eigenzone.org : Eigenharp Alpha Unboxing from Geert Bevin on Vimeo.

Eigenharp Alpha Experiment 20100624 from Geert Bevin on Vimeo.

A genuinely new instrument isn’t something you can expect to simply pick up and judge. Part of what makes music so addictive, so satisfying, is the amount of time and energy we put in. One would expect the same of new digital instruments.

And so, we’re fortunate that musician Geert Bevin is giving the Eigenharp, a new digital instrument combining touch-based, real depth and attention. The Eigenharp itself is a strange animal, with a crooked wind input and larger model form factor inspired by the bassoon, plus wind-style keys coupled with a fretted touch surface. Geert has followed the invention since its introduction, and shares an in-depth discussion of what it’s like playing the flagship Alpha instrument after three months of use.

EigenZone: Eigenharp Alpha Review

Of course, as with any instrument, different players will discover different techniques and have, well, different musical ideas. So Geert has also co-founded an Eigenharp video group on Vimeo, on which users share their experience.

Don’t judge these tracks as polished, finished, perfect performances. In fact, on the contrary, what makes these videos useful is that, just like inviting a friend into your living room, you get to experience the music in progress. The artists are sharing their process of learning the instrument and finding musical ideas. (And Geert, I hope you forgive me for posting the video, but I got a lot out of it!)

For instance, here’s bar|none (see also his blog) trying a live jam:

Rainy Day from bar|none on Vimeo.

I wanted to know more about how Geert came to discover the instrument and what his approach was to it. He kindly shared still more insight with CDM:

Maybe my approach and discovery of the Eigenharp is a bit different than others, let me explain.

I had traditional music training in my childhood and learned to play the classical guitar and a bit of piano. Being an early computer geek, I tried to use my Amiga and a Yamaha YS-100 back in the day for music but never really felt comfortable with sequencing and the DSP capabilities back then. So I shifted gears and went full on towards being a singer-songwriter, learning to play the steel-string guitar and got vocal training. I gigged a lot back then and did a lot of busking also. I took some years of Jazz training on a basic electric guitar but realized that all that theory actually removed much of my spontaneity, so I stopped that, tried to forget much of the patterns I learned and which was quite easily done since I had already been using open-tunings a lot for my own compositions. I really focused on getting an atmosphere and a feeling out, either through music or through vocals or both, more blues and traditional folk song oriented, looking for expression more than for virtuosity. Then I recorded my CD in auto-production, too soon for this kind of thing and the music industry here in Belgium wasn’t very accepting of it, hence not even wanting to distribute my CD, even though it was produced by one of the biggest Belgian producers and I got a lot of well known musicians to play on it also. That got me to really ‘fall into a chasm’ and I kinda give up on music out of disappointment. I started my family and focused on being creative as a software engineer, building out that career for 7 years, mostly not playing music anymore.

Two years ago, I randomly picked up my acoustic guitar again and the songs started flowing out of me. I felt the need to start a band and my girlfriend (who’s a very good singer) joined me in on that. Within 6 months we had a full repertoire and started gigging quite regularly. For my band Flytecase, I moved on to the electric guitar since I discovered one that I loved: a Godin LGXT, with great magnetic pickups, a piezo pickup and MIDI out (none of the standard Fenders or Gibsons ever did it for me). Never really having liked playing an electric guitar before, I didn’t have any gear for it. So I decided to go virtual all the way. I bought a Metric Halo audio interface and created my whole performance setup with Plogue Bidule on my Mac, the built-in Metric Halo guitar amp simulations, Guitar Rig, Studiodevil and a bunch of AU effects. I also started using more and more of the MIDI capabilities of my guitar with Kontakt and Omnisphere, blending the real guitar and soft synth sounds together. The latter of course was never really expressive due to the latency of the MIDI tracking and the clean precision that was mandatory in my playing to avoid wrong detection of MIDI notes. I could however feel a great attraction towards the software instruments since they sound so authentic now.

