Archive for the 'tenori-on' Category


Tenori-On – cooler than an iPhone?


I attended the Tenori-On launch last night and after about 10 minutes of complete confusion as I played with it before finally glancing at the quick start guide on the many listening posts, I soon fell in lust with this playful delight of an object – I had to get me one of those magical flashing boxes. Hearing that there might only be 50 on sale on opening night, I rushed upstairs and got the second to last one before the crowds flooded in.

Luckily the record dude held on to it while I found out more about how it worked and waited in anticipation for Toshio Iwai’s (the product’s designer) presentation.

Wow! What a presentation.

Not because of its delivery, not because of any effects but purely because of the story that he told and the design processes he went through. You could see how this visual artist was heavily influenced by an old Japanese music box using a roll of paper with ‘Happy Birthday’ marked out in an interesting hole arrangement. You were fascinated as he just turned the paper round and played an inverse of the tune just by turning the paper round and feeding it in.

You could see his years of experimentation with old school graphics, games etc. all around the same theme of note and time display. How it was all about play and generation of nice sounds with minimal musical ability.

You then saw his determination as he finally launched a product that he has been refining with Yamaha for 6 years.

This guy had spent over a decade developing this thing. No matter what perceived usability flaws I find, I will know there are very good reasons for the product being built this way, and I would be devoted for conveying any marketing out to the lucrative market ahead. I have to respect his commitment and passion for his idea.

I’m not going to go into the features and the way it works here (save that for some future postings) but I have to say I was fascinated by his last feature explanation. Apparently, the Tenori-On allows you to record all the things that you do (instrument experimentations, arrangement changes, melody modifications) etc, and then share this whole process with a peer, so that you can relive how they came up with the end tune.

Can you imagine that? Just imagine your favourite artist sharing with you all the duff notes they hit, all the wrong turns they made and all the happy accidents that occurred on the way to them delivering your favourite song. Fascinating stuff there – bizarrely correlating with some rather conceptual ideas for financial traders the Health & Wealth EAs were coming up with earlier in the day.