Hands on Tenori-On

Tenori-On's secret

We had the opportunity of playing a bit with the (already) world famous Tenori-On (that strange new instrument build by Yamaha and designed with Toshio Iwai) at turnkey when we went to buy some picks for my new precious.

It is quite strange, but I could describe it like this: it looks a lot like a toy, and acts as a mix of Etch A Sketch1, ableton live plus a 909-style sequencer. But it is best that you try it by yourself or watch a video or something at youtube for understanding what I mean.

The other interesting thing is this interview with Toshio Iwai that mr.doob found. Apart from explaining about the design process behind the Tenori-On, he also makes some interesting comments about music and sharing the creative intricacies of the songs:

I really hope people will share their own creations via the Internet or via the SD card for example. One of my dreams for Tenori-On is that people will create their own music using the instrument, put the file on the computer – a very small file compared to an audio file – and then e-mail this to a friend. This friend, using their own Tenori-On, can then play back the file, listening to this piece whilst viewing all the actions and creative steps that occurred in its creation. This means we’re not just sharing the final piece of music, we’re sharing the patterns and the interactivity.

I think you could replace Tenori-On with tracker and it will have almost the same meaning, don’t you think?

Another sentence that I like a lot is this one:

The reality right now is that many people, including professional musicians and kids and simply passive listeners, have the chance to create their own music.

Leaving aside the fact that he’s obviously speaking about tenori-on, I think it’s a very interesting proposition on its own. We have been given the chance to create new stuff and express our own ideas thanks to the increase in computing power but only a few of us are trying to do anything at all.

I really believe it’s important for people to practice and experiment what they can do in the creativity fields, but traditionally we are told from an early age in life whether we are good for art or not, which is pretty dumb. One may show a certain innate aptitude (or lack of it) at childhood but it doesn’t mean he/she likes it or that he/she can’t gain skills in that field if need be.

So I’m all for things like the Tenori-On and in general every tool which enables us to play and see what can be done – we may learn new things and maybe we’ll create something cool too, while not being a passive listener any more. Interactivity is the key!

1 Telesketch for us the Spaniards



I wish I had this toy when I was a kid :)


You mean the Etch-A-Sketch? :P

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