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Keyboard

I thought of this twenty years ago and my friend laughed me. Now it’s your turn.
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This is a keyboard instrument that’s analogous to a fretless stringed instrument. It doesn’t have keys, as such, but rather a touch sensitive pad resembling a keyboard. Very small tonal increments are delineated thereon, corresponding to microtones, the granularity of which is programmable.

(Sorry, my command of music theory is not what it could be. I don’t actually understand the mathematics of how many microtones are in between C and C sharp, e.g., or how small your finger would have to be to play a microtone. Hence the granularity reference.)

Anyhow, you play this gizmo (the sound of which has probably been emulated in cheapo synthesizers for years). Put a finger at middle C perhaps. Move it up an octave and you hear *everything* in between, not just the normal Western incremental notes. Apply that idea to playing chords, etc. Playing a blues progression, you could keep your left hand in the same position, move it across the “keyboard” and perhaps produce an interesting effect. Easy tremolo effect, too, just the way stringed instrument players do it.

snarfyguy, Sep 08 2001

Self-explanatory idea names. http://www.halfbake...tory_20idea_20names
Something this is not. [StarChaser, Sep 08 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Ribbon controller http://www.youtube....ture=endscreen&NR=1
[spidermother, Apr 30 2013]

Macedonian Morning performed on the Eigenharp Alpha http://www.youtube....watch?v=_s_9jR3jpnU
[tatterdemalion, May 01 2013]

Might also be a Seaboard http://www.youtube....watch?v=gezmPUaXJUQ
[tatterdemalion, May 01 2013]

[link]






       So sort of like a "circa 1980s synth" version of a fretless guitar?
sdm, Sep 08 2001
  

       Well, I would hope it wouldn't have that 80's synth sound, but that's about how long ago I imagine the sound of this thing would have been emulated,though I have no idea how such a thing *could* be emulated. Then again, I'm not much of a technician.
snarfyguy, Sep 08 2001
  

       Unless you mean that horrible keyboard worn with a shoulder strap and looking like a guitar that people used to play in the 80's. It's only analogous to a fretless stringed intrument in that there are no incremental "divisions" between tones.
snarfyguy, Sep 08 2001
  

       I had one of these as a kid. Most amusing part of it was being able to make it say 'Woo', like a ghost. 'WooooOOOooooo'. It didn't have press-pads, and there was no step from note to note.
StarChaser, Sep 08 2001
  

       Does all this mean it's baked, half-baked, raw or unbakeable?
snarfyguy, Sep 09 2001
  

       It seems perfectly bakeable to me. I kind of think I've seen a picture of such an instrument, actually --- it had a long bar which you would touch at one point or another to produce a tone. I don't know if it could play chords, though. And I don't remember what it was called or where I saw it. Maybe I am thinking of the Stepp.   

       Another "continuous" instrument would be the theremin. You don't have to touch a theremin to play it, and again, you can't play chords on a theremin.
wiml, Sep 09 2001
  

       Lots of synths come with little pitch bender apparatus on them. If you're *really good* you might be able to use one of those.   

       starchaser: I'd like to make the "woo" sound you were talking about, and add a wawa peddle. I bet I could make it say "wooooaaaaaw".
sdm, Sep 09 2001
  

       Snarfyguy: I had one, so I'd have to say it was baked.   

       Sdm: <grins> I was like four. The only wa-wa I knew about was the kind that got me fed...
StarChaser, Sep 09 2001
  

       [snarfkuy] A microtone is not usually intended to mean an interval of a particular size; it is often taken to mean any interval smaller than a standard semitone. If it were used in a precise way, it would mean a millionth of a tone. But a tone is not a unique interval anyway. Nor is a semitone. I think microtone is a bit of a silly term, and I don't use it.   

       “Do not try and bend the note—that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth.”
“What truth?”
“There is no note.”
  

       I'm not being trite there, by the way. Notes such as C and C# are mostly arbitrary conventions and do not exist in any real sense. That seems kind of obvious when stated; but it's best not to think of there being 'microtones' 'between' notes, but instead to abandon the concept of fixed notes in this context. The rest is easy.
spidermother, Apr 30 2013
  

       Am I the only one who looks at the dates of the original posting and annotations who wants to shout out "Warning!"
AusCan531, May 01 2013
  

       I recently said to a friend, "Yes, I do." I then had to remind her that in about 1994 she had mentioned her tendency to resume conversations after a considerable delay, and had wondered if I did the same.   

       (We had the internet in the 1970s, and the World Wide Web in the early 1990s.)
spidermother, May 01 2013
  

       Synths have always been able to slide from one note to another. Even polyphonic sliding is quite common (though most of them sound horrible because almost nobody bothered to design a method to figure out which old note should be sliding to which new note)   

       The "Hakken Continuum" (which I've mentioned in another post) does exactly what you want though, even having enough software smarts to round-off to the nearest chord.
FlyingToaster, May 01 2013
  

       Sounds similar to a musical device called an eigenharp. Or maybe a Seaboard.
tatterdemalion, May 01 2013
  

       A keyboard that controls 6 trombones, then you do slides between notes and do chords as well.   

       Or a pitch-shifting bagpipe, useful for doing slightly off-key covers of Voodoo Child in public places, until people give you money to go away.
not_morrison_rm, May 01 2013
  
      
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