New TouchKeys Keyboard Meets A Modular Synthesizer

Developer Andrew McPherson let us know about this new video, which features the new TouchKeys Multi-Touch Keyboard system being used to control a modular synthesizer. 

Here’s what he has to say about the demo:

Thanks for featuring the TouchKeys on Synthtopia recently! I’ve gotten some nice feedback from readers here. I thought I’d share one final update, as the project closes in 7 days. Following on the CS-80 demo a couple weeks ago, I made a video of the TouchKeys controlling a real analog modular synth:

The TouchKeys themselves don’t generate CV signals, but they work well with the Silent Way modular synth control system by Expert Sleepers ( The TouchKeys send MIDI (or OSC) to Silent Way, and Silent Way generates the CV/Gate signals using either a compatible audio interface or one of the Expert Sleepers CV modules.

In the video, I configure the TouchKeys to generate pitch-wheel and mod-wheel messages, which Silent Way uses to send CVs for pitch and filter cutoff. But the whole system is extremely flexible, since mappings can be adjusted in three places: in the TouchKeys software, in Silent Way, or of course with the patch cords.

Using TouchKeys Without A Keyboard

McPherson also let us know that the TouchKeys DIY kits, which are designed to be added to any standard keyboard, can also be used without a keyboard as a multi-touch controller.

Here’s a video demo where the touch, rather than a mechanical key press, triggers the note (FXpansion Cypher is used in this video.):

TouchKeys In Action

The benefit of the TouchKeys system is that it makes new types of gestures available to keyboardists for controlling synth sounds. Traditional synth keyboard are limited to capturing velocity of key presses and, on some synths, channel aftertouch.

TouchKeys can sense where your finger is positioned on each key, which lets you do thinks like add vibrato to one note. You could also control filter cutoff, pitch or volume by sliding your fingers towards or away from the keyboard.

Here’s a video that features Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess testing out a keyboard modified with the TouchKeys system. In the video, Rudess explores some of the musical applications of these new capabilities:

TouchKeys is being developed as a KickStarter project, where individuals contribute to the development of the project and get first access to the final product. The project is already fully funded, but there are 6 days left, if you are interested in backing it.

One thought on “New TouchKeys Keyboard Meets A Modular Synthesizer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *