Pianoarc: A solution looking for a problem?

Pianoarc is a circular keyboard developed as a dramatic stage presence for Lady GaGa’s keyboard player. It’s really customized to his particular reach, and it comes on a stand that can be tilted up to 50 degrees for visual impact. The thing has 292 keys, including 3 full 88-key MIDI controllers, plus a smaller section […]

What’s Old Is New Again at NAMM

Music dealers worldwide make their pilgrimages to NAMM (the largest American trade show for musical merchandise) every year to be sure they see (and try) the latest in music technology. What surprises me often is how old ideas get recycled and promoted as the Next Big Thing. Since George Beauchamp created the “Frying Pan” aluminum […]

Aristides One-Piece Molded Electric Guitars

Not well known in the US, Aristides Instruments of Haarlem, Netherlands, is manufacturing high-tech electric guitars and basses featuring a one-piece molded body made of an exclusive glass crystal in resin matrix (which they call “Arium”) with a glass/carbon skin. Their claim is that the material performs like a […]

MIDI Wave Theremin

When I was a kid we’d get a massive Sears catalog in the mail every year. Must have been hard on the postman when those came out. For more than a century, Sears was the place to get all the essential stuff for living in America — everything from thermal underwear to cast iron stoves […]

Bowed Keyboards Never Die…

The idea of a bowed string instrument controlled by a keyboard has been around at least since Leonardo sketched a concept for the viola organista around 1488. The most successful realization of the idea is the hurdy-gurdy, which uses a rosined wheel turned with a hand crank to simultaneously bow several strings at once. The […]

Self-Tuning Piano

A fascinating article by Paul Ridden at Gizmag about Don Gilmore’s self-tuning piano system. It uses sensors on each string to determine pitch, and sends an electrical current through the string to warm it precisely enough to cause it to “relax” — basically expand — giving a lower pitch. It seems to me that this […]

Tour of Vietnamese Musical Instrument Makers Village

Craftsmen of the village of Dao Xa create fine traditional instruments by hand.

Craftsman in the village of Dao Xa

“Also the craft requires artisans’ patience and more importantly, their love, passion and dedication. Without these, one couldn’t produce a standard instrument.” – Nguyen Xuan Soan

Source: Vietnam News


Europe’s ‘earliest string instrument’?

I wonder sometimes about scientific discoveries, especially when it comes to archaeological artifacts. The BBC and other British news sources report the finding a notched piece of wood on Skye “believed to be the bridge of an ancient lyre” some 2300 years old. Cambridge “music archaeologist” Dr Graeme Lawson said the discovery marked a “step […]

Kinect Gestural Organ Controller

Australian composer Chris Vik performed a piece written for the Melbourne Town Hall organ. Vik has been experimenting with the Kinect device to provide gestural control for digital musical instruments, so he was excited to learn that the Sidney organ had been converted to MIDI control back in the 1990s. Too much fun.


Church Music

A Baroque church in the city of Olomouc in the eastern Czech Republic might seem an odd choice of an object to be turned into an advanced musical instrument. Over the last few years, the Macula project (a partnership of 3 Czech techno-artists) has been creating remarkable large scale animated projections on interesting architectural structures. […]