Austin-based company Thumrtonics has combined the familiarity of a computer keyboard with Wii-esque motion detection, and a few other controls, to create what has to be a unique musical instrument.
It offers players the same fingering in every musical key, has its own notation, and its various features can be individually turned on or off, allowing users to learn how one feature works before combining them.
It also features “Dynamic Tuning” which allows tuning to be changed smoothly in real time. The Thummer has been designed to be more expressive for both live and studio musicians and DJs, allowing them to control more separate musical effects at the same time, and is supposed to be easier to learn.
Rather proudly, Thumtronics say that the full potential of the Thummer hasn’t been realised yet, because that amount of musical expressive freedom has never been available before in any other instrument.
It’s supposed to be more accessible to the video game generation, using parts that they’re already familiar with (such as thumb-controlled joysticks), and offering more instant musical results than traditional instruments.
Here’s a video, from ThumFest 2005, which discusses the expressiveness of the Thummer:
And here’s the Thummer in Concertina mode, playing “Summertime”:
More videos are available here
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