New Instruments Going Mainstream


As a musician and music consumer, it’s important to stay on top of trends and newalsphredevelopments in the music industry. This includes keeping up to date on business matters, as well as creative and technological changes in the field.

Advances in technology and electronics have allowed musical inventors to create innovative new devices. Developments in instruments led by human gesture have been a trend to watch — notably in the electronic music field– creating an increased emphasis on performance presence and visual components.

Here are some exciting new instruments that we may begin to see in mainstream music:

  • AlphaSphere: Unveiled earlier this month, the AlphaSphere is shaped like a large football and has forty-eight pressure pads arranged around the sphere that can be programmed with different sounds. Pressing a pad with increasing pressure changes the notes as your press harder. This device is expected to be a big hit with electronic musicians, and has already caught the eye of IBM and Microsoft.
  • Hexenkessel: Created by Jacob Sello, the Hexenkessel is a 22″ timpani that uses multi-touch technology to control live electronic sound and visuals. It includes a modified LED projector, webcam and lasers and is intended for use in multi-media stage performances.
  • Body movement technology: Innovator Russ Maschmeyer created a new instrument by hacking a Microsoft Kinect game machine. It follows body movements and turns them into notes, allowing musicians to play notes from thin air.

These instruments, and others like them, have the potential to vastly change performance. The audiovisual and movement aspect of these devices creates interesting new opportunities for musicians to add multi-media and multi-performance dimensions to their shows.

Tell us what you think! Do you prefer the “traditional” musical instruments like woodwinds and strings? Or are you excited by the possibilities of new advances in musical instruments?

Up next: When and how to choose a stylist.

The SongCast Crew

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