This is when I saw a tweet about the Eigenharp’s release in November of last year. It lured me in, I felt too attracted to this instrument that promised the same expression and physical interaction as a real guitar … but with software instruments! So, I ordered a Pico, got mine mid November and fell in love. It inspired me to write a bunch of songs (which are all online on my YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/gbevin) and it allowed me to treat the digital world with the same intimate passion as I did the real music instrument world. However, instead of being limited to one sound of my instrument, I was now able to venture into pretty much any direction I wanted. So I tried some classical, instrumental, jazz, … it all just felt right for me, but I couldn’t try it out before. I got into close contact with the guys at Eigenlabs since I wanted to know more of the details and internals, went to the first Pico meet-up in London and got to try out an Alpha. I liked it, but I also feared it. The Alpha is clearly different than the Pico, you don’t just pick it up and play it, its size and amount of keys requires real training. Even holding it is initially a challenge, let alone figuring out where to place your hands. I offered Eigenlabs to write a detailed review from my musician perspective after having learned to play the Alpha for a few months. They agreed and loaned me one of their final prototype Alphas, which I played daily for three months … and then I wrote the review.

My approach is different I think in that I don’t focus on learning to play the Alpha with its built-in step sequencer or looping engine. I want to be able to play whole songs in real time, just as I did with the guitar, ie. being a singer-songwriter first. I’ll probably move on to using the other features in time, but the Alpha allows so much expressiveness through its keys, that it feels a shame to loop things ’round and ’round, just as every note when you play the Eigenharp is different, it feels natural to me that every time a sequence is played, it is also expressed differently, hence no looping. As you can imagine, that’s quite a challenge since it means that I have to be comfortable enough to fill of an arrangement by playing chords, leads and/or rhythm in real time, without making mistakes … eventually while singing also :-)

That’s why I haven’t recorded many videos with the Alpha yet, I don’t feel I’m there yet. The video I put on Vimeo is not really for ‘the public’. We’re a bunch of Eigenharp Alpha player on Twitter than like to exchange our findings (since there’s no training or teachers), so that video is more to give them an idea of what I was working on two days ago than to show something to a wider audience (hence also Vimeo and not YouTube). I’m afraid that if you add that vid to the post it will be judged as a finished work, while it’s just something I was experimenting with at that time :-)

Perhaps more important than any of the particulars of the review, he notes that it’s that feeling of losing oneself that really makes this an instrument – and in a way that raises questions about what makes instruments most satisfying:

One aspect that I like to much about the Eigenharp is that you can get lost in it in the same way as I get lost when playing in open tunings on the guitar. You theoretically have no clue what you’re doing since all your reference points are gone, but due to the tuning, things sound good. Since the Eigenharp can be set up to play any scale in any key at the press of a button, you don’t play any ‘wrong notes’ anymore, just ‘less appropriate’ ones. I find that this on one hand limits me since I can’t play out of scale notes anymore. However, as is often the case, limitation fuels creativity since the bounds are clearly established and these are then boundaries in which you can fully express yourself. I find that I’m much more comfortable with improvising and experimenting since I’m not worried about actually playing the right key or scale, I’m just relying on my instinct and intuition to get to the notes I want to express. Of course, you can also play it fully chromatically if that’s your preference :-)

Cool and unique as the instrument is, I do find myself wondering if I couldn’t have similar experiences on a keyboard with expression controls. Of course, that’s because I’m a keyboardist by nature; a flute player might get ideas from a Tuvan throat singer and try them out on the flute.

So, anticipating what some people might say in comments – could you try similar explorations on something like, say, a $500 iPad? You lose a lot of the precision, the comfortable form factor, and pressure sensitivity for expression. But new iPad applications are trying some of the same ideas in regards to “no-wrong-notes” tuning and exploration. (Hey, it’s not a new idea – acoustic instruments have done this since the dawn of time – but it’s an idea that can continue to pay off.)

