Audanika’s Gabriel Gatzsche posted some interesting thoughts on his Tumblr blog today, addressing the questions “Why design new music keyboards?” and “Why make iPad music apps?”
Audanika creates musical instruments like SoundPrism, demonstrated above, which uses an alternate keyboard layout to express musical relationships in ways that are impossible with traditional keyboards.
Gatzsche believes that traditional music keyboards and notation offer one approach to encoding and decoding music, but that there are many other approaches worth exploring.
With that in mind, he sets out his goals for Audanika and the electronic music applications that they create:
- We want to create musical interfaces that reduce the coding process: We assume that the better a musical interface corresponds to the musical imagination the less coding is required. Less coding means a better musical progress, more time for musical ideas, less practicing, more making music. Our dream is that one day anyone will be able to express their own emotions musically.
- We want to create musical interfaces that stimulate the musical imagination: A certain musical imagination can be the origin of a musical idea. Vice versa playing a new musical instrument can extend existing musical imaginations or create new ones. Our instruments shall have interfaces you have never seen before. By using them you are going to encounter completely new musical ideas.
- We want to create musical interfaces that motivate to think about musical logic, to improvise and to compose: Active music creation stimulates the linkage of the left and right brain hemisphere. The reason for that is that music creation is both, an intuitive and creative activity on the one hand and a logic thinking process at the other. If a musical instrument‘s interface is logical, it will motivate to think about music. Instead of memorizing patterns you will understand relationships and make better musical decisions.
Gatzsche’s SoundPrism, like Rob Fielding’s Pythagoras, is more than just an alternative keyboard, it’s a tangible expression of music theory that encourages you to think about music in different ways.
This is not new. Don Buchla’s instruments similarly express a musical philosophy that encourages users to think outside of traditional scales and traditional approaches to interacting with sound.
But tablet computers are radically accelerating experimentation, by putting “experimental” music interfaces into the hands of thousands.
“The possibilities we have with instruments like SoundPrism are only the beginning,” adds Gatzsche.