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Thummer – mini music machine emphasises expressive effects

Thummer

Thummer. Now here’s an interesting little music synthesizer which is based around a button and joystick motif. Press buttons and wiggle the joysticks to give the sounds more emotional impact (i.e. bendy). The videos show off some of the potential nicely, although it’s clear that the sound samples will need to be top class to make this instrument happen properly. They’re looking for investment apparently, so nothing available for sale just yet.

 A musician playing a piano-style keyboard controller can either add expressive effects (with the pitch bend or mod wheels) or play accompaniment – not both – because the musician’s entire left hand must be devoted to one task or the other. The thummer-player, however, can play accompaniment with the fingers and control expressive effects with the thumbs at the same time. Further, the thummer’s pair of thumb-operated joysticks provides twice the expressive power of a piano-style keyboard’s pair of wheels. Therefore, the thummer has the potential to be considerably more expressive than a piano-style keyboard controller.

Red – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


  • The Thummer is just a USB-MIDI controller, not a synth; it has no built-in sounds. The solo sounds you hear in the Thummer’s demo videos (munged by YouTube, sadly) came mostly from a Yamaha VL70m, which uses the waveguide synthesis algorithm developed by Stanford & Yamaha (for a VL70m demo, see http://www.patchmanmusic.com/AudioDemos/VL70mV2.mp3). The accompaniment sounds, also controlled in real time by the Thummer, are usually generated by Reason. There are quite a few plug-ins that implement waveguide synthesis these days.

    Whatever synth algorithm you use, the Thummer will give you more control over more variables in real time, without sacrificing polyphony — and its keyboard has some rather cool properties, too (see http://www.thummer.com/easier.asp).

    To learn more, check out http://www.thummer.com.

    Thanks! :-)

    Jim Plamondon
    CEO, Thumtronics Inc.
    The New Shape of Music(tm)

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