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Thummer(tm)
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seraph
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 7:09 am    Post subject: Thummer(tm)
Subject description: new controller
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Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

arrow http://www.thummer.com/

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mosc
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This is very interesting to me. I would love to try one of this controllers out. The non-isotropic layout of the conventional keyboards has always bugged me. I'm not sure this is going to be any better, but it looks very promissing.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

very interesting Carlo! Thanks for the link Very Happy

Edit; hmm- just heard the price. $495. That's a lot of money for a controller. Considering that you can pick a piano up thses days for next to nothing, I don't think it will catch on.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Don't some accordions have keyboards similar to this?
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This one might be fun too... http://electro-music.com/forum/topic-10643.html
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

yes- but this is the benchmark and did that really catch on?

IMO these instruments- apart from scoring well in the expression department- are, at the end of the day, toys.

I quite like that linked one mosc (well actually I liked both- and I agree with you on the 'isometric' thing). The linked one looks like a robo-lobster! Shocked :p
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:
yes- but this is the benchmark and did that really catch on?

IMO these instruments- apart from scoring well in the expression department- are, at the end of the day, toys.


The Omnichord is a GREAT instrument for bending. If you ever come across one of these babies, be sure to buy it. There is MUCH more in the Omnichord than meets the eye.

See:
http://www.klangbureau.de/Omnibend_E.html
http://electro-music.com/forum/viewtopic.php?highlight=omnichord&t=473
http://electro-music.com/forum/viewtopic.php?highlight=omnichord&t=5950
http://electro-music.com/forum/viewtopic.php?highlight=omnichord&t=6621 (Mosc playing Portochord on this one Smile )

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The main interest for me, is that it is a low-cost (to me - everything is too expensive to v-un-v Wink) generalized keyboard. It is designed to accommodate alternate tunings of up to 19 tones/octave.

Probably the best-known benefit of a generalized keyboard is the ability to transpose a scale or chords to different keys without changing the shape of that scale or chord on the keyboard. Of interest to microtonalists is the ability to layer accidentals on top of accidentals. This page has a decent explanation for beginners:

http://www.microtonal.co.uk/notakey.htm
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

GovernorSilver wrote:
The main interest for me, is that it is a low-cost (to me - everything is too expensive to v-un-v Wink)


$495- low-cost??? WOW- can I have YOUR job??? Very Happy Laughing
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:

$495- low-cost???

Quote:
The Wilson U-990 (MicroZone) 9-ranks of 90 keys each, 810 keys total US$8800.00
Wilson U-648, 6-ranks of 48 keys, 288 keys total US$3825.00

arrow http://www.starrlabs.com/keyboards.html

it's only a matter of comparison Exclamation

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph wrote:
v-un-v wrote:

$495- low-cost???

Quote:
The Wilson U-990 (MicroZone) 9-ranks of 90 keys each, 810 keys total US$8800.00
Wilson U-648, 6-ranks of 48 keys, 288 keys total US$3825.00

arrow http://www.starrlabs.com/keyboards.html

it's only a matter of comparison Exclamation
Shocked

I suppose that puts it into perspective??? Laughing

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:
seraph wrote:
v-un-v wrote:

$495- low-cost???

Quote:
The Wilson U-990 (MicroZone) 9-ranks of 90 keys each, 810 keys total US$8800.00
Wilson U-648, 6-ranks of 48 keys, 288 keys total US$3825.00

arrow http://www.starrlabs.com/keyboards.html

it's only a matter of comparison Exclamation
Shocked

I suppose that puts it into perspective??? Laughing


Absolutely. The Thummer, when it comes out, will be the cheapest generalized keyboard out there.

I'd love to see you try to home-brew a generalized keyboard.

BTW, I was merely teasing. I know several musicians who are on extremely limited budgets (you complained about a $200 synth being too expensive - that does give an impression of a VERY limited budget) such as yourself, who make music only on home-brew or otherwise very cheap gear. More respect to you!
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seraph
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

GovernorSilver wrote:

Absolutely. The Thummer, when it comes out, will be the cheapest generalized keyboard out there.

and this one Question
Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

or this Question
this Question and that Question

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph wrote:
GovernorSilver wrote:

Absolutely. The Thummer, when it comes out, will be the cheapest generalized keyboard out there.

and this one Question
Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.


....will definitely not be cheap, as you probably saw on the tuning list archives.

Not by v's standards, and most assuredly not mine!!!

I didn't say the only generalized keyboard. I said, the cheapest generalized keyboard, amigo.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

GovernorSilver, do you have any experience with these types of keyboards.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I tried the Starrlab that seraph posted about once. I thought it a bit unintuitive, because the keys were slightly slanted to the left.

