Thereminesque and yet distinct in its own right, the airpiano is an exciting looking instrument which allows both discrete and continuous control of MIDI/OSC events and controllers.
Interfacing with dedicated software which can then be used to control and record to any other audio or sequencing software, the airpiano allows the musician to control things, without having to look at an external display, simply by holding, raising, lowering, sweeping and moving their hands over the instrument.
Although the sounds and effects produceable by the airpiano could be achieved with touch-based instruments, the team behind it believe there’s something cool, even magical, about the way the airpiano works.
When you consider its use as a live performance tool, rather than simply a way to get notes and other data into a sequencer, the idea should become clear. Certainly for some styles of music and performance, there’s something quite alluring about seeing the performer directly controlling their live sound through moving their hands in the space about them.
Case in point, take a look at this music video from Jo Hamilton, the first musician to get a prototype:
Here she demonstrates how the airpiano works:
The airpiano can be ordered for €1,099 (€1,149 international).
Hardware specifications are as follows:
- 8 infrared proximity sensors create up to 24 virtual keys and 8 virtual faders
- 40 LEDs provide easy orientation and visual feedback
- 1 momentary button allows switching between presets directly from the device
- 1/4″ connector for using an expression pedal or a foot switch
- Power 9Vdc
- USB 2.0
- Dimensions: 960 x 160 x 26 mm ; Weight: 2.8 kg
Software (Mac or PC) specifcations:
- Create and save arrangement presets
- Assign keys and faders with MIDI messages (OSC messages are sent automatically)
- Assign keys with preset-load messages (allows loading presets directly from the device)
- Set momentary button functionality
- Set pedal / foot switch functionality (MIDI CC , Global Velocity or Preset Loader)