Sure enough, Geert has been playing with Jordan RudessMorphWiz app. Have a look and judge for yourself:

MorphWiz first experiment – Tiridum from Geert Bevin on Vimeo.

Be sure to read Geert’s complete review. And if you’re using an Eigenharp yourself, we’d love to hear your thoughts and see your videos – or those on other instruments, as well.

  • http://www.eigenzone.org Geert Bevin

    Thanks a lot for this entry Peter. It feels a bit weird to step into the world without mastering what I'm playing, I've always done quite the opposite. However, as you and others nicely put it, with these new instruments there's obviously a lot of value to see first-hand how everyone is evolving in their apprenticeship. So the hesitant playing, mistakes and improvements over time will be valuable information for those interested.

    Me too I'm interested how other musicians are adopting these new instruments. There are a few out there new, with more coming out each month.

  • bar|none

    Thx Peter, I really didn't expect to see this on CDM so it was a nice surprise this morning. Like Geert a bit embarrassed at the quality of my video performance, but that is OK. One of the reasons for doing it is to show an honest slice of what it's like to learn to play this thing. It does take time, but does that make it any less rewarding? I really enjoy this instrument. The other aspect of the Alpha is its fine craftsmanship. I came from guitar as well and a finely made guitar is something you can really bond with. It's so hard these days to get that sense sitting down with a computer or a plastic beat box. Maybe it's generational? I don't know.

  • dyscode

    For me pioneering is more important than dead expertise. ;)
    I experienced the Eigenharp at Musikmesse and this is such a evolutionary instrument.
    it ‘plays’ with the paradigms of mechanical instruments in very interesting ways.

    As for the bonding with an instrument:
    I played Flute (alt), Piano and (Classic)Guitar
    in my youth and could never bond to any of them. They always felt so ‘bourgeois’.

    Then I touched my first computer with a tracker, also in my still youth and the world was never the same anymore. This was something my (proper) parent couldn´t understand, no damn classical music teacher to constrain my expression, this was where I could explore myself working with and around the limited engines. And this feeling is still with me today every time I use a certain software or computer.
    And I don´t think it´s explicitly generational, either. It`s about how much you question your positivism about what an ‘instrument’ is.

    This happened again with the iPhone Touch-technologie and I really could imagine it would happen with an Eigenharp.

    so Cheers! :)

  • Diamantee

    Peter, reading CDM I've many times appreciated how you reminded ideas and good music are what we really should struggle for.

    I feel like all this research sometime is pointed to self entertaining with some note of hardware feticism.. Don't get me wrong.. I'm geeking with music toys by years too.. Just my reaction to this specific post.. friendly talking.. And sharing a reminding for myself that innovative sound should be the only and true outcome of research..

    And thank you Peter, You do a great job, a daily pil of inspiration..

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Diamantee: Sure, point taken and appreciated. A couple of observations, though. First, the reason people are shooting unboxing videos faster than instrumental demos isn't fetishism — it's that the former don't require that they take months practicing the instrument. What I heard from both folks hear (as you see in comments) is that they were shy about sharing music. So in that way, it's always easier to share the tech than it is the output. It's also typically less controversial, because the moment you play a note, you enter the unforgiving world of musical taste, whether that's fair or not.

    Also, fetishism is not a new phenomenon, nor does it exclude musical output. Gamba builders carved exquisite faces onto their instruments. Keyboard instruments were built into luxury furniture. Instruments have been plated with gold, and seen historically in some cultures as containing otherworldly spirits or being connected to gods. (Now *that* was fetishism.)

    I would think in this case that people needed to have a fair bit of belief in the hardware to invest a larger sum of money.

    None of this is to take away from your point. But my question is, are these things mutually exclusive? (Maybe at some point they are, but then, where's that point?)

  • http://www.eigenzone.org Geert Bevin

    Another reason for the unboxing videos is that it gives another piece of crucial information before buying an item. I personally like to see an unboxing video first to get an idea of the general care that's taken, how the buyer perceives the shipment and packaging, etc etc

    Since these instruments can't be seen in stores yet, that's often the only possibility you have to see something for real before buying it.

