral player; They learn about musical concepts and theories; They explore the world of music that were being composed.

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