The Apple iPhone has many applications but one new one is especially new age. It's called Ocarina, named after the ancient clay wind instrument.
Here is how it works: Once you install and open this program, your iPhone's screen displays four colored circles of different sizes. These are the "holes" that you cover with your fingers, as you would the holes on a flute. Then you blow into the microphone hole at the bottom of the iPhone, and presto: the haunting, expressive, beautiful sound of a wind instrument comes from the iPhone speaker. Different combinations of fingers on those four "holes" produce the different notes of the scale. (You can change the key in Preferences--a first on a cellphone.) Tilting the phone up or down controls the vibrato.
You can check out the software company's Web site, Smule.com, for extra bits of information including sheet-music pages that show you how to play well-known songs on Ocarina.
It appears to be an amazing app that has many unique features. If you tap the little globe at the bottom of the screen, the screen changes to a map of the world--and you start hearing the Ocarina performance of one person, in one city (indicated by animated sound waves on the map), who's playing the thing *right now*. Sometimes it's the halting fumbles of a rank beginner; sometimes it's a lovely melody played by someone who's got the hang of it. You can hit a Next button to tune in to another stranger, and another, all around the world.
It's a brain-frying experience to know that you're listening to someone else playing Ocarina, right now, in real time, somewhere else on the planet. (And then you realize that someone, somewhere might be listening to *you*!) It creates a world wide musical experience.
Bravo Apple, Smule and Ocarina!!
To help you make music, here's a songbook: 101 Songs for the Ocarina. If you don't have an iPhone you can still have fun with this "real" 12 Hole Ocarina From Legend of Zelda .