Sunday, December 09, 2007
The Soul of a New Instrument - WSJ.com
DCI has known about Jim Plamondon and his new musical instrument, the Thummer, since we talked about bringing him to SXSW from his then-home in Australia in 2005. He couldn't make that trip, but since then he's moved to Austin, hoping to find interested musicians in the "live music capital of the world." The Thummer was featured
in Friday's Wall Street Journal.
The idea for the Thummer began when his wife and daughter both quit piano lessons after only six months. His wife, Patti, complained that learning to play separate lines on each hand "was like reading Spanish with one eye and French with the other," she recalls.
The Thummer doesn't make any noise on its own. It must be plugged into a computer or synthesizer, which uses software to mimic other instruments. To adjust volume and pitch, players thumb a pair of joysticks mounted on the side -- hence the instrument's name. Like the Nintendo Wii controller, it has an internal motion sensor, so players can also adjust the sound by moving the instrument around as they play it.
Marc Rossi, a synthesizer specialist and professor of piano and jazz composition at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, says the Thummer sounds like a good-quality synthesizer. He says the internal motion sensor is what's truly innovative: "That could be a whole new world."
The Digital Convergence Initiative of the Texas Technology Corridor –
An opportunity to be a leader in establishing Central Texas as the world center of innovation for Digital Convergence.
As more intelligent, smaller digital machines are developed, as digital circuits evolve, and as digital communications becomes ever-more pervasive, they will continue to converge with computers, televisions, security systems, electric appliances, and many other devices, to provide new and useful functions for both the home and work environments.
This is Digital Convergence, and is the tip of the iceberg - the symbiotic coalescence of technologies, markets, and functions forming the foundation for present and future innovation and growth.
Download and read the DCI's report, Digital Convergence Initiative: Creating Sustainable Advantage in Texas. 3.5MB pdf file. Click here to download.