« Converting a keyboard to Janko, 120 hand-made keys at a time | Main | Rabbit-catching: the Axis-49 hops towards the pot »

Feb 06, 2009



I've been following this because the C-Thru seems so cool but just so far out of my price range (even before shipping and customs).


So very good to hear from you, Jim!

I've been stimulated by the feedback (thanks to Taylor too) to extensively update and clarify the original posting. Please check it over.

To some of the above comments:

<One of the Thummer’s design goals was to minimize weight and bulk, so that it could be conveniently strapped to one's forearm and waved through space to activate internal motion sensors> … <then that arm's hand can't move freely across the keyboard's surface via rotation of the elbow or shoulder; only finger and wrist movement is possible. That means that the keyboard layout has to be optimized to put as many tonally-important intervals within the hand's fixed span as possible.>

It's amazing how the implementation and the musician's needs can affect the instrument. Since I plan to use the thumb-mounted "jamstick" to do some of this, and to "wear" it on the chest or in the arms (see here), I'm not so constrainted. Instead my requirement of "jamming" friendliness, requires more buttons, simply laid out, so I can change keys on the fly.

<Button travel is also affected by button-density. …  If the buttons are densely packed, then the tip-ward portion of the finger may unavoidably press a palm-wardly-adjacent button downward, too. To avoid this, either the buttons need to be spaced further apart, or the buttons need to travel less. ..So we chose a button-travel of about 3mm, which was consistent with many woodwind instruments’ button travel.>

I understand your logic - the finger will be travelling into a pit and a concern is touching the "sides".  In this case I'll go with the expert, Paul VanderVoort's values for now. My hope is that that the Axis-49 has worked out a reasonable value.

<Sensing key velocity is not essential to expressiveness ….. Key velocity is essential to the expressiveness of the piano keyboard because it is the *only* expressive variable that the piano has…>
<AFTER those are working and selling well into the market, then it would be nice to add non-button sensors that measure the pressure on each keyboard – what’s called “channel pressure” in the MIDI world.>

I disagree about the need for velocity sensitivity, that is volume control of each key. I experimented with it on my first jammer, and the qwerty keyboard, and found it was really needed. I also have unpublished information (one day I'll write it up!) on how the interplay of volume levels is critical to the production of harmony, and expect that a pianist uses this extensively when playing.

Regarding foot-pedals…given that the jammer is a digital (MIDI/OSC) controller, it can work in cooperation with a number of other digital controllers to affect the current sound. For example, I see no reason to incorporate foot pedal jacks into a jammer.>

Agreed,  the foot-pedal will be implemented separately, and not "through the jammer"

<As it is, I can make a keyboard of on-off buttons in a roughly hex grid for about $15 using a couple of QWERTY boards. And I currently am doing so. >

I'm looking forward to this. it will be very interesting.

Ken, the Music Science Nut

Taylor Livingston

I'll be interested to see how people take to the velocity-insensitive jammer - without that, it becomes difficult to see what makes it unlike a QWERTY keyboard. Yes, the accelerometer, and joysticks would be rather opulent for a computer keyboard, but the velocity sensitivity was always what made the jammer beyond simple DIY. As it is, I can make a keyboard of on-off buttons in a roughly hex grid for about $15 using a couple of QWERTY boards. And I currently am doing so.

Despite what sounds a bit negative, I will probably still want a jammer once (if?) it is available. 

I've always been curious, Jim, if you are a musician? I think you've got a cool product but from watching the design change over the last few years and seeing the press material, it appears to me like you don't have any actual musicians involved. 

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)