The Mune Digital Instrument Is Designed For Live Performance (Sneak Preview)

mune-electronic-instrument

The Mune is a new MIDI controller, designed to be used as an expressive live performance instrument for electronic music.

Unlike many controllers, the Mune can be held by the performer to face the audience, allowing the audience to see what you are doing. And built-in wireless support lets you step away from your computer.

Here’s a video preview:

The Mune originated when Scott Stevenson met Andrew Staniland, a Canadian composer and music professor.

Staniland had been composing electroacoustic music, combining the instrumentation of classical music with digital sounds and effects, but he felt that performing using current digital interfaces left something to be desired.

“I found that I was at a disadvantage making music electronically, because, while I was doing a lot of things on stage like the other musicians, there was no visible cause-and-effect between my actions and the sound,” explains Staniland.

Staniland began a research project, with the objective of creating a more satisfying electronic music performance instrument. Stevenson met Andrew Staniland initially focused on the problem of creating an interface that could face towards the audience and make interactions visible – and also to match the expressiveness and sensitivity of an acoustic instrument.

After creating and using four prototypes, the duo decided to produce the instrument commercially.

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Features:

  • 16 force sensitive buttons
  • 8 high-resolution ribbon sensors
  • 3-axis Accelerometer
  • Dynamic backlighting
  • Wireless communication via Bluetooth
  • Wired communication via USB
  • 2000mAh battery included. Lasts 4+ hours. Charges via USB.
  • Compatible with Mac and Windows computers
  • Compatible with any MIDI-capable music software (that’s almost all music software)
  • Optional strap included

The developers plan to launch a crowdfunding campaign in August to produce the Mune. See the Mune Music site for more info.

via Sonic State

15 thoughts on “The Mune Digital Instrument Is Designed For Live Performance (Sneak Preview)

  1. What so many of these academic projects overlook is that what makes a live performance with traditional instruments so visceral is that the audience can generally relate to the instrument they are playing. Even if they have never played a guitar, drums or synth they can see the direct link between the player and the actual thing that generates the sound.
    Triggered sounds and effects will always suffer from a level of separation in a live situation – personally I don’t even see a problem with this.
    Efforts like this unit and so many others will inevitably fail because even though the musician can be seen to be putting more “effort” into a live performance (surely a function of ego in some part) there is still the knowledge that the controller is most likely alien to the audience and that some level of preparation has already gone into the sound they are hearing. The many and varied attempts at these devices also mean there are no commonly accepted performance tropes that people naturally understand with other instruments. This can obviously change but after a couple of decades of people trying I’ve yet to see anything achieve ubiquity beyond the grid controller.
    So far the only promising exception to this has been the Roli Seaboard and I still think part of the cleverness of its success has been using the keyboard layout as a broad starting point.

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    1. Djing is essentially “triggering sounds and effects”, yet plenty of people enjoy experiencing music live in this fashion. When I saw Carl Craig play, there was no connection visible between him, the music, his laptop, and his controllers. Yet, it was one of the greatest live music experiences of my life. (Yes, I was sober) People still turn out to see artists like Deadmu5, Avici, and David Guetta, despite the fact that they openly just “play” their live sets. I agree most controllers like this are utter failures, but I think it has more to do with the fact that they usually are not designed very well.

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      1. I think you are talking about different audiences. Deadmou5 plays music to dance to with the twist of a simulation of a live show, which is more interesting than just canned music. People see the difference but I don’t think they care too much who is up there, as long there is someone/something (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDMmcsH0fo8)

        I love well played live music and I relate to White Mike’s sentence: “the controller is most likely alien to the audience and that some level of preparation has already gone into the sound they are hearing.”
        Maybe it’s just my rock background

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      2. dj’s with their bpm match/sync buttons is so lame ,most ppl that go are on drugs anyway ,
        fact is most of us could turn up with our synths and do live tracks in the club,

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    2. Hey – Scott from Mune here. You raise some very good points and ones that I think about myself. I am a DJ and electronic music producer. I fully enjoy the live experience without viewing cause-and-effect. However, I do have a pretty good understanding of the skills it takes to put off any kind of electronic performance. This helps my appreciation.

      It has been a bit difficult to separate this experience from what many, many non-electronic musicians have told us: “that person looks like a technician not a musician”, “there is not much skill involved in DJing”, “all they do is push play”. While everyone on Synthtopia knows these things are not true, I think there is still a huge audience that just does not “get” what electronic music is about.

      All that said, we hope the Mune offers a lot more than audience visibility: flexibility, modular control surfaces, a great integrated experience with it’s software, an instrument that is enjoyable to pick-up, hold and play.

      And you are right, it is a great challenge to create any new ubiquitous format for an instrument. We’re going to try anyways 🙂

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      1. actually most of us know dj’s are pathetic ,we also know that box is just that a box with buttons ,
        we also i suspect can mix with out auto sync.
        fact is we are the organ grinders the dj’s are the monkeys
        i challenge any dj to a dual against my 909 and jdxi and akai
        because mine will be original and made on the site why the dj will just combine pre-existing tracks
        even the new stem format is just pre-existing tracks

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        1. I’ve seen just as many terrible live dance acts as dj’s. The thought that anything that’s live is automatically superior is ridiculous.

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  2. A couple of things:
    1) It looks like it’s heavier than an electric guitar or bass, which is not good on the back.
    2) The promo vid is professional, but WHY are we not seeing someone actually PLAYING it, so we can see for ourselves if it would be interesting to audience members?

    I have to agree with the previous posts.
    But don’t get me started on the DJ scene.

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    1. 1) It’s about the same as an electric guitar – and can be used many ways: on a desk like a traditional controller, on the strap as shown, or just on your leg. Unlike a guitar it’s mostly hollow on the inside so this helps!

      2) Sorry – we know. Demo videos are on the way. Making videos is not our forte – we spend as much of our time as we can on the product. We know we have to get more out there though.

      Scott

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  3. https://youtu.be/RMvPFCtPMAg

    I’ve found this on yt, very simlar concept, maybe even the same instrument made by the same constructor. There is a kind of performance at the end of the video. This is a faderbox with some buttons. I can hold nanocontrol vertically and I will get the same connection with the audience. And the same pain in the neck after gig. I’m with the person who posted above, that at the moment there is only one controller that has viable future as musical instrument – Roli Seaboard.

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    1. why i love the roli keyboard and so want one , i do think it’s way over priced and i base this on no actual moving keys so costs are down here i have never seen one in real life yet though
      but it looks to be some kind of foam with sensors in and foam is cheap if it is

      mune forget this box take on roli please

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