    … and Peter is right, it's much easier to show the hardware than it is to do a demo playing on it. :-)

  • David

    Excuse my disrespect, I initially did think the Eigenharp was an instrument, but the more I read from people that have hands-on experience (and they all love it), the more it's starting to look like just a controller to me. The world's most expressive controller, but a controller nonetheless.

    Nothing you can do so far on this device is really recognizable as coming from an Eigenharp, unless you include video. I'd love to think of it as an instrument, but the more I look (and listen) the less I see (and hear) it. It offers very unique ways to control instruments/sample libraries, but none of the ones included could be considered 'new' or 'ground breaking', and if I imagine what I would like to do with it, they're all typical things I'd do with a controller. Like play Ableton's Operator with it. Or Omnisphere. Imagine how awesome.

    But then I'd run into the brick wall that all I can feed these intruments is good old midi, so I lose the whole benefit of the… controller. I'm going shopping with a Ferrari.

    The thing is, as a controller, it speaks a language nobody currently understands, and as an instrument, it's not making any sound that could be described as new or revolutionary in any way. Yes, yes, the expressiveness, I get it. But how much of that is really needed when you're basically just 'faking' a chello? Does anybody care? Because it still ain't a chello and frankly what I've heard didn't sound better than a decent chello played by a keyboardist. With something like Operator or Omnisphere however, you could really go to town, and make sounds right there on stage that would take an hour of midi parameter programming and sidechaining otherwise. *That* would be an instrument.

    Sure, great things may come when/if they find a way to make all those controller nuances available to my software, but right now, at the speed things seem to be going, I feel that's a bit of an expensive gamble.

  • http://www.perboysen.com Per Boysen

    Thank you, Geert, for the excellent explanation of the Eigenharp! A while back I was toying with the idea to expand my instrument playing with an Alpha but ended up deciding to go with a Chapman Stick instead. My reason for that was that I want to expand the playing experience into more multitasking and "instant composing" (the Stick offers all notes instantly accessible so you can do out-of-key stuff on the fly, and I already have a good EWI for playing in-the-box electronic). I guess you can set up the Alpha in a "button board split" to play different instruments with both hands? I'd love to pick one up if I could afford it.

  • http://www.eigenzone.org Geert Bevin

    @David, I don't understand this reasoning, so a digital piano is what, and instrument or a controller? What when it plays an organ sound, what when it's connected through USB to play a software instrument? You mean that in the latter case it suddenly stops being instrument? Why? Because the sound is generated digitally outside it's physical body instead of digitally inside? What's the difference? What about an electric guitar that I run through so many effects that you can't recognize the sound, does it stop being an instrument since you can't recognize the sound?

    I explain a lot about why the Eigenharp is an instrument in my review and indeed there are some rough edges, you are somewhat limited by MIDI but AU parameters and multi-timbral support allows you to around it in some ways. Yes it's a gamble to hope that this would improve in he future, but that's besides the point … in its current state the Eigenharp offers so much already that it would be ok if it didn't go any further in terms of integration.

  • http://www.eigenzone.org Geert Bevin

    @Per, I've been tempted by a stick also, but never got one. You can actually set up the Eigenharp any way you want. If you want to play it chromatically, just select the chromatic scale and you'll have access to all notes in the 12 tone equal temperament. Yes, you can setup the Alpha to split the board into up to 4 different zones where you can play different instrument.

  • Random Chance

    Is there already some literature out there for the Eigenharp? Like a book of etudes or some small compositions that showcase some of the possibilities of this new instrument/controller/whatever you want to call it. Sure, you can play compositions for other instruments on it, but unless it gets its own literature I can see why some people have a hard time "accepting" the Eigenharp as an instrument. We need something like the Well Tempered Clavier or Haydn's concert for trumpet in E flat for the Eigenharp.

