Keyboards with built in 'smarts' about Music Theory - both conventional (eg TheoryBoard) and Microtonal (eg Lumatone) and everything 'in between' - including Brain Interfaces

They are currently in a 2nd kickstarter:

Pricing ranging from $499 to $799. Pricey, but then again it has a lot of touch sensitive pads and displays and multicolor LEDs.

Here is a review:
Irijule TheoryBoard Review // Can it help you write chord progressions and melodies? // THY-333

and the company website:

I didn’t find any mention of open sourceness or open hardware.

I’m tempted - It’s gotta be a better value than a ‘midi chord pack’!


I own one. It is a great tool but has drawbacks, read on before deciding whether you really want it or not.
There is nothing open source in it … even the main developer is not there anymore… no updates ever

Very interesting - if you could describe the drawbacks as you see them, even briefly, I would appreciate it.

OK. I like the way it works, so it is easy to improvise on a scale and get out of my standard chords. it fits well with my working style.
Now for the drawbacks :

  1. the pads sensibility is not that great compared to all other products on the market using sensistive pads. The trigger needs more force, so you get less sensistivity for low pressure. Private people outside of Irijule are selling foam pads to add under the rubber (I’ve done that) and it make the pads now with a correct sensitivity. But that’s a shame for a new prodcut in 2022/2023 compared to other products.
  2. Many features are announced since the launch 2 o 3 years ago. Absolutely NO firmware update has ever been released, and it looks like it will never happen. You’ll find a lot of information about it on related facebook pages. So if you’re ahhpy with current product abilities that’s fine, but don’t expect any update to come, unless something really new happens @irijule.
    Again look closely at user comments to make up you mind. this is a real product I can confirm, look at my videos here if you want
    this one BEFORE sensitivity mod Irijule TheoryBoard Thy333 test - YouTube
    these ones AFTER sensitivity mod
    Korg Wavestate Poly aftertouch with a Theoryboard THY333 - YouTube
    Irijule TheoryBoard Thy333 with Sensivity Mod - YouTube

I hope that helps

That helps indeed, thank you!

expensive toy imho !
Although it looks great :face_with_diagonal_mouth:

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So to encode conventional-chromatic-12tet music theory the 12 ‘column’ seems strongly appropriate. The 4 ‘rows’ seems more arbitrary, could be anywhere from 3 to 6 or even 12.

To accommodate other tunings the keys-buttons could be hexagonal in a 12 x 12 ‘matrix’.

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And of course, it turns out someone has been here before:

Harmonic table note layout - From Wikipedia,

The Harmonic Table note-layout, or tonal array, is a key layout for musical instruments that offers interesting advantages over the traditional keyboard layout.

Its symmetrical, hexagonal pattern of interval sequences places the notes of the major and minor triads together. It is sometimes called the Melodic Table note-layout, and more rarely the Triad note-layout. It is related to the Wicki-Hayden based keyboards and other isomorphic keyboards, both of which can be utilized on the jammer keyboard musical interface.

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This looks like something by Harry Partch [sp?], who built acoustic instruments I’m surprised his eccentric work isn’t referenced in this Wiki page.

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Indeed - of course, you could ‘take care of that’ and add Harry Partch to that Wikipedia page - he is mentioned and has his own page as well as a page on " Harry Partch’s 43-tone scale":

I changed the title of this ‘thread’ to:
Keyboards with built in ‘smarts’ about Music Theory - both conventional (eg TheoryBoard) and Microtonal (eg Lumatone) and everything ‘in between’

to make it less about the Irijule TheoryBoard and more about the relationship between music and keyboards, and even perhaps how Zynthian and other projects can use them.

Here are some references:

which references Keislar, D., History and Principles of Microtonal Keyboard Design, Report No. STAN-M-45, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University, April 1988:

I am wondering if either a standard music keyboard and or a ‘standard’ grid type controller could be made to do some interesting work with some ingenious software.

“Striso” - - has an isomorphic layout and playing is very responsive and good (with MPE implemented)

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Wow - that’s very interesting - conventional ‘12TET’ notes but a different isomorphic layout. And an interesting idea to have separate keys for sharps and flats to allow tuning them differently and avoid ‘wolf intervals’. Thanks!

Here is an interesting little keyboard thing that also lets you ‘strum’ on a touchscreen:

There is a planned kickstarter for it.

Downloaded this paper, but haven’t had time to read it.

These alternative tunings and control surfaces are very interesting. I’ve explored some possible alterations of the traditional keyboard, such as an 8 or 16 note chromatic. More later…

Yes, I think there are some interesting possibilities to make a keyboard along these ideas, either using an existing commercial product + Zynthian, or a custom, and of course, ‘open hardware’ design.

I’ve made a Melodicad if you want to take a diy try :

I like when I use it, find wonderful when I find a tune on it and think how simple is it to do it and to transpose it.
… And I think there is an app for apple things for testing the shape of the Wicki-Hayden button layout.


Thanks for the link - I found the Melodicade as well as the other keyboard projects interesting-inspiring. And the information category was useful to me, particularly the Wicki-Hayden Chord Shapes and Wicki-Hayden Scales & Modes.

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Artiphon has an interesting combination instrument-MIDI controller-Looper on Kickstarter right now (2023-08-06) - 9 days left. These are the people who did Orba, it’s called Chorda:


This looks really atractive and not that expensive imho.
Thans for sharing @tunagenes


Astonishing: KOOP instruments managed to do-it-yourself velocity sensing keys by stacking tactile switches below standard MX keyboard switches: melodicade-mx