Rainboard Isomorphic Keyboard (Sneak Preview)

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This video is an original composition and performance by Steven Maupin using the gorgeous Rainboard – a DIY dynamic isomorphic keyboard:

An isomorphic keyboard is a musical device where a grid of notes is displayed to the user and the interval change between notes in constant for any given direction. The end result is the ability to move a musical passage between keys without learning a new fingering or spatial relation (transpositional invariance). What this means is that once you have learned a pattern, say a chord or a scale, that pattern is the same for all keys.

The Rainboard can interface the Musix iOS app in order to change layouts and adjust settings. As well, it can be played on its own after a layout is set.

The Rainboard is currently under development. See the Rainboard site for details.


7 thoughts on “Rainboard Isomorphic Keyboard (Sneak Preview)

      • Dude! The first thing I thought was ‘This is like an instrument they would play on Star Trek…’

        That said, the video is not making the greatest case for it being more elegant to play than regular keys or whatever. It’s intriguing, and I like the concept of fixed-interval grid sort of things, but I feel like it would just weird out my brain trying to play it. I’m sure it would improve with practice, but it comes off as sort of clumsy to play in the vid.

        Truly beautiful instrument, regardless.

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          • I find myself agreeing with both of your comments!

            This does look like it would take some practice to learn, and the demo video doesn’t make playing it seem especially effortless.

            But at least if you learned one “key”, you’d know them all. Sort of like barre chords on a guitar.

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  1. I guess I understand the fixation on arcade buttons in the context of button-mashy, instant gratification-type setups, but if you’re spending a bunch of time and money to make a physical isomorphic keyboard rather than use an iPad for melodic playing, why not include velocity sensitive triggers/buttons in the design?

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  2. This project is currently in the DIY test phase, hence the use of arcade buttons. All the parts can be bought off the internet and assembled with minimal electronics knowledge. Velocity sensitivity while hopefully follow in the future with hexagonal buttons!

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