KES Transactions on Innovation in Music

Publisher Future Technology Press
Vol. 1 No. 1 Special Edition - Innovation in Music 2013
Article TitleCrowdfunding Digital Musical Instruments: A Case Study
Primary AuthorAndrew McPherson, Queen Mary University of London
Pages 101 - 109
Article ID im13bk-010
Publication Date 17-May-15
AbstractTouchKeys multi-touch keyboard: from the lab to the stage Dr Andrew McPherson; Queen Mary, University of London

The TouchKeys are an augmentation of the piano-style keyboard which add multi-touch sensing to the surface of every key. On traditional keyboards, once a note is played, the performer has limited opportunities to shape its sound before it is released. The pitch and modulation wheels found on many keyboards require an entire hand to play, and aftertouch (key pressure) presents ergonomic challenges. By contrast, the TouchKeys measure the position of the fingers on the key surfaces, allowing the performer to add vibrato, pitch bends and timbre changes to each note independently just by moving the fingers on the keys during performance.

The mappings between touch data and sound have been designed to avoid interference with traditional keyboard technique, so the TouchKeys can build on the expertise of trained pianists with minimal relearning. Additionally, the TouchKeys are designed to work with existing keyboards. Thin sensor overlays attach to each key to measure the finger position while maintaining the familiar action of the keyboard.

This presentation will include a talk on the TouchKeys technology and a hands-on demonstration in which attendees can play the instrument. The talk will also discuss a recent successful crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter which raised support for producing and distributing TouchKeys instruments.
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