Keyboardist Jordan Rudess makes music with his iPod Touch’s help (Photo: Lance Iversen / The Chronicle)

After progressive metal band Dream Theater finished its hard-charging second song at the San Jose Civic Auditorium, the lights dimmed and three large monitors above the stage flashed to keyboardist Jordan Rudess’ fingers.

hey began sliding over the screen of a small black device, difficult to identify from the audience. The sounds that emerged fell somewhere between a slide guitar and a theremin, that standard eerie accompaniment when UFOs appear in movies, the pitch gliding up and down with his digits.

What Rudess was playing before 1,500 fans was the iPod Touch. Specifically, his fingers were artfully manipulating the sounds of Normalware’s Bebot application, which costs all of $1.99.

Among the tens of thousands of applications created for Apple Inc.’s iPod Touch and iPhone are more than 100 that transform the devices into music makers: synthesizers, guitars and drum machines that allow you to tap out rhythms and melodies, as well as trombones, flutes and ocarinas activated by blowing into the microphone.

Professional musicians are increasingly embracing the more sophisticated digital instruments, using them in live performances, DJ sets and recordings.


James Temple
SF Gate
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