Tenori-on: revolutionising music making?August 14, 2007
Tenori-on is an electronic musical instrument, designed and created by Japanese artist, Toshio Iwai, in collaboration with Yamaha. It consists of a screen, held in the hands, of a sixteen by sixteen grid of LED switches, any of which can be activated in a number of ways to create an evolving musical soundscape. The LED switches are held within an aluminium frame, which has two inbuilt speakers, as well as a number of buttons and a dial, which control the type of sound produced. Though Toshio Iwai has been using the Tenori-on in live performances (such as at Sónar in Barcelona, in June 2006, and Futuresonic in Manchester, in July 2006), it is currently in development, and not yet for sale.
Iwai’s intention in creating the Tenori-on is to create an electronic instrument of beauty. In his own words:
“In days gone by, a musical instrument had to have a beauty, of shape as well as of sound, and had to fit the player almost organically. [...] Modern electronic instruments don’t have this inevitable relationship between the shape, the sound, and the player.”
The instrument builds on Iwai’s previous work, such as on his Electroplankton software for the Nintendo DS in the blending of light and sound, as well as the aesthetic elements of the interface.