As to actually owning one, I've never been able to afford one. The Thummer will be the first affordable generalized keyboard. And it looks like the keys are not slanted in one direction or another. Keep in mind the $497 price is in AUSTRALIAN dollars. M-Audio, Novation, etc. make keyboards that sell around that price range. The Thummer has poly aftertouch, too, btw. You know of any other new keyboards with poly aftertouch that cost less than $500 US?

BTW, I owned a Chapman Stick for a little while, so I'm somewhat comfortable with fingering notes in 2 dimensions.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 2:22 am    Post subject: The Thummer
Subject description: New Electronic Musical Instrument
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Seraph, Mosc, GovernorSilver, v-un-v, et al. --

I appreciate your interest in my forthcoming electronic musical controller, the Thummer™. Please allow me to address some of the issues raised in this forum topic’s discussion of it.

As pointed out by GovernorSilver, the proposed price for the Freedom Thummer (the first commercial version of the Thummer) is just under 500 *Australian* dollars, which is only about 375 US dollars. Yes, that’s more than you’d pay for a commoditized piano-style keyboard controller, but then, such a piano-style keyboard wouldn’t give you the expressive power of the Thummer, or the Thummer’s much more logical note-layout, on which you can play music that is inconceivable on a piano keyboard. The Thummer costs more because it’s worth more. Isn’t that fair?

I am intrigued by v-un-v’s comment that “IMO these instruments – apart from scoring well in the expression department – are, at the end of the day, toys.” I agree, to the extent that music-making is called “playing” for a reason. A musical instrument should invite playful exploration, rewarding it with new musical insights and suggesting new opportunities. In that the Thummer has these qualities, it is indeed toylike – and proudly so. But is suspect that v-un-v was suggesting a less laudatory meaning; perhaps an explanation of the distinguishing characteristics of “toys” could be suggested?

Thanks! :-)

Jim Plamondon
CEO, Thumtronics Ltd
The New Shape of Music™
www.thummer.com
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 2:32 am    Post subject: Re: The Thummer
Subject description: New Electronic Musical Instrument
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Jim Plamondon wrote:

I appreciate your interest in my forthcoming electronic musical controller, the Thummer™.

welcome Jim to electro-music.com Very Happy
could you elaborate on the meaning of "forthcoming" Question any idea when it will be on sale worldwide Question

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

welcome Jim, great to have you here on electro-music.com

I wish you all the best of luck with your new Thummer keyboard. I'm sure with anything new you are going to get strong reactions - both positive and negative. Personally, I have been wrong so many times that I tend to reserve judgement until I try something out.

I've watched many of the videos on your site. Very interesting. Ever think of adding a accelerometer to Gavin's head? Wink

New performance interfaces take a long time to catch on sometimes. Look at the Theremin. For years it was a novelty item played by only a few die hards. Now it is making a huge come back. It's more popular then ever.

I'd love to try one...

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 7:39 am    Post subject: Re: The Thummer
Subject description: New Electronic Musical Instrument
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Jim Plamondon wrote:
I am intrigued by v-un-v’s comment that “IMO these instruments – apart from scoring well in the expression department – are, at the end of the day, toys.” I agree, to the extent that music-making is called “playing” for a reason. A musical instrument should invite playful exploration, rewarding it with new musical insights and suggesting new opportunities. In that the Thummer has these qualities, it is indeed toylike – and proudly so. But is suspect that v-un-v was suggesting a less laudatory meaning; perhaps an explanation of the distinguishing characteristics of “toys” could be suggested?



Hello Jim- wonderful to have you here and welcome of course!

Yes good question. I think because it is plastic and electronic (and small) I placed it in the toy catagory and also mainly because I come from a family of pianists (although to be fair- I'm not a very good pianist myself- prefering just to twiddle and make lots of noise Smile ) and an instrument to me has always been something that has weighed a tonne.

I think another reason I branded it a toy is because for the past 25 years I have owned a Suzuki Omnichord- and the Thummer very much reminds me of that- not that that's a bad thing- as the omnichord is great fun- I would also love to play with a Thummer!

I hope that answers your question Smile

fire away if not.

Tom (-middle aged computer-aided product design student!!- Wink )

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 7:42 am    Post subject: Re: The Thummer
Subject description: New Electronic Musical Instrument
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v-un-v wrote:
and an instrument to me has always been something that has weighed a tonne.



PS hoping not to start a flame war Embarassed

PS fwiw my harmonica could fall into the same catagory- I would consider very much that an instrument Very Happy

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DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKSEN.
IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS.
ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 8:04 am    Post subject: Re: The Thummer
Subject description: New Electronic Musical Instrument
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v-un-v wrote:
v-un-v wrote:
and an instrument to me has always been something that has weighed a tonne.



