Game Of Thrones Theme On 8-Bit NES Keytar! Plus – Friggin’ MIDI-Controlled Lasers!

This video, via Greig (Theremin Hero), captures an 8-bit NES Keytar performance of the Game Of Thrones theme – with MIDI-controlled lasers.

Greig’s NESKeytar is a cross between an original Nintendo console, a Guitar Hero controller and a miniature toy keyboard. The hybrid instrument fully utilities the NES sound chip to produce lo-fi arpeggios, heard in this tribute to the theme of Game of Thrones. Continue reading

Korg Brings Back The Keytar With RK-100S


2014 NAMM Show: Korg has announced that it is bringing back the keytar, with the Korg RK-100S.

The original RK-100 Remote Keyboard was introduced in 1984, and was designed to free keyboardists from standing behind a stack of gear.

korg-rk-100s-keytarThirty years later, the new RK-100S improves on the original with new features and functions, including two ribbon controllers, an arpeggiator, and a vocoder. There are also ‘favorite’ buttons that allow you to register frequently-used sounds for one-touch selection.

The RK-100S also offers a built-in sound engine, not found on the original RK. Its MMT sound engine provides not only the standard analog synthesizer waveforms such as sawtooth and square, but also additional oscillator algorithms such as formant waveforms, noise, and PCM, which power two hundred programs

Here’s the official intro video: Continue reading

The Keytar Grand – A Short History

keytar-grandThe 88-key piano action keyboard has always been the ‘gold standard’ for keyboardists. So it should come as no surprise that, over the years, synth designers have tried to bring the feel and playability of the grand piano to the keytar synthesizer.

Unfortunately, the Keytar Grand, despite 40 years of effort from the greatest synth minds of the last two generations, has failed to garner much interest from players. We asked keyboard historian Mark Fail why the Keytar Grand has struggled to find its niche.

“The early 70’s Keytar Grands were made with discrete electronics,” he notes. “As a result, they could easily tip the scale at 200 lbs or more.”

James Brown, above right, was one of the first musicians to attempt live performance with a Keytar Grand. His interest in the instrument was short lived, though.

In a contemporary interview, Brown had this to say about the Keytar Grand: “The first time I tried to play that thing,” he said about the Keytar Grand, “my back locked up in the middle of the song.”

“I shouted ‘Help Me!’, but no one did anything. So I cried ‘Ow!’ But, still – nobody helped me out.”

“Finally, I told the horns to take it to the bridge and drop it. I had to tell them to ‘Drop it!’ two times before they threw that thing in the river.”

Continue reading