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New British invention: the futuristic piano (Hans Zimmer approved)


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Nope. They should have used a theremin though

As I recall, the use of the continuum in KOTCS was fairly well publicized at the time, even though its presence in the score is decidedly subtle, bordering on unnoticeable.

Personally, I like the idea of these sorts of instruments. As much as I love piano (or indeed a traditional electronic keyboard), it can indeed be frustrating to be stuck with each note corresponding to a single pitch with a single type of decay. Post-attack manipulation of pitch, timbre, and/or dynamic level is an attractive concept; so many other instruments can do that.

But on the whole, I tend to prefer acoustic instruments over electronic ones. So I will only be TRULY excited when someone figures out how to achieve this sort of interface in a purely acoustic setting. The "fluid piano" is an interesting step in that direction, but it only allows manipulation of pitch, and only in a fairly cumbersome way.

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Actually the Fingerboard Continuum was used by our own Johnny "Curly" Williams in the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008.

Really?! Which cues?!

It is the electronic synth effect associated with the Crystal Skull's Theme, that wailing slightly undulating electronic sound. It is featured throughout the score.

Um, "Call of the Crystal", for example?

Yeah mainly this.

As I recall, the use of the continuum in KOTCS was fairly well publicized at the time, even though its presence in the score is decidedly subtle, bordering on unnoticeable.

Personally, I like the idea of these sorts of instruments. As much as I love piano (or indeed a traditional electronic keyboard), it can indeed be frustrating to be stuck with each note corresponding to a single pitch with a single type of decay. Post-attack manipulation of pitch, timbre, and/or dynamic level is an attractive concept; so many other instruments can do that.

But on the whole, I tend to prefer acoustic instruments over electronic ones. So I will only be TRULY excited when someone figures out how to achieve this sort of interface in a purely acoustic setting. The "fluid piano" is an interesting step in that direction, but it only allows manipulation of pitch, and only in a fairly cumbersome way.

I just read this article (I googled this gadget and related stories) and the inventor of the thing said that they were going to integrate it into the orchestra rather than try to bring it out in a noticeable way. Although I find it rather wryly funny that they claim it is used in a "revolutionary" way with the orchestra. Randy Kerber was apparently the person who sought the instrument out for JW and learned to play it in a month and Kerber's skill with Onder Martenot gave him a good advantage in learning to play it.

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My understanding of the continuum fingerboard is that it's simply a synthesizer with a unique keyboard that allows one to glide between pitches in a way similar to the ondes martenot. The quality of the sound is whatever synth patch is selected - a synth ondes martenot or theremin in the case of KotCS. It might have been used in place of a real ones martenot for cost effectiveness, or Williams/Kerber felt that the synth sound was more controllable than the real sound.

To be clear: the theremin and ondes martenot are not acoustic instruments; they are electronic instruments that use electricity to generate tones which are then amplified. They have been around for about a century. But they are not digital instruments; they can't be "programmed." (I should be crucified for the simplicity of that explanation).

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