Saturday, September 15, 2007

The TENORI-ON - a New Digital Music Performance Instrument

Yamaha has been working with Toshio Iwai (岩井 俊 雄), a Japanese interactive media artist, to develop a new digital music instrument called the TENORI-ON.

You may not have heard of Toshio Iwai but in other parts of the world have. He's created a number of successful commercial video games and has worked in television, music performance, museum design and digital musical instrument design. According to a bio linked here:

He became a cult figure in Japan with his computer generated virtual sets for the science news show Einstein TV(1990-91) and his virtual sets and characters for the immensely popular daily interactive children's show for Fuji Television, UgoUgo Lhuga(1992-94).

If you've
been to the Exploratorium in San Francisco you may remember Iwai's Well of Lights and Music Insects pieces that are housed there in the permanent collection.

The Yamaha website describes the TENORI-ON as...

"...a 16x16 matrix of LED switches that allow anyone to play music intuitively, creating a "visible music" interface. The TENORI-ON is simultaneously both a performance input controller and display. By operating and interacting with the LED buttons and the light they produce you gain access to the TENORI-ON's numerous performance capabilities."

Here's a TENORI-ON product demo video posted on YouTube.

WOW - impressive - the first thing that came to my mind are the potential apps/hacks - should be very interesting.

The TENORI-ON is scheduled to go on sale in the U.K. next month.

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