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Old 15th January 2006, 09:57 AM   #1
Macaba is offline Macaba  United Kingdom
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
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I rather like this instrument, its extremely intuitive.
I'm thinking to myself 'How is such a project constructed'.

So I put this thread here to facilitate the thinking processes so that perhaps one day I/we could make a clone of such an instrument, with perhaps more useability (Midi output/CV outputs).
It also in my mind has a very pratical use as a sequencer.

16x16 grid of tactile LED switches. Similar to:


Note that 16 x 16 = 256, which is easily addressable in a 8 bit byte.

I'd like to hear methods of perhaps using a PIC microcontroller to acheive a basic level of functioning. Also- A very cheap source of those switches would ideally be found, so I could afford to build a prototype and experiment.

Sure, it may not be as nice as the Tenori-On, but hypothetical thinking never hurt.

My guesses/ideas at Basic Modes of Operation

Straightforwards Note Playing:
Its difficult to say how the notes progress over a 2D area. It seems to me that it works extremely similar to this 'theremin' program for the pocket pc:
Someone knowledgable suggest how 256 'notes' could be arranged, and how many notes per octave, bearing in mind that its only this mode that will have this arrangement of notes, because other modes are more sequencer style modes

Static Sequencer, Static Time Interval:
The 16 accross is basically a 16-note sequencer. It goes through the notes selected from left to right, at a speed selected when you hold a button on the body and choose from 256 speed settings. (I think this is similar to the tenori-on) You have 16 notes to choose from (Not much, 2 octaves?), but this not neccessarily need to be a inhibition, because another button on the body could allow you to go up or down an octave, select notes to play there, and come back to the main 2 octaves. You just have to remember they are there.

Static Sequencer, Dynamic Time Interval:
The only similarity to the one above, is that it plays the notes where you press them. Everything else is different, and this is how I would describe it: You press a note anywhere, taking advantage of the 256 note range, then you press 2 more notes anywhere. Now, not only does it remember the location of the notes, the ORDER of the notes, it remembers the TIMING between notes. So you could have 2 really quick notes in succession then a low bass note, as an example.

Dynamic Sequencer:
I really rather liked the bouncing sequencer, it looked fun. It seemed to me this is something like how its arranged: The 16 notes accross is the musical range. When you select a height on that column, it starts bouncing at a set speed, and everytime it hits the bottom the note is played. If you press any location in the same column, it just stops that column from playing, and you can press a different height to resume.

Drum Kit:
There are Nth number of circles on the screen (not sure how many drums a standard drumkit has) and when you tap them, it plays that drum. This could be taken further with the 'Static Sequencer, Dynamic Time Interval' principle, in that it remembers the order and timing between notes, so you can get a drum/bass line going.

Synth modes:
This would be taking it to the boundaries, it would be fun to experiment with this. Basically, you select a synth module, and the basic controls for it come up on the screen. You then patch in our clone to a synth and use it as a normal module. Obviously it'll be digital, but the advantage is that you will probably already have the clone connected to the synthesizer to use the sequencer, so to change to a Synth Module mode is just a natural progression. TB-303 mode anyone? This really just depends on programming skill, and effective use of the limited number of switches. (for example: Pots would be represented by 2 switches- Up and Down).

Some ideas there, some derived from Tenori-On and some original ones (or we just havn't seen them on the Tenori-On yet).

To comment on the concept further:
If I were to develop such an instrument, because of its flexiblity, its more suited to professional applications, and its inherant upgradability (just a firmware flash away!) means 'value for money' so to speak.
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