Yamaha Tenori-On new concept digital musical instrument launched

Yamaha launched its new concept digital musical instrument “Tenori-On” at a press conference in Japan on April 25, 2008. Tenori-On is completely unlike any existing musical instrument. Users operate the Tenori-On’s LED buttons to play phrases and tempos. An array of LEDs on the instrument draws attention at first sight. On both rear and front sides of the Tenori-On, 256 LEDs (16 columns x 16 rows) are laid out. For example the LEDs on the front side, which faces the user, are buttons that can be pressed to play music and compose songs. The LEDs on the rear side display the same pattern as those on the front side, so viewers in the audience can enjoy the variation of sound and light when the Tenori-On is used for a stage performance.
Basically, time is allotted horizontally, while tone is allotted vertically (in Score mode). In this mode, the Tenori-On displays a vertical line that runs from left to right at a certain speed. When holding down a button, the LED at the pressed position turns on, and the sound is produced at that tone when the vertical line reaches that position. Toshio Iwai the media artist who created the concept and cooperated in its development said that the Tenori-On was inspired by manual paper tape music boxes.

Users select the sound, note, octave and loop frequency using the function keys on the left side, while specifying the layer, tempo, transposition (change in key) and block using the function keys on the right side. Songs created in this way can be recorded and stored in SD memory cards. Sale of Tenori-On is available at present from Yamaha’s official site for approximately ¥121,000 (US$1,158). Shipments will begin May 12, 2008.