yamaha me crazy

When I was 12 years old, I saw a performance by Japanese wunderkinds who were students at the Yamaha Music School and were on a tour in Ulaanbaatar. I watched the show with an open-mouthed awe; I had nothing on these kids with my one-fingered rendition of “Chopsticks.” Since then, I never dared to touch a piano, but developed a deep respect for Yamaha’s commitment to foster musical creativity. (If you think I’m exaggerating these kids’ abilities, let this 3-year old put your musical skills to shame.)

Which brings me to the point of this post. Yamaha’s new digital musical instrument, TENORI-ON, was launched this spring, and it’s totally awesome. Designed by media artist Toshio Iwai, this touch screen instrument has 16×16 matrix of LED switches, which visualize musical gestures. “Intuitive design” may be an overused phrase these days; but in this case, TENORI-ON is totally on to something with its visual and intutive interpretation of music-making. 

Read PingMag’s interview with TENORI-ON’s developer Yu Nishibori here.

music vision

Thanks to Create Digital Music (a forum for musicians using technology), I stumbled upon something called “audio responsive visual” where music is interpreted through programming language, or what is also known Processing. In this video, artist/designer/programmer Robert Hodgin’s (Flight404) visualizes “Lovely Head” a song by British group Goldfrapp. You’ll see that his interpretive code not only accentuates the song’s beat, pitch and loudness but also incorporates its lyrics–apparently, a challenging task to achieve in Processing. Don’t know about you, but I couldn’t stop watching this mesmerizing piece…