PS hoping not to start a flame war Embarassed

if you were born in a family of bagpipe players your perception would be different today Wink I very much envy musicians that go to gigs without a cartwheel Cool a thummer and a laptop should be OK Idea

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Welcome, Jim!

$375 US??? Wow, I know of some popular MIDI keyboards (eg. Novation Remote series) that sell for more than that!

Any plans to come out with a Thummer model that facilitates more than 19 tones/octave scales?
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:44 pm    Post subject: The Thummer(tm)
Subject description: Response to questions
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Gentlepersons,

I appreciate your many kind words of support and insightful questions.

By "forthcoming," I mean that we expect to ship the Freedom Thummer in time for Christmas 2006.

By "worldwide," I mean that we intend to sell and ship the Thummer to customers throughout the world. We may be restricted in where we can sell it initially, due to individual nations' requirements, such as (in the US) FCC & UL compliance, (in the EU) WEEE compliance, and similar compliance requirements elsewhere. Since the USA is the world's largest single market, and has some of the least restrictive requirements, we will target the US first, working to meet the requirements of other nations thereafter, based on market size and simplicity of meeting their requirements. We have no specific schedule at present (so please don't ask me to move your country forward on the schedule!).

Regarding "accelerometers," a subsequent version of the Thummer -- the eMotion(tm) Thummer -- is expected to contain a suite of (electronic) linear accelerometers and gyroscopes, providing up to six more degrees of freedom (for up to thirteen, total, given the up to seven degrees of freedom provided by a Freedom Thummer). This is far more expressive potential than any previous musical instrument has had, and should deliver a very cool on-stage presence. (The eMotion Thummer would be supported/positioned/stabilized by a single forearm brace, making it easy to move & rotate the Thummer through space.)

Regarding the time it takes for new performance interfaces to catch on -- note that the guitar sold under 50,000 units per year in the USA in the early 1950's; the accordion outsold the guitar by 5:1. Yet guitar sales rose to over a million units per year in just over a decade (this data from "The Music Trades 100th Anniversary Edition"). This despite the fact that (for example) the first Fender(r) Stratocaster(r) guitar cost a full month's pay for the average US worker. Because the Thummer (a) exposes the structure of music in its keyboard geometry, and (b) separates the selection of notes from the control of expression, it is significantly easier to learn than the guitar -- and it only costs 3 days' pay (using current US wage data). The guitar was a "new interface" as far as its millions of purchasers were concerned.

So long as Thumtronics provides excellent self-paced "How to Play the Thummer" and "Undertanding Music with the Thummer" materials online, I expect that we'll be able to ramp up sales at a considerably faster rate that the guitar achieved.

This is not to say that the Thummer will "replace" the guitar! That is not my objective at all. The Thummer is a great second instrument for people who already play an instrument, because the Thummer will help them understand music better. Likewise, the Thummer is a great first instrument for beginners, because it will give them a solid grounding in the structure of music, from which they will more-rapidly understand any other musical instrument.

Regarding supporting more than 19 tones per octave -- the Thummer can already do this. It turns out that within the context of tonal harmony, one never uses more than 19 notes per octave, no matter how fine the underlying division of the octave. You can divide the octave into 31, 51, 53, or n pieces -- whether equally-tempered or not -- but in the context of tonal harmony, you're never going to play more than 19 of those notes in any given key, in any tuning, of any scale. If you place Re (the note of symemetry of the pentatonic, diatonic, melodic, and double harmonic scales, among others) in the center of the Thummer keyboard, and use electronic transposition to keep it there across key changes, then all of the notes that you're ever going to want to play will be right there on the Thummer's 19-button-per-octave keyboard. Likewise, any "wolf intervals" will be off of the edges of the Thummer's keyboard. (Please think about the consequences of "keeping Re centred on the keyboard" before flaming me.)

Microtonalists are not used to thinking in terms of tonic solfa, but the combination of tonic solfa, electronic transposition, and a generalized keyboard turns out to be extremely powerful. The Thummer's keyboard layout, in particular, exposes the structure of music consistently across a wide range of musically-interesting tunings (the "meantone continuum"), giving microtonalists a simple and powerful new tool for exploring dynamic tuning changes -- tuning modulations, tuning progressions, and tuning "bends," for example. This has not previously been possible because no such generalized keyboard also provided the expressive power needed to control both (a) the usual gamut of expressive effects and (b) the additional expressive demands of dynamic tuning.

So, I would argue that the Thummer is a key, unlocking vast new territories of creative potential -- hardly the characteristics one would expect from a "toy."

Respectfully Yours,

Jim Plamondon
CEO, Thumtronics Ltd
The New Shape of Music(tm)
www.thummer.com

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