The relationship between cellphones and music has almost always been a quirky one, producing bouts
of the surreal
punctuated by an occasional flourish of the sublime
. Latest to join the melodic fray are Georg Essl from the University of Michigan and his "mobile phone ensemble." Each of the participating students has designed a noise-making app for his or her iPhone, which is used in conjunction with the built-in accelerometer and touchscreen to make (hopefully beautiful) music. Though we may consider this a gimmick for now, Professor Essl is most enthusiastic about the future prospects of utilizing smartphones to make music with legitimate aspirations. The debut performance of this newfangled orchestra is on December 9, or you can check out a preview in the video after the break.