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LinnStrument is in production

posted Oct 15, 2014, 8:13 PM by Ken Rushton   [ updated Oct 17, 2014, 10:25 AM ]
The very versatile LinnStrument is actually in production and will be shipping shortly.

Yes, miracles do happen!  Creating a new instrument is a nail-bitingly hard, frustrating, Sisyphean process - gremlins absolutely love the smell of a new invention and are drawn in droves to harry the inventor. They especially are inspired by subtle inventions like musical instruments. Recent example: Jim Plamondon spent $1.5 million and never even got his Thummer close to production. 

The instrument is an rectangular-grid array of buttons/touch-points, and each point controls note expression in 3 dimensions: velocity/loudness; timbre; & micro-pitch (pitch bend).  I'd actually say that the instrument is 4-dimensional, as the buttons control the macro-pitch dimension.  And yes, they are isomorphic.

In addition, the arrangement of notes is dynamically assignable and the keys also have LEDs, so can be colored in one of six colors during play, both for performance effects and as an "just-follow-the lights" aid to learning the instrument. The only feature lacking is symmetrical fingering.

One sample of the intelligence built into the unit: to make pitch-bend possible:
With continuous pitch control similar to a violin, you might expect that it would be just as difficult as a violin to play in tune. But LinnStrument's pitch quantize insures that your notes are in tune regardless of where your initial touch lands within each 3/4 inch note square, then it immediately removes the quantizing so as not to restrict your vibratos and pitch slides.

They make the above sound easy, but it's absolutely not.
And it's cheap: just $1500, for what could turn out to be the most expressive keyboard in the world.

If I had not already blown my budget on a Dualo, this would be under my Christmas tree. Note that the initial run is limited to just 40 machines.

For more details on the LinnStrument, see here.

Ken Rushton/MusicScienceGuy