What Does it Mean to Be an Electronic Instrument?

The electronic music analog to visual media’s question “is it art?” is clear. “Is it really a musical instrument?” Ableton will this week officially launch its Push hardware with Live 9; we’ll have an online exclusive review alongside that release. I know that the company is fond of calling it an “instrument.” For a profile […]

Guitar Innovation, Then And Now: Paul Vo Reinvents Fretless, Acoustic Guitars [Videos]

Imagine any acoustic instrument able to act as a synth, and you begin to appreciate the potential instrumental pioneer Paul Vo may be about to unlock. As we reported last month, music-technological innovation can absolutely involve guitars, not just synths with keyboards. So, it’s fitting that we tun now to a lover of keyboards and […]

Six 3D-Printed Musical Instruments, and What 3D Printing Could Do for Musicians

3D printing has quickly risen to buzzword, from a technology initially of interest primarily to hobbyists to one that is catching mainstream business and consumer attention. But the actual substance continues to catch up with potential and expectations. Here are six examples of musical instruments that have taken on 3D printing as a challenge. They […]

Video: Multi-Touch Soundplane Meets KYMA in Resonating Digital Instrument

Resonations from bar|none on Vimeo. Digital instruments have the extraordinary potential to sound like anything – really, absolutely anything. Delivering on that potential, though, is another matter, a complex dance between physical input and sonic output. The Soundplane from Madrona is unique in that it provides highly-precise touch input across not one but three dimensions […]

Credit Cards, Turned Into Musical Instruments, Sound Pretty Freaking Amazing [Video]

What sort of musical instruments can you make out of plastic credit cards? You might imagine results are limited. But with some clever use of mics, and brilliantly-simple application of time-tested ideas ranging from single-string monochords to music boxes, the results are eminently, wondrously sonorous. And the project benefits greatly from having some compositional intent […]

AlphaSphere, Spherical Music Controller, Becomes A Messe Favorite; Keyboard Mag Video Hands-on

Music trade shows are typically full of sensible and useful instruments. They may not always represent something revolutionary, but people find homes for them in their musical lives. Of course, the world’s fair futurist in us may want something really different. It was a real treat to get my hands on the AlphaSphere, a UK-engineered […]

More Multi-Touch Keyboard Playing

As an addendum to yesterday’s teaser of the Evolution multi-touch keyboard, readers send along a couple of other examples. Andrew McPherson has a terrific example of an add-on, multi-touch, capacitive surface that can go on any keyboard (so, basically the same idea). Description: This video demonstrates a set of capacitive touch sensing piano key tops […]

A New Instrument, in Practice: Eigenharp Players Build a New Musical Tradition (Videos)

A look at the keys of a new instrument, now embraced as such by a community of players. Alpha image (CC-BY) Ross Elliott. Amidst the general-purpose computing platforms (laptop, iPad), and latest iterations of the conventional synthesizer (keyboard, knobs), the quest to build something genuinely specific, self-contained, and unique drives on. These creations are strange […]

Expressive Soundplane Touch Instrument: Decibel Video, Preorder, Tour, Images

Touch on devices like the iPad is functional, but limited in its expression – there’s no pressure or tactile feedback. That’s why we’ve enthusiastically followed Randy Jones’ “continuous capacitive sensing” technology on the Soundplane for some time. Sensing pressure, it behaves more like an acoustic instrument might – that is, if such an acoustic instrument […]

Open Source Multitouch Continuum-Style Controller, in Action

Cyril Stoller shares this project, for a variety of multitouch devices (Mac / Windows / Linux / Android, screens and projection) through the also-free-and-open-source Kivy framework. It’s inspired by the brilliant Haken Continuum fingerboard, but whereas that more tactile controller is hard to get, this runs cheaply all over the place. (It could also be […]