Multi-Touch with Your Current Keyboard, And How Expressive, Crowd-Funded Keys Stack Up

Augmenting keyboards with additional expression is a tradition that goes back nearly a century. Inventors have tried keys that bend and wiggle, add-ons from pulleys to ribbons, wheels and pressure sensors, and more – anything to extend the piano and organ beyond their on/off playing methods. But now, the Web has accelerated the ability to communicate and develop these ideas. Crowd-funded invention is becoming widespread. And that means we’ve actually seen several polyphonic touch expression schemes this year. Rather than just presenting papers at conferences, instrumental experimenters are going to musicians and trying to fund real products. American-born, London-based composer, …

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What Makes a Truly New Instrument? Human Gestures Power Winners of Guthman Competition

Interlude Consortium’s competition-winning MO makes everyday objects interfaces and does some surprisingly-sophisticated analysis of gestures. Nearly as long as we’ve had electronics, musical inventors have tried to imagine new electronic instruments. In the crowded world of new instrument design, the Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition has emerged as a key prize for the best work, with creations battling fiercely for attention. But in the oddball world of sound and music, how do you judge a winner? As a starting point, organizers this year asked the judges what they personally found important. With an expert panel including synth pioneer Tom Oberheim …

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