Haken Audio Continuum At Musikmesse 2014

At Musikmesse 2014, Cuckoo caught up with composer Ed Eagen, who was demonstrating the unique Haken Audio Continuum instrument.

The Continuum Fingerboard is a musical instrument that allows extensive realtime performance control. With a greater pitch range than a traditional 88 note MIDI keyboard, the Continuum offers realtime continuous control in three dimensions, for every finger that is placed on the playing surface.

Here’s what Cuckoo has to say about the Continuum:

The Continuum is something that I’ve been following with great interest. It’s an extremely sensitive and accurate digital instrument, designed to be an extension of your fingers really. It’s not an on-off synth. The Continuum almost feels like an acoustic instrument, in that it is just as (or in a way more) sensitive as, say.. a chello. All the sounds are designed to respond to your fingertips, continous pressure, pitch and Y-position changes.

The sound engine(s) itself is extremely impressive with a powerful Physical Modelling part, and also a beautiful FM implementation. I wish for them to be taken more seriously, and to get into the spotlight so that they could enter mass production at some stage. As of now, it is built and assembled specifically for each order, and thus has a pretty high price tag.

You can hear that for a newbie like me it’ll take a great deal of practice to get the tune right, and if you don’t have proper monitoring it’ll be extremely difficult to stay in tune. But when Ed was playing you can hear that with years of practice you’ll become the instrument.

This is that kind of instrument. An instrument to get attatched to.

See the Haken Audio site for more info on the Continuum.

via cuckoomusic

14 thoughts on “Haken Audio Continuum At Musikmesse 2014

  1. I am a piano player and over time I have tried and sold a lot midi keyboards because I’ve slowly switched to modular synthesis… keyboards slowly became more and more limited in expression (Acoustic piano is of course completely different business). But this.. this is and will be on my top list for a long time.. I do understand why the price is so high but I hope one day I will be able to connect it to my system. So Ed, please, stay in the business as long as you can, it’s wonderful job you are doing .)

  2. Dude. I go to U of I and have friends who are ECE majors. They know Haken and have been able to try out the continuum before. Actually, my friend just recommended I try sending him an email and asking him about it. This is sick seeing him getting recognition for his work. Man, UIUC represent!

  3. All the sounds in this video were from the Continuum Fingerboard’s internal synth, the EaganMatrix. Ed Eagan and I worked hard on the EaganMatrix; it is quite a powerful synth, and unlike other synths is specifically designed for continuous control by the Continuum Fingerboard. It is a matrix-based digital modular, where each patch point is a programmable formula based on X,Y,Z of the performer’s fingers. The patching mechanism and the modules in the EaganMatrix allow you to map finger information to sound synthesis parameters in musically useful (and nontrivial!) ways. If you are interested in doing your own designs in the EaganMatrix, keep in mind that this is a very different environment for programming sound, and good sound design is based on mathematical understanding of sound, good playing technique, and mapping that technique to the right aspects of the sound.

    It is possible to control VSTi or other hardware/software Midi synths with the Continuum. But keep in mind that synths are generally set up for Midi keyboards, which only start and stop sounds, and only provide initial velocity and timing info. Sounds that work great with Midi keyboards might be pretty lame with the Continuum; you will probably want to design special sounds for your Continuum, and not use stock Midi keyboard sounds. Also, the Continuum uses multiple Midi channels to transmit simultaneous notes, so that each finger can have its own pitch bend and controller values. If you are patient you can configure just about any Midi synth to receive on multiple Midi channels.

    It takes a time commitment to the most out of a Continuum Fingerboard. If you play an acoustic instrument, you spent years learning to play, and you can keep improving for the rest of your life. Think of the Continuum like that.

  4. That was fun! Lippold Haken is a genius, and he’s been pushing the bleeding edge of electronic music since (probably) before most of the readers of this blog were born. I apologize for the egregious self-link, but here’s another CF performance by Ed Eagan that, I think, shows off some of the subtle but amazing things you can achieve with the CF and the EaganMatrix: http://8128blog.blogspot.com/2013/03/vlnvlacelbass.html

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