Yamaha Tenori-On Selected For Inclusion in the Collection of the Museum Of Modern Art in New York City

9/4/2009 [Music Production Tools ]

Innovative Instrument is the Fifth Yamaha Product Selected for the Prestigious Museum's Collection

BUENA PARK, Calif.— The Yamaha Corporation announces that its TENORI-ON has recently been selected for inclusion in the collection of the Architecture and Design Department of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City (MoMA). The TENORI-ON is the fifth Yamaha product to be selected for inclusion in MoMA's collection.

Other Yamaha products that have been selected for inclusion in the permanent collection of MoMA's Architecture and Design department include:

  • 1978: Mario Bellini Cassette Deck/TC-800GL
  • 1985: Porsche Design Stereo Headphones/YHL-003
  • 1989: Yasuhiro Kira (formerly head of Yamaha's Product Design Laboratory) Wind Midi Controller/WX7
  • 1991: Kozu Design Audio Speaker/YST-SD90

Yamaha first marketed the TENORI-ON, a new digital musical instrument for the 21st century, in the United Kingdom in September 2007 and subsequently in North America, Europe, and Japan.

Design-wise , TENORI-ON is the product of a collaboration between Toshio Iwai, a leading media artist who provided the idea and design, and Yamaha, which provided its electronic musical instrument technology. Physically, TENORI-ON takes the shape of a square board, 205mm by 205mm, with a matrix of 16 vertical and 16 horizontal rows of LED buttons, or switches, (for a total of 256 in all), which, when blinking on and off, provide a visual image of the structure of the music. When these buttons are touched directly, it is possible to compose music intuitively, even without specialized knowledge of music, and enjoy playing with sounds. It is also possible to perform compositions in real time as the player is composing them.

TENORI-ON is therefore a completely new electronic "visible music" interface between the player and the world of music. The TENORI-ON unit has grip-shapes on right and left sides of its body, which is made of magnesium. The player holds the TENORI-ON unit with both hands, in a distinctive performance style for a musical instrument. The buttons and the size of the unit have been designed precisely to allow the player to touch all of the buttons with either the right or left thumb. In addition, the unit has been designed so that 256 LEDs on the rear of the unit light up to allow persons on the listener side of the stage to see the performance in action—;which, without doubt, is a truly unique design. It is certainly also worth noting that TENORI-ON and Toshio Iwai won the Grand Prize in the Entertainment Division of the 12th Japan Media Arts Festival sponsored by Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs in February 2009.

Mr. Iwai began the creation of experimental animation works when he was at the University of Tsukuba. He made the transition to works making use of computers and in 1985, he became the youngest artist to win the Grand Prize in the 17th Modern Japanese Art Exhibition, with his work "Time Stratum II." In 1997, Iwai and Ryuichi Sakamoto won the Golden Nika Prize in the Ars Electronica Festival for their joint work "Music Play x Images Play Music." In recent years, through his "ELECTROPLANKTON" (Nintendo DS), Iwai has drawn on the latest technologies to express the concept "Enjoying Sound and Light."

For more information, write Yamaha Corporation of America, Pro Audio & Combo Division, P.O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622; telephone (714) 522-9011; e-mail infostation@yamaha.com; visit www.yamaha.com.

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