Jordan Rudess: Mentioned in new interview with Roger Linn about his new Linnstrument.


Jordan Rudess has posted the following message:

Check out this article about Roger Linn and the Linnstrument in which I am mentioned. http://www.wired.com/tag/linnstrument/


Here's an extract about the Linnstrument:

With its flashing LEDs concealed beneath a layer of milky-white silicone, the LinnStrument resembles a Disco Barbie dance floor. Modeled on the chromatic grid system of a guitar, the rectangular surface is neatly parsed into 200 digit-sized squares. It’s ingenious. The candy-colored lights indicate the location of notes within a specific scale, and the colors are programmable. The eight rows (16 columns) can be tuned like a guitar, in fifths like a violin or cello, or in any other interval. To facilitate finding the right notes, the naturals (C, D, E, F, G, A and B) are lit, with all the C notes illuminated in a different color.

The LinnStrument can be played on a flat surface or slung low over the shoulder, keytar-style. Like a guitar, fingering patterns and chord shapes are identical, regardless of key. It’s also possible to time-stretch staccatos and crescendos or pitch-shift notes by bending them like Silly Putty. A musician can even make two notes go in separate directions, a trick that’s impossible to do on a conventional keyboard. Without the usual rules or limitations, possibilities abound. In this video, LinnStrument coder Geert Bevin composes a song for his dog Droopy that sounds like something from a Wes Anderson soundtrack.

The technique required to play the LinnStrument is a cross between playing the guitar and connecting Cartesian dots. Notes and chords are created by tracing lines across the pressure-sensitive pads. It helps to imagine three axes superimposed on each pad. Wiggle a finger back and forth on the X-axis, and, presto: instant vibrato (a change in pitch). For a tremolo effect (a change in volume), just press up and down on the Z-axis. Timbre (tone quality), the psychoacoustician’s catchphrase for everything not labeled pitch or volume, can easily be added to the mix by simply fingering the Y-axis.

Asked to give a quick demo, Linn smiles amiably and adjusts the iSight to provide a bird’s eye view of his LinnStrument. Even tethered via USB to a MacBook Pro (running Logic Pro X, Apple’s frontline music-studio program), the rig is ultra-compact. Compared to the 220-pound Yamaha CS-80, the five-pound LinnStrument is the embodiment of Moore’s law. After a quick axis primer, he limbers his fingers and begins to play: Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” on clarinet, an alto sax rendition of “Someone To Watch Over Me,” a quick classical violin solo, and a surprisingly punchy upright bass line.
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