The New Geometry of Music

I’ve played guitar since I was seven. That’s about 45 years, with some of those early years actually making a living at music, or playing in HS and college big-bands. I’m a huge fan of prog-rock and fusions of classical music with contemporary instrumentation. When I play, I’m not thinking about music theory, but rather the geometry of sound. I think of the guitar in geometric patterns. I harness geometry to evoke a musical experience.

British inventor Peter Davies began thinking about sound geometry in the 1980’s when he patented the Note Tracker, a kind of “slide rule” based on musically geometric patterns, and manufactured briefly in the early 1990s. Later, Peter’s idea grew into a 156 key prototype geometrical controller called the “M-Box.” Around 2005, the M-Box had morphed again into something called the Minima, and finally in 3Q08, a true production-level device called the Axis is now shipping.

After 500+ years of keyboard design (organs, harpsichords, piano-forte, etc.), little has changed to the fundamental single-axis western keyboard layout – white keys, black keys, arranged in a long single row of half-tone steps. I believe the Axis multi-dimensional music keyboard signals a catalytic event in musical history.

Rather than try to explain the details of this brilliant invention, I would encourage you to watch prog keyboardist Jordan Rudess give a hands-on demonstration. If you have any interest at all in music, this is not to be missed. Welcome to the new era of musical keyboards, and what I think will be the beginning of an entirely new paradigm of musical performance based on the fundamental geometry of western music.

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