Toshio Iwai. TENORI-ON digital music instrument. 2004

Toshio Iwai TENORI-ON digital music instrument 2004

  • Not on view

Tenori-on (Japanese for “sound in your palm”) is a handheld step sequencer that creates and displays synthesized music and light patterns, fusing the sequential and layering logic of electronic music with dynamic visual display. When pressed, each LED pixel emits a preprogrammed sound. Two speakers are located at the top of the screen, and buttons that determine the type of sound and beats per minute are arranged along the sides. Users program a specific sequence of sounds, which are activated with corresponding bursts of light. These patterns can be stored in the device and used during performance.

Gallery label from Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects, July 24–November 7, 2011 .
Additional text

One of the greatest parts of my job is getting to geek out over the many brilliant examples of design that are considered for the Museum’s collection. Among the most exciting (and drop-dead gorgeous) works we acquired last year is the TENORI-ON, by the Japanese artist Toshio Iwai, manufactured by Yamaha. View full post

Publication excerpt from Paul Galloway, Cataloguer, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, Musical MoMA: The TENORI-ON by Toshio Iwai and Yamaha, Inside/Out: A MoMA/P.S.1 Blog. November 19, 2009.
ABS, aluminum, LEDs, and electronics
8 1/16 x 8 1/16 x 1 5/16" (20.5 x 20.5 x 3.4 cm)
Gift of the manufacturer
Object number
© 2020 Toshio Iwai
Architecture and Design

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or, please email If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to