This keyboard is very cool indeed
- it's intended to start out as a keyboard that can be played by
someone used to the "Standard Keyboard" layout, by playing with the
notes as a slight angle - who would have thunk it?
Then, as one
gets used to the new positions of the keys and the extra options
available, transition easily to the faster and more compact Janko. Then, it you really get funky you can remap to Sonome or jammer or go microtonal.
See the latter half of the "concept" video below.
It was successfully crowd-funded
(November 2013). A fundraiser campaign
is live here.
Do let your friends know about it. I've put in a few dollars, lets hope it flies high.
Here's a snippet, with our highlights:
The Terpstra is not exactly Mysterious, it is ground breaking and amazing, and simply not in production yet ( but should be)
played one of these at the Queens College NY. Upon seeing it, I could
immediately appreciate the manufacturing quality of this prototype –
Well made thick aluminum case with a look and solidity that is
reminiscent of Apple G5 and 8-core towers. There is apparently 1 one
octave Terpstra and 2 working 5 octave Terpstra prototypes. The one I
saw (pictured above) was really great with full velocity on every key. I
am a keyboard player and the feel of the Terpstra was really
exceptional and had very expressive touch that was lighter but much
like a real piano, only faster. Each key has a removable magnetic key
cap, so different colored or labeled key caps can be easily swapped
around when you re-map the keys to a different scale. What amazes me was
the amount of detailed thought that has gone into making this a real
musicians performance tool. The key sensing for this also is a one of a
kind because the electronics constantly monitor the position of every
key (not not by triggering switches at the bottom of the key press and
measuring the time differential) by magnetically sensing for the whole
key throw. When a key is depressed, the entire change in position is
monitored and translated to a very accurate and nuanced velocity by the
time the key hits the bottom. Every key is easily re mappable and if
mapped to a continuous controller, then slowly depressing any re-mapped
key sends out continuous data like a fader in real time. It does all of
this with no latency. I would LOVE to map some keys to sweep filters,
and leave other keys as notes to trigger the sounds feeding through the
filter. This WOULD be the funkiest microtonal thing ever!
read other posts around the net that dash the Terpstra off as yet
another Janko etc, and although I can see how one could confuse it with a
Janko, it is really much more. (BTW. you could map it as a Janko if you
wished) The Terpstra blows the doors open with easy mappability and a
key layout that, unlike the janko and other generalized keyboards, puts
each key at a slightly different height – which when combined with the
irregular shape of the front row of keys (see picture above) allows
you to feel where your hands are on the keys without looking. This is
similar to the way you can feel where you hands are by feeling the
pattern of black and white keys on the piano. This means that for the
first time you can play a matrix keyboard without having to constantly
look at it to know where you are.
Every keyboard player with a
serious view to the future of keyboard performance should have one of
these. I do hope that someone puts this into production as the
Terpstra’s touch response and overall musicality and feel make it a full
head and shoulders above every other generalized keyboard I have tried.
Kudos to Mr. Terpstra and his design team up in Canada as they have
obviously spent a long time working out just what would be needed for
this innovative and quality controller to allow it to kick the ass it
Hands Down: I will buy a Terpstra as soon as it goes into production.
That magnetic sensing has me envious. With it one could deduce not
just instantaneous velocity but also the acceleration of the key; the
I believe a master pianist uses a different
acceleration curve to bend the hammer head shaft differently, loading it
with different effective stiffness, and thereby bounce off the strings
with quite different tones.
This keyboard is unique in more ways than one.