Tag Archives: mocca





This is a contest hosted by Smule community group the SmuleNesians.  Join a duet with Mocca and you could win an opportunity to perform ON STAGE with Mocca at a SmuleNesians gig in Janurary!


November 21st – December 19th

How to enter:

  1. Sing with Mocca on Smule before December 19th
  2. Afterwards, participants need to fill out this form: www.bit.ly/MoccaSingingContest


There will be 1 Winner and 9 Runner Ups. The Winner will be flown to Jakarta, Indonesia and get a chance to sing with Mocca on stage at the next SmuleNesians gig (hopefully at the end of January 2016). Runner Ups will get Mocca’s newest CD album and probably some other swag from Mocca and SmuleNesians.

How will it be judged: 

The judges will include Mocca’s personnel and some SmuleNesians representatives. The results will be announced on Jan 16th, 2016.


Smackathon Winner: Smule Drums – Best Vision

Smackathon Winner: Smule Drums – Best Vision

The inspiration for “Drums” arose mostly from a desire to build it as the next Smule app.  Anyone whose ever enjoyed dancing or tapping their fingers along with the beat will appreciate the pleasure of moving to the beat.  It just seemed like the next logical addition to the Smule portfolio.

Design principles:

1) Be simple and intuitive so that anyone can play
2) Sound good–even for users with no musical experience
3) Enable and encourage expression
4) Allow collaboration with other users to enhance and create songs

Read on to hear what we came up with.

After percolating on these ideas, we eventually settled on three core game mechanics:

  1. TAP – Tapping on the screen will trigger a drum sound.  This creates a simple, intuitive hand-drumming interface.  It’s pretty standard stuff, and even your Mom can figure out in a couple seconds.
  2. HOLD – Holding down a finger will cause a drum loop to start playing in perfect time to the music.  Hold down two fingers, and you’ll hear two loops matched together. For example, one loop is playing the kick drum, and one loop is the snare.
  3. SWIPE – Swiping a finger will trigger a drum “roll” or “fill,”perfectly in time with the music.  The swipe is a simple, dramatic gesture, and so it seemed naturally suited to triggering a dramatic music event like this.

Even if you have no rhythmical TAPPING ability, you can use the loops and fills to be expressive and musical just by changing which loops you’re playing.

We added “guide notes” (similar to Guitar Hero) to help suggest when the player might want to play certain drums, but they are just suggestions. This video gives a sample of what it looks like:

In the demo song here, we used a sound-alike backing track for “Call Me Maybe”, but this can just as easily be any backing track from Sing! or shared performances from Sing!, Guitar! or Magic Piano.

Nuts and Bolts:

From our experience using Java Native Interface, or JNI, and OpenGL we knew they performed well. However, development times with these technologies are much slower, sometimes painfully so.  Because of this we decided to minimize our usage of JNI and OpenGL to enable faster prototyping, and to discover exactly what performance bottlenecks we would encounter with the Android framework.  This has the added bonus of helping to inform our future Android development efforts.

Indeed, we did have issues with frame rate on some devices, even with our simple graphics. More importantly, we ran into problems with touch latency. Because by nature drums are a very “timing critical” instrument, excessive touch latency is harmful to the experience when attempting to play fast or complex drum parts.  Fortunately, we can still create a satisfying musical drum experience with simpler, yet challenging, drum parts. Hard-core “digital drummers” looking for an intense experience on mobile will have to wait for hardware to improve. <sad panda>

Looking forward:

The proof of concept was successful, and gave us valuable feedback on how to move ahead without getting tripped up by hardware limitations. Thanks for reading!

– Jon Moldover, Smule Software Engineer and Client Lead

Team Drums: Amanda Chaudhary, Devin Smith, David Young, Jon Moldover, Nicole Borrelli, Oscar Corral, Randal Leistikow and Yana Kunitskaya. Special thanks to Anthony Urso, Turner Kirk and Nick Kruge.


Smackathon Winner: Chuck Teaches Singing – Most Polished Hack*

Smackathon Winner: Chuck Teaches Singing – Most Polished Hack*

Nothing in this world terrifies me more than singing. Not ghosts, not terrorism and not even public speaking. Singing, by far, takes the cake.

For Smule’s Annual Smackathon, Xi Xiang, Hanna Beaton, Oscar Corral and myself – all designers and non-singers – decided to take on the task of learning to sing and make it as disarming and playful as possible. Our vehicle would be a nostalgic side-scrolling adventure in the spirit of “Mario Teaches Typing.”

Read on to see what we came up with!

We started with a similar concept to “Flappy Bird,” where a player’s vocal pitch could navigate obstacles, but decided that matching specific tones would be a better exercise for non-singers as well as singers in need of a warm up. The game needed a star, so we picked Chuck, another Smulean who happened to be out of the office and, therefore, couldn’t veto the idea. As an homage to Donkey Kong, the game’s objective would be to evade rolling barrels. And so, “Chuck Teaches Singing” was born.

The entire game was designed in darling 8-bit graphics, set in a fictional (but San Francisco-like) city and packed with inside jokes that wouldn’t be funny any more if we explained them. Really, you had to be there.

As you help Chuck jump over barrels by singing along, you trace through a song inspired by Rocky’s Gonna Fly Now. It’s pretty rad. We put it on the Web to make it easy to set up and share.

