In a matter of hours, this new musical instrument has shattered its Kickstarter goal. The Artiphon Instrument 1 is a multi-instrument controller that allows its user to play strings, pianos, drums and more on a single device. It’s designed so that anyone can pick it up and play it, but skilled instrumentalists can really make it sing. In an age where expressive musical instruments haven’t changed much, it’s easy to see why this one has become an instant hit.
The Artiphon Instrument 1 is an expressive digital music controller. Its neither acoustic nor electric, in that it doesn’t produce sound of its own — it controls instruments that exist in a digital environment. This gives the user the flexibility of playing a wide range of sounds while connecting with a large number of music apps. The possibilities of sonic expression are virtually limitless — in that the combinations of sounds, apps and instrumental expression are countless.
How does it work? The Artiphon features a touch-sensitive “fretboard” that allows the user to play piano notes, tap out drum rhythms or hold strings like a guitar. Adjacent the fretboard is a set of six strummable inputs for guitar-style play. There’s also a rotary knob that lets the user scroll through sounds and control other elements of the device.
It’s worth noting that the Artiphon Instrument 1 isn’t breaking new ground, necessarily. There are many other virtual controllers that allow for unconventional control of digital instruments. We’ve covered a few of the stand-outs in our six years in publication. And look what our friend Jeremy Ellis can do with a Native Instruments Maschine. Is the Artiphon Instrument 1 all that different?
Yes. The Artiphon is a special device, in that it provides a range of realistic instrumental experiences to players of all skill levels. What do I mean by “realistic instrumental experiences”? I mean that strumming a guitar on the Artiphon has similar action to what a guitarist might experience. The piano layout is translatable to an actual keyboard. Drumming is expressive and intuitive. This allows the user to control a variety of instruments in the way they would in real, “analog life”.
This makes the Artiphon Instrument 1 an excellent learning tool, a way for a beginner to choose a path they wish to explore further with an acoustic/electric insturment. It also makes it a brilliant creative tool. Even professionals could take this and a laptop on the road and create rich and complex music from a corner of a hotel room. It’s a flexible tool for a beginner, but it has depth that a serious musician can use to sketch out serious musical works.
It’s easy to see why this new musical instrument has earned $250k on Kickstarter just hours after launching the project. The sky is the limit, both for the makers of Artiphon and those who wish to pick one up. Beginner and professional alike.