  • http://www.eigenzone.org Geert Bevin

    @Random Chance, nope no such thing exists yet as everyone is still in the early days of learning to play it, let alone compose for it. However, this then goes back to an earlier post of Peter, how to write this down? How to indicate what you do with pressure, yaw and roll on each key, how you combine it with the breath pipe and how you use the strip controller. All these element can be crucial to your composition, traditional music notation falls a bit short for writing it down. I suppose that in time someone will figure something out, but I've sto

  • http://www.eigenzone.org Geert Bevin

    … stopped writing down my work a long time ago, so I have no incentive to reach for paper when I'm composing.

  • bar|none

    @David

    Well because eigenD hosts the plugins such as Omnisphere like you say. All the AU/VST parameters are instantly mappable to all the control points on the Alpha. For example I was playing with this new AU Synth PolyKB this morning. I had filter/resonance mapped to the strip controllers, delay feedback and wet/dry mapped to the breathpipe. Key pressure mapped to ADSR sustain and filter freq. Key yaw mapped to resonance. There is a control grid that pops up and lets you do the direct mappings. The responsiveness is very good. Key response on the Alpha is much much different(better) than most aftertouch/pressure on midi keyboards. The controller/instrument debate doesn't really mean much to me.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    No, I think good points about the kind of control data the Eigenharp says. I mean, the thing is, any digital instrument, as opposed to acoustic or even electroacoustic, by definition will be a controller, because the physical action of playing it isn't what's making the sound.

    But yes, this question of how it conveys that information, and whether that can be standardized and understood elsewhere, is a big one – hope to chat with the Eigenharp folks about just that issue.

  • bar|none

    Peter, I hope you do get to ask them those questions. If you want to control things external to what eigenD can host, then, yes you must use midi. This is reasonably fast when restricted to the virtual midi on a computer, but still midi. Personally, I would like an OSC bridge as well as open sourcing the software. These two things would open the door for much more interesting integrations. However, I do understand that all these things are on a prioritized list. Making the hackers happy isn't always the best way to make users (hopefully musicians) happy.

    One more thing to mention is that the eigenD software has been steadily improving at a good clip. They have been listening to users and constantly making things better.

  • Microwave Prince

    Well let's say for start that i don't want to offend anyone. But well eigenharp is a controller and will ever be. Yes i know that it responsive but still you can make the same result with any other setup and you are controlling software…. If you make a commitment and buy it then you need to justify the purchase but it's the same story like with the audiophiles… To put story short.. it's the same if cant make descent song with piano or tracker. daw then with eingenharp it will be the same.

  • http://citizenmori.com citizen mori

    it would seem to me that there is a desire in others for some form of traditionalist dogmatism to be present in measuring or categorizing the dramatic changes happening in music composition and performance.

    for me, there are two points for which i feel strongly on this matter.

    the first is on the subject of a fundamental optimism and excitement i feel about what these developments mean to culture. i do not understand describing the newer devices as "only this" or "only that" when the crux of the tools of musical artisanship are trending strongly towards being as subjugated by the composer / performer as possible (citing things ranging from the eigenharp itself to reaktor to the monome to the lemur), made plausible via advances in both sciences as well as in globalization's de-segregation of musical preferences. i am overwhelmed with how wonderful this is for the development of our sentience species, and i think that these changes are current and, for now, ongoing, and so i feel that it is both too soon and too limiting to begin to confine simple objects to roles.

    the second point is related, in that there is a philosophical perspective which i see as traditionalists versus technocrats.

    the latter suggests some opinion that our own ability as a species to manipulate our environment in complex ways supersedes naturalism, and thusly encourages a feeling that things born of this effort are worthy of a reverence equal to natural ('traditional') methods, tools, systems and so forth.

    a rather atomic example of this is the hammond organ having tenure within the music world in which it is considered to be equal to the piano, acoustic guitar and saxophone, which are instruments whose physics do not rely on managed electrons.

