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. Promoted by Yamaha as “a digital musical instrument for the twenty-first century,” the TENORI-ON’s “visible music” interface is suitable for both serious musicians and beginners to electronic music.
“In days gone by, a musical instrument had to have a beauty, of shape as well as of sound, and had to fit the player almost organically…. Modern electronic instruments don’t have this inevitable relationship between the shape, the sound, and the player. What I have done is to try to bring back these…elements and build them in to a true musical instrument for the digital age.” —Toshio Iwai
Iwai is an established multimedia artist, musician, and inventor, who seeks “the feeling of childhood in the digital world.” He has worked in television and created a number of computer and video games, including the acclaimed (and addictive) Electroplankton (2005) for the Nintendo DS, in which players generate atmospheric music by manipulating sea creatures.