There was just one problem: none of us were skilled enough singers to successfully demo it for the team beyond just a few notes. Fortunately, Smule is brimming with musical tallent and the demo ended with the entire office singing along, successfully guiding Chuck past quite a few obstacles. Unfortunately, it eventually got too hard and Chuck stumbled on a barrel.

Our humble game received the award for the Most Polished project, which goes to show what happens when four designers team up in a hackathon. (We were actually aiming for “Most Brilliant Hack, To the Point of Moving Grown Men to Tears and Stirring Up Religious Feelings in the Hearts of The Most Hardened Individuals” but were told afterwards that particular award didn’t exist.)

Play it for yourself here. It works best in Chrome and when you use head phones. There’s a special prize for whoever can beat Chuck’s score!

– Ben Hersh, Smule Product Designer

Team Chuck Teaches Singing: Ben Hersh, Hanna Beaton, Xi Xiang, Oscar Corral

* Editor’s Note: If we had a prize entitled “Most Brilliant Hack, To the Point of Moving Grown Men to Tears and Stirring Up Religious Feelings in the Hearts of The Most Hardened Individuals” this project would certainly have been a top candidate. Alas, “Most Polished Hack” was the 


The #iRigVoice Challenge – Contest Announcement

The #iRigVoice Challenge – Contest Announcement

The iRig mic is the mic of choice for many of our members within the Sing! Community. To help our users better express themselves musically, and to celebrate the wonderful talent within the Smule Sing! Community, we’re collaborating with IK Multimedia, the makers of the iRig mic to bring you the “iRig Voice Challenge”! We want to hear your voice through an original song performed either through the song book, or the open mic.

The contest will run from 7/18/14 to 8/6/14. Download Sing Karaoke here.

How To Enter

1. In Sing! Karaoke, choose a song from the songbook and sing your own lyrics, or create an open mic performance with your own lyrics (bonus points if you can incorporate Smule and iRig Voice into your lyrics).

2. Include the hashtag #iRigVoice in your song description and save the performance.

3. Smule and IK Multimedia will judge the performances based on creative merit and handpick a grand prize winner and runner-ups.


1. Grand prize: 1 grand prize entry will be selected to receive an iLoud Portable Bluetooth Speaker, an iKlip product of their choice, a Smule T-shirt personally signed by the Smule Team, an iRig Voice signed by the IK Multimedia team, a 1-year subscription to Smule Pass in Sing! Karaoke, a featured spot on the app, and a blog post written about them on blog.smule.com.

2. Runner-up prizes: 20 contest entries will be selected to receive a new iRig Voice Mic (it comes in all colors of the rainbow!) and a featured spot in the Smule Picks playlist on Smule.com as well as within the Sing! app.

Feel free to share your performance on Social Networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The world should hear your creativity!

Happy Singing!


Official Contest Rules


Smackathon Winner: Smashup – Best Use of Content

Smackathon Winner: Smashup – Best Use of Content

Our Smackathon project was an iPad app called “Smashup”. It is a playful way to create mashups from Sing! performances. Instead of an intimidating DJ style interface, Smashup lets you explore the possibility space between two songs by simply rolling a cube around the screen. Moving quickly creates cuts between the songs, but rocking the cube on one of its sides creates a controllable crossfade.

The app provides cues to help you: the background color is taken from the album cover for the active music track, and the cube’s color comes from the album cover for the active vocals. These two indicators change in real time. Of course, you can add effects to the song: drag the “House” or “Wub” icons up the screen for a different style of buildup and drop. Here’s a video we created to show you how Smashup works:

Smashup was an experiment. It wasn’t about giving you total control of the mix like in DJ software or a DAW, but instead letting you explore unlikely juxtapositions of songs, and to find places where two songs lined up in unexpected and interesting ways.  The intuitive interface makes the app infinitely more approachable to users who lack professional training or experience.

– Joel Davis, Senior Software Engineer

Team Smashup: Joel Davis, Ian Siparsky


Sing on the Bus – Winner: Best Audio

Sing on the Bus – Winner: Best Audio

Today, we peel back the curtains to give you a glimpse of our wild and slightly out of control Smackathon event, where Smule’s designers, developers and engineers spend 48 hours building something completely new. We’ve already shared two of these projects with you in previous days – Smuush and Smule Fabric. In this post, we’re excited to a third, Sing on the Bus, which won our Best Audio award.

Here’s how it works. Normally, you sing with your voice. There are times, however, when singing with your voice is socially inappropriate, like on the bus or at the library.

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could plug in your headphones and sing without disturbing anyone? I hacked our Sing! Karaoke app to allow finger-singing, where you sing with your finger instead of your voice.

Read on to learn how.

Sing on the Bus is very simple. In a way, it’s merely a “hack” with two parts:

1) The app already makes use of pitch correction with certain vocal effects, but normally it corrects your pitch to the nearest scale note of the key you’re singing in. Instead, I wired it up so that you control the target pitch with your finger via the touch screen.

2) Instead of using the microphone to capture your vocals, I play back an existing performance of the same song by another Sing! Karaoke user. So you use your finger to control the pitch of another singer. And that’s it!

The video below shows a demo.

It’s almost embarrassingly simple, but fun and satisfying. You can try to “sing” the proper melody notes. You can throw in some simple flourishes. You can add (or remove) vibrato. You can totally change the melody, or just go nuts and do crazy pitch sweeps. And if you put on headphones, you can do all of that on the bus.

– Ian Simon, Smule Data and Audio Nerd