Bonkers or Total Genius? The 'Tenori-on' Unveiled 02/03/07
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Once in a Blue Moon an invention comes along which seems to turn conventional wisdom upside-down and kick it around a bit for good measure. Some are the result of of years of dedicated study and arduous research; others, a bastard love-child spawned of zealous passion and a conviction unfettered by the bounds of reality ;-)
I think it's fair to say that most bright new ideas never see the light of day, but I for one am particularly glad this has made it through the corporate corridors and is about to be unleashed upon an unsuspecting world. Actually that's not strictly true... we did suspect something was up Yamaha's sleeve some time ago, when we caught wind of an experimental musical instrument project involving lights and buttons, but the fact it is going into production is still pretty impressive.
Not quite as impressive as the Tenori-on itself though; the brainchild of media artist Toshio Iwai, it consists of a hand-held square panel with a matrix of LED switches. Working with both sound and light, making music becomes a rather more intuitive and immediate interaction between player and instrument - a refreshing counter to the increasing complexity of many modern music tools.
OK - all this sounds very grandiose, but what's it actually like? Well, we found a very happy looking Peter Peck of Yamaha UK who was clutching the only example currently in the whole of Europe. Come to think of it, I didn't see him let go of it the entire time we were at the stand... true love or just guardian instincts? Having now seen and heard the Tenori-On in action, I'm inclined to think the former.
Anyway, I got the camera out, Nick grabbed the mic, and we asked Peter all about it... check out the video.
The Tenori-On should be shipping later this year, but if you want to find out more about it, there's plenty more info on the web - Yamaha have a site, and Toshio Iwai has a blog:-