LinnStrument is based on a multi-touch, pressure-sensitive, high-resolution USB touch surface 17/05/10
Roger Linn has announced a new research project: LinnStrument -- A New Musical Instrument Concept. Here's what he has to say...
If you've read my (Roger's) New Musical Instruments page, you know that I'm interested in the idea of new musical instruments that overcome the limitations of traditional mechanical instruments. My particular interest is in a new instrument that while capable of entirely new sounds and playing techniques, is also able to reproduce the sounds, virtuosic performance capabilities and subtleties that we've come to know and love from traditional musical instruments, but without all their problems and limitations.
I've come up with a prototype of an instrument design that I like. Here's a brief video of what I've got so far:
The prototype consists of a multi-touch, pressure-sensitive, high-resolution USB touch surface from a company called TouchCo (details below), plus a Max/MSP patch written by me and my wife Ingrid, and an OSC/TUIO driver written by a friend and fellow music/art/technology enthusiast named Tim Thompson.
And here's a rendering I made of what it might look like as a finished product (click it to see a high-resolution picture):
This design uses a fingerboard grid consisting of 6 rows of 24 semitones each, similar to a guitar. It also has two thumb control strips, one on each side of the fingerboard, to be used for sustaining fingered notes after release, strumming, bowing, blowing or restriking, and also has a wind sensor for added expression. (Ignore the 4 long, thin bars on each side; they were to be used as separate palm-actuated sustain bars, but I've decided that the two thumb strips work better for this.) This design is intended to be played from either of two positions:
1) On a table, with both hands playing from one side and using only one thumb control strip for both thumbs. Because note expression is controlled by subtle changes in finger pressure, the table provides the necessary resistance to that pressure.
2) On your chest vertically, with one hand playing from each side of the instrument. In this case, the left thumb control strip is used by the left thumb and the right thumb control strip is used by the right thumb. Because note expression is controlled by subtle changes in finger pressure, your body provides the necessary resistance to that pressure. This position conveniently places the wind sensor close to the mouth.
In an effort to continue my silly tradition of product titles containing my last name, I think I might call this "LinnStrument". More information: