As technology seems to continually cater to the need for instant gratification, with little, if any effort on the part of the end user, the next phase might just be musical instruments one can play pain free. In this case, a string-less guitar that won’t incur blistered and calloused fingertips.
Recently launched on Kickstarter, the Kurv Guitar consists of two parts, a button board where you press chords and notes, and a pick. The pick contains a sensor that detects strumming movements, just like playing on a traditional guitar with strings.
The button board on the left is for fingering chords and notes and the plectrum on the right is for strumming chords and picking single notes.
Essentially, the Kurv Guitar is a string-less digital instrument that promises to allow anyone to learn and play songs using touch, motion, and gestures. The fruit of research from Goldsmiths, University of London and the University of Sussex, the device combines music synthesis software, sensor technologies, and machine learning in a system that works with the player’s smartphone.
The virtual musical instrument interacts with music synthesis engines on a mobile phone.
As per Dr. Mick Grierson, co-founder of Kurv and Reader at Goldsmiths Department of Computing commented, “For the first time, we can run advanced music synthesis engines on your mobile phone. When you combine this power with wearable technologies and machine learning, you can develop new musical instruments that were considered science fiction only a few years ago.”
Corroborating an earlier statement regarding the effort involved in really learning how to play a guitar, Dr. Mick state, “Learning the guitar takes time, commitment, and is tough on the hands.” Co-designer of the Kurv, Tania Fauvel says, “We started by looking at large surveys of people's’ hands. Your fingers can comfortably touch eight distinct places on your palm. In Western music, there are eight notes in an octave, eight notes in a scale, and eight chords in a key.”
NOTE: In the interest of accuracy of music theory, an octave consists of two note (one note and a note one octave above it, i.e., 440 Hz / 880 Hz), a scale exists between two notes an octave apart and can consist of as many as 12 tones, and there are far more than eight chords possible in any key.
Painless guitar practice.
Specifications for the Kurv include compatibility with devices running iOS 8 or later (must have Bluetooth 4.0, BLE). The chord/note module weighs 35g and measures 45 mm x 86 mm x 45 mm while the plectrum weighs in at 21g and measures 50 mm x 55 mm x 15 mm, not exactly your small jazzer pick. Battery life is specified as 5 hours continuous and supported protocols are MIDI and OSC. Interestingly, to create new musical instruments using the Kurv, a software development kit is also in the works.
On that note, there has been a wild rumor in the music biz that claims guitar players get the most action. Well here is an instrument that will let the player hug anyone or anything without a guitar getting in the way. For more details, visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kurv/kurv-guitar