New keyboard allows you to play piano like a guitar

New keyboard allows you to play piano like a guitar

Scientists have developed a new piano keyboard that is fitted with sensors to produce sound effects similar to those heard through string instruments such as guitar.

Developed by a team of technicians, composers and musicians at Queen Mary, University of London, TouchKeys allows pianists to try out musical techniques previously unimaginable on a keyboard.

Each key is fitted with a set of 26 sensors that work much like a smartphone's touchscreen to detect touch. The sensors know exactly where a finger has been placed, letting the player experiment with sounds.

For example, waggling the finger on a key creates the sound of vibrato, often heard from a violin. Sliding it up and down the length of the key bends pitch, like a rock guitarist does, 'New Scientist' reported.

Algorithms prevent the keyboard from going out of pitch or being triggered unintentionally, such as when pianists move their fingers to prepare for future notes or change hand position.

The finger waggle to create the vibrato sound only works when your finger moves fast enough.

The team tested the system on eight pianists who were given a musical score to play on the new keyboard.

They were able to play it with little practice, triggering incorrect vibrato only 9 per cent of the time.

Researchers will launch the keyboard on crowdfunding website Kickstarter later this month to raise funds.

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