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Yamaha TENORI-ON - Digital Musical Instrument

Yamaha TENORI-ON - Digital Musical Instrument

Yamaha TENORI-ON - Digital Musical Instrument Angle View Front View Back View Side View

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Product Highlights

  • Designed for Anyone to Play
  • Intuitive 16 x 16 LED Button Matrix
  • 256 LEDs on Rear Panel for the Audience
  • 6 Performance & Sound/Light Modes
  • Aluminum Frame with 2 Built-In Speakers
  • Runs on 6 AA Batteries, Adapter Included
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The TENORI-ON from Yamaha is a digital musical instrument that was designed to bridge the gap between making music and drawing pictures. It encourages playful experimentation with its unique integration of light and sound. While it may look like a device used to operate a spaceship, the TENORI-ON is actually very easy to use, while at the same time offering great depth with its powerful sequencer and layering capabilities.

It's an instrument that wants to be touched, and pressing one of its 256 illuminated buttons results in a pleasing tone with a corresponding light reaction. The TENORI-ON has 259 sounds (14 of which are drum kits), and the ability to sample and save sounds to SD cards. The reactive light show isn't just for the musician. The opposite side of the instrument has 256 LEDs that share what's happening in the TENORI-ON with the audience. Aside from its other-worldly design, what really sets this instrument apart are its modes.

The modes offer 6 different approaches to how the unusual interface of the TENORI-ON can be used to create and manipulate sound and light. Draw Mode allows you to build and layer sequences much in the same way a toddler creates finger paintings. Imagine you're standing in front of a large Vibraphone dropping balls of light on its keys, and the height at which you drop the balls determines how often the notes sound. This is kind of what it's like composing with the Bounce Mode feature of the TENORI-ON.

You can take matters a step further and superimpose several layers of modes on top of one another. Once 16 layers have been sandwiched together, they become a block. The TENORI-ON can save up to 16 blocks, and the musician can switch from block to block during a performance. A MIDI output allows you to sync two TENORI-ON's together, or to send the MIDI information you're creating to a computer or another instrument. If you're looking for a fresh and inspiring approach to creating and performing music, the TENORI-ON is the 512 lights at the end of the tunnel.

Score Mode
Press an LED button briefly to play the sound assigned to it. At the same time the lights will flash outward from the played sound. If you hold the LED button a