New Gestural Instrument, ‘The Glide’ (Sneak Preview)

South Carolina-based musician and inventor Keith Groover has introduced The Glide – a new instrument, designed to translate gestures into sound.

The Glide uses two controllers, one for each hand, and each controller has three accelerometers (for the X, Y, and Z axes.) Each of these accelerometers controls a different facet of musical expression.

It has a built-in sound engine, and can also be used wirelessly (MIDI over Bluetooth) as a controller for other synthesizers.

Here’s what Groover has to say about The Glide:

The Glide is a musical instrument, not a computer interface. There is no software algorithm reading your motions and interpreting those motions into various subroutines. Notes are immediate and responsive down to the millisecond. When you play it you are literally playing the accelerometer, just like a violinist plays a string or a trombonist plays a column of air.

To choose tones and choose the octave, there are two buttons on one controller, three buttons on the other controller, and a small joystick. This adds up to 48 different notes instantly accessible at any time, and with the built-in instant transposition, you can play all of the notes the human ear can hear (and a bunch more.)

With just these two controllers, you have complete control over pitch, volume, rhythm, tone, glide, and more. The amount of musical expression available is enormous.

Pricing and Availability

The Glide is expected to be available in early-to-mid 2019, priced around US $100-150. See The Glide site for details.

18 thoughts on “New Gestural Instrument, ‘The Glide’ (Sneak Preview)

      1. The Demo was great, I can’t wait to get my hands on one! I have a Hot Hands and it has just three (more like two and a half) axises of control and once I started playing with that I started imagining something closer to The Glide.

        I’m genuinely surprised by the negative reactions. Don’t let the bastards get you down! Just because *they* don’t get it, doesn’t mean you haven’t created something very cool and original here!

        I for one have no doubt that I’ll get different and unique results from this instrument and I can’t wait to get mine!

    1. Wowwwwwww. Well, thanks to the comments, this article is completely useless to me and my efforts to promote this project I’ve poured my heart and soul and knowledge into for the last nineteen months in the hopes of making an instrument that is accessible, expressive, and inexpensive.

      Good job, guys.

    2. Why are electronic musicians so often the biggest luddites in the world?

      The point of being a synthesist is to take new ideas and technology and do something interesting with them – not to wank around with remakes of synths and music from 40 years ago.

      The Glide is very clearly in the tradition of instruments like the theremin – where your gestures directly and discretely control the sound you hear. And like the theremin, it looks like an instrument that takes practice and discipline to play well.

      Imagine if the theremin was being introduced today! People would gripe about Leon Theremin being a wanker!

      Given that musicians are such a Luddite bunch, though, making some really expressive performance demos is going to be very important if you want to have interest in this.

      1. I’m glad you get that. It was important to me to have one continuous and unedited take for the entire demo, because I wanted to show that it’s a completely functional prototype. And, kind of like what you’re saying, imagine if someone invented a violin, played it for three months, and then tried to demo it. You probably would only get a taste of it’s potential!

    3. Awful, AWFUL comment from a completely pointless opinion.

      If you can’t see beyond a demo to the potential of a tool like this, then move on. Why crap on it because you don’t get it? I hope the designer will take the feedback into account for the next demo, but regardless, I hope this comment is deleted.

      1. Wade… so any comment that you disagree with should be deleted? Yeah… the world according to Wade!

        I stand by my comment completely… talk of Theremins and all sorts of nonsense here is not relevant.. Why? Simply because all of those interfaces and instruments led to RESULTS and musical outcomes that were not possible by other means. This system offers nothing whatsoever that can’t be achieved through a keyboard, mod wheel/aftertouch, maybe a pedal.

        So why learn a whole new system that can play 48 notes with a level of expression that can’t be gotten by traditional techniques? It seems pointless to me…. hence my original comment…. learn to play well, it will take you a lot further than this kind of nonsense.

        As for being a luddite… just so you know, as well as keyboards I also input/write using a Touché, Theremin, Eigenharp, Leap Motion, various touch sensor midi programs on numerous iPads and am awaiting a Genki Wave.

    1. hey @Keith Groover, haters gonna hate… don’t get into it
      is there any way I can hit you up directly for some questions? thank you!

  1. Wow, this looks amazing. I love the way it looks and I’ve always wanted hand controllers like this. Hope it’s super successful. The designer obviously is passionate and dedicated to creating something amazing. At first I thought it was somehow an oculus based tool, but so glad as I think it’s a better design. Couldn’t care less about any demo, as this is obviously a tool that could be used in a myriad of ways, and would take time to master like any real instrument. If it’s as responsive as the designer claims, that’s the sign of a truly expressive tool.

  2. It does look intriguing, despite the small number of negative comments. It appears to echo the ‘plucked string” interaction paradigm, so a string synthesis engine demo would be cool. And @keith I would strongly recommend a recent lecture by Miller Puckett – the limitations of computers as musical tools. He advocates quite strongly for the element of chaos or randomness in DMI design.

    1. Thanks for the comment and the recommendation, Brendan. I’m listening now. I would say that I didn’t approach this instrument as a computer, but as an instrument based very specifically on the accelerometer. In my experience as a musician, all of the great melodic instruments are built around the manipulation of a very specific thing, like a column of air or the vibration of a string. I see this instrument as being in that same vein. As a result, I’ve learned things about gravity and acceleration that I never would have otherwise, just like I learned about harmonics and pitch ratios by diving deeply into the cello and guitar. I’ll be releasing another video very soon going into more depth, so if you are interested, subscribe to the youtube channel. Thanks again.

  3. I will certainly subscribe Keith, count on it. As a DMI designer I understand how thankless a task it can often be, particularly as I design instruments for musicians with profound disabilities. You raise some interesting points – musicians manipulate and control a physical thing or things, with multidimensional levels of fine and gross motor control, so why not a ‘virtual’ physical thing too, in thin air. All the research and practice energy these days is about AR/VR. Enjoy Miller’s lecture btw, it literally changed the way I think about DMI design 😉

  4. @TY – why use a computer to type comments – Learn to write letters traditionally with your hands and ink!

    Pionos and Keyboards also where build to make music more accessible then plucking strings by hand!
    Then again even strings are far to easy to play – learn to use your voice – all natural and traditional!
    All instruments are just fake – learn to sing!

    Enough counter rant …

    I think tihis is an amazing instrument ready for 2020!
    Offering new ways to physically interact with tones and harmonies!

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