App Music Seminar In Berlin

App Music, Mobile Music Making, Berlin Summer University of the Arts

Are you perhaps interested in mobile music making, like these cool kids?

The Berlin Summer University of the Arts is hosting an upcoming workshop that will explore ‘app music’ on a variety of mobile devices and platforms. Whether you’re already local or just dying to visit Berlin, this seminar offers a great chance to get tapping with your fellow touchscreen aficionado.

App Music: Mobile Music Making

With Matthias Krebs July 29th – August 2nd, 2013

For quite a while now, making music with apps on smartphones and tablets has been more than simply a novelty. Some excellent music apps offer innovative digital musical instruments to the users. The production of digital music has also started to change: These apps already allow the creation of remarkable musical results, as demonstrated by the first serious album productions (e.g. “The Fall” by Gorillaz) and professional stage performances (e.g. by Jordan Rudess or the DigiEnsemble Berlin).

The ’App Music’ seminar will be a composition and sound workshop in the form of an experimental laboratory; a creative space to explore music and make new discoveries. Participants will investigate perspectives and potential of “app music” through a collective ‘learning by doing’ approach. Enthusiasts, experts and interested parties from all backgrounds are therefore invited to participate in the collaborative investigation of and experimentation with new music, sound and performance. A range of different sounds and musical compositions will be developed in groups and discussed within the context of the workshop. Results of the interactive creative activities will be presented in a public performance at the c-base.

The workshop will begin with an overview of the different music apps, platforms, devices and interfaces. Project groups will organically develop performances, productions and/or composition pieces over the course of the following days. Additionally, a joint rehearsal with the musicians of the DigiEnsemble Berlin is planed. The (partial) results will be presented in the workshop by the end of the last day. The last two days will be used to prepare the final performance.

Possible open questions to be explored in the course of the workshop:

• Which musical forms, fields of application and performing practices can be shaped by music apps?

• What possibilities are offered by mobile sensor controlled devices (such as smartphones and tablets) for music production and for future use as musical instruments?

• Can you express emotion and meaning with mobile music apps?


The workshop is aimed at enthusiasts, musicians, sound artists and music technologists, but is fundamentally open to all who are attracted by making music with digital sensor controlled devices. This is a workshop for those who are seeking an interactive exchange with others with regard to new musical forms, new technology and innovative expressive methods of sound making, performance and collaboration. Interested parties of all disciplines are encouraged to participate; diverse and varied backgrounds often bring valuable eclectic elements into the collaborative mix.

The workshop is also relevant for composers and creative individuals (for instance from the field of marketing/media production), who are keen on creating film material and background music for media productions.

Participants may certainly play their own devices during the workshop, however a large and varied supply of additional devices, peripheral equipment and amplifiers will also be provided. All participants (veteran app-musicians included!) are encouraged to mix, match, integrate, collaborate and experiment with a multitude of devices during the course. One of the goals of the workshop is to make new discoveries and explore interesting new combinations of devices and apps.

Matthias Krebs is a professional app musician, physicist, opera singer and music educator. For many years now, he has also been active in theater production as a sound artist and composer. He founded the DigiEnsemble Berlin at the Berlin Career College in 2010. Today it is the first professional music ensemble that regularly performs mobile music on physical stages. Krebs also delves into the field of mobile music making in his blog as well as in several music article publications and his current dissertation. Additionally he has recently published a browsable online slideshow on “android as a music creation platform.” (

date: July 29th-August 2nd 2013

place: UdK Berlin, Bundesallee 1-12

fee: 400 € (from June 10th 2013: 420 €)

No. of participants: 12 to 15

language: English

application deadline: July 1st 2013

Online registration:

Website URL:

Ich Bin Ein Auslander: Discovering Berlin

10.12.12 On a train from Berlin to Paris20121018-151100.jpg

After three days of wandering the stony streets of Berlin, I am leaving with sore feet and the desire to learn German for the next time I return.

For all the things we managed to squeeze into our brief stint there, many more remain undiscovered. Although we didn’t make it to the Museum of Musical Instruments, or hear Beethoven played at the Philharmonic, or dance to EDM at one of Berlin’s famed S&M parties, we did manage to visit a couple of musically relevant sites.

Upon arrival, we decided to beat our jet lag by powering through a second day without sleep. After a large latte macchiato (one of so many) we hopped on the subway to Kreutzberg, Berlin’s answer to NY’s East Village or Brooklyn. Located only steps from the Kotbusser Tor stop is Schneidersladen, a synthesizer museum and repair shop. Here you can sample a handful of boutique analog synths, sequencers, drum machines, and filters, all hooked up to a rack of headphones. You could get lost for hours in gooey analog knob twiddling trips, if time permitted.




Around the corner, on Oranienstrasse, is a cool little music shop. Inside the innocuously named Central Music lives some truly killer rare gear, including a few old vintage tube radios repurposed as guitar amps by the friendly and quite knowledgable staff. I got to try an old Dearmond (fitted with humbuckers), a silver sparkle Ibanez Jet King with P90’s, and a fuzz pedal so boutique, I was told it was only the 26th of its kind in existence. The Sunnmachine Fuzz O))) delivers some nice dirt, which gets hairier at lower frequencies (great for detuners such as myself). It also offers a low pass filter and three different tone modes which feed different levels of low end into the circuit. Of course I found ‘Ultra Evil’ most fitting for my doom riffs.