An innovative digital musical instrument for the 21st century.
Media artist Toshio Iwai and Yamaha have collaborated to design a music composition tool called the Yamaha Tenori-on that earned PC Magazine's 25 Most Innovative Products Award at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Tenori-on literally means "sound in the palm of your hand" and is equally an art-piece and music-making gadget.
Tenori-on is a hand-held interface with a surface of 256 LED buttons that glow as you access different sounds and textures ('Layers') over an infinitely repeating sequence of notes. The 16x16 matrix of LED switches allows everyone to play music intuitively, creating a "visible music" interface. Tenori-on uses a host of internal sounds as well as samples loaded from external sources. With a musical device where sight and touch are every bit as integral as sound, the Yamaha Tenori-on makes musical possibilities endless and the composition process a lot of fun.
DJs & producers can use Tenori-on as a unique performance tool that enables them to perform using MIDI and load the Yamaha Tenori-on with samples to 'jam / improvise' within their set BPMs. The Tenori-on 16 x 16 LED button matrix is simultaneously a performance input controller and display. By operating and interacting with the LED buttons and the light they produce you gain access to the Tenori-on's numerous performance capabilities.
The Yamaha Tenori-on provides six different performance and sound/light modes for broad performance versatility, and these modes can be combined and used simultaneously for rich, complex musical expression. By holding one of the ten function buttons located on either side of the Yamaha Tenori-on and operating the LED buttons you can change voices, change octaves, and apply a variety of effects and variations to your performance. This unique visual/tactile interface has been specifically designed to allow intuitive, instantaneous operation of a variety of functions.
Tenori-on layers can be thought of as "performance parts" or "recording tracks." The Tenori-on has a total of 16 layers. Separate notes and voices can be assigned to each sound layer, and all layers can be played together in synchronization. The 16 layers are divided into six performance mode groups (Score, Random, Draw, Bounce, Push, and Solo). The six modes have different note entry methods and operation. Up to 16 layers created using different modes can be combined for rich, complex musical expression.
Once complete set of 16 layers is called a "block." The Yamaha Tenori-on can store up to 16 programmed blocks (16-layer groups) in memory, and you can switch from block to block instantly during performance. You could, for example, create a musical composition in one block, then copy that composition to another block and edit it to create a variation of the original composition. Or you can load a number of previously-created compositions into separate blocks from an SD Memory Card and switch between them to create variation during playback.