    i am curious if the 'analog' nature of the hammond satisfies traditionalist dogmatism in that it is not programmed logic defining the sounds being made but instead actual irrigation of electrons. i personally cannot understand this differentiation beyond having some sentimentality for the childlike nature of our species early acclimation to controlling electricity. and, even when i entertain those thoughts with a kind smile, i think about how with visual arts i know of few examples where a particular nostalgia for chalk on stone wins the day. instead, we enjoy acrylics, draftsman's graphite and glass sculptures for the artist, instead of for the mediums used.

    the perspective behind the eigenharp is obviously nostalgic for the artisanship behind traditional instruments, and as obvious is the disinterest in the traditional simple physics method of creating sound. it is defining itself as a musical instrument via craftsmanship, a concise aptitude for interacting with musical methodologies and it's ability to be subjugated — with lovely nuance — by the composer/performer.

  • David

    @Geert: Thanks for your reply. Yes, I'd say it's a thin line. In my reasoning, a digital piano is an instrument most of the time, but when I'm playing a flute sound, it's just a controller for the flute. I see your point, but by your reasoning, the MIDI Pickup (alone) on a guitar might be an instrument as well. Nothing gained by this discussion though. I think the main thing I didn't 'get' is what bar|none said (see below). :)

    I really appreciated your review, it realy opened up the instrument (hey, I'm being polite ;) ) to me.

    @bar|none: I didn't realize it could host VSTs/AU fully natively, so to speak. If that is so and you can map the whole shebang internally, at full resolution (both with respect to the Eigenharp and the Plugin) I might have to fundamentally revise what I said.

  • http://www.eigenzone.org Geert Bevin

    @David, there's indeed nothing that's gained by a discussion about when something is an instrument or a controller. However, over the past few months I've seen many people saying: "the Eigenharp is just a controller, I can do exactly the same with X, Y or Z". This is just not true, when saying this, people are reasoning that since it can use the some software instruments for sound you're essential going to be playing them the same way as a regular keyboard with a pitch bend wheel and some other knobs. This is simply not true. Simple example, each key itself on the Eigenharp can do pitch bends and when you set it up in multi-timbal mode you can actually perform independent pitch bends for different notes simultaneously in a way that's totally unique for the Eigenharp. Other instruments like the Haken Continuum make this also possible, but what you play is again totally unique for the Continuum. I have both and I can say that there are many things that I play on either one that simply aren't possible on the other one.

    I read a definition that someone came up with for instruments, and that is the feedback loop that is created when you play it. Ie. everything you hear has a direct relationship with how you play it, making you feel you're totally in control and using the physical capabilities of the instrument to further shape the sound based on what you're hearing and how you physically interact with it to change this. I really like that idea, it's very close to how I feel about it.

  • http://www.eigenzone.org Geert Bevin

    @David, as explained in my review, the Eigenharp talks to EigenD which has a dedicated high-resolution, high-bandwidth protocol that's dedicated for the Eigenharp's information. EigenD just happens to run on a general purpose computer instead of on an embedded chip. Inside EigenD you have native physical models of the cello, clarinet and a basic synth. It also has a perfectly integrated sampler engine that you can use to play sound fonts and interact with those in the same high resolution manner, nothing goes over MIDI there. Then you can also host AUs/VSTs inside EigenD that are currently limited to MIDI for note on/off and pitch bend messages, but with multi-timbral support you get a 16 channel polyphony for those. You can also map AU parameters in full floating point precision to modify various aspects of the AU with the data sent by the any of the data streams on the Eigenharp.

  • David

    @Geert: Thanks, then I *did* understand your review correctly. Shame that natively hosted VSTs are only played in midi resolution. I hope that'll change eventually.

  • bar|none

    Midi's bad rap comes from a myriad of issues beyond resolution, especially when it comes to connections over midi cords. In the case of hosted plugins, eigenD improves the latency issue with a very fast direct connection.

    Let's face it, the VST/AU spec is built on midi concepts, so it's not possible to change that at the moment. You have to instead optimize the communication as much as possible.

    I was quite shocked actually how well plugin instruments play inside eigenD, especially ones that are fairly well designed for expression.

    Geert is saying that you can use a multichannel communication where you basically get a 16 note independent polyphony channel to the plug. This allows for high resolution control of pitch bend for example off each of up to 16 keys at a time. The plugin needs to support this mode which the spectrasonics plugins as an example do. Even with just a single midi channel to the plugin, the expression is quite good. I imagine this is due to eigenD delivering the midi information in a fairly optimized manner.

    Note that in a DAW for example like Ableton. Midi is low priority. In fact, poly aftertouch is NOT supported at all the Live and stripped from the midi stream when it enters Ableton. I found this the hard way when trying to use plugins that supported poly aftertouch.

  • David

    @bar|none: Yes, that is what I meant with my initial comment that it "speaks a language that nobody understands". It's not the Eigenharp's fault. We'll see what the future brings.

  • http://fallsastar.com Foosnark

    As far as controllers vs. instruments goes… it's one of those "I know it when I see it" issues, no?

  • http://www.michaelgrose.net mgr88

    I'm a pianist who bought an Eigenharp Pico specifically because of the sensitivity of the buttons. I had previosuly experimented with Sculpture and Alchemy as soft synths but always felt that there was much more music in them than I could get out of a traditional keyboard.

    Since getting the Pico I've spent a lot of time working on mapping the softsynth parameters to the buttons. It seems like the most promising direction is controlling MorphXY param just by wiggling a finger on a note. For fast passages it's much more flexible than a keyboard, where it would take two hands, and maybe a foot, to get the same expression.

    The Eigenharp is only half of the equation, sounds optimized its feel and responsiveness are just as important. That's still a work in progress, at the moment I'm spending more time on sound design than on making music. I feel like a fiddler who's still experimenting with wood varnishes, bow hair and cat guts. It's fun though :-)

  • Harry Thyles

    I keep seeing this thing being called a new instrument, but I’m not buying that.
    Ok, technically and Intellectually it may be an instrument but because my ears and other music receptors are not convinced, and here’s why:

    As you can see, the people playing it in the various videos around the net seem like they can actually play, but are unable to groove on this thing. All of the performances I’ve heard on it have a stilted, disjointed quality to them and often consist of a lot of loop triggering. I have not heard anything yet that feels like good music to me so far. It’s response to touch seems not at performance level yet. That all makes it sound like a controller to me, one with a ways to go no less. Amazing idea ‘tho!
    -HT

  • http://citizenmori.com citizen mori

    @harry

    fair enough, but i am confident that as time carries on you will find this changes. for the player, the eigenharp is quite a physiological and intellectual acclimation, feeling and playing like nothing else about. time is all which is needed to convince those without one, as us players refine ourselves.

    i’ve never once heard of the virtuoso accordion player who sidestepped to cello and was in the pocket six months later.

  • Blob

    @citizen mori

    I agree. The eigenharp’s design sets it apart somewhat from “conventional” electronic instruments like keyboards or drum pads, the ergonomics are totally different, people will have to take time getting used to it – but I think its possibilities for dynamics, expression and sonic variety are immense.

  • Blob

    PS – sorry about the blockquote, I NEVER get those right

  • http://www.eigenzone.org Geert Bevin

    @Harry, all the players you've seen online actually took a risk by already showing the current state of their playing in public. I personally only recorded my Eigenharp Alpha video because other players were asking to see what I was doing at that time. I explicitly asked Peter not to include it in this post since I *know* I wasn't grooving and this video wasn't intended for a wide audience.

    That being said, show me anyone who has been grooving after 3 months on a totally new instrument that doesn't resemble anything they've played before. Hell, it takes many people years to be able to get a good guitar rhythm going when playing by themselves. You're not being realistic, the Eigenharp Alpha has only has been available since December 2009!

    On the other hand, I'm quite satisfied with some of my Pico videos, maybe they doesn't measure up to your standards, but I've gotten a lot of positive remarks on them from people that totally aren't interested in the instrument itself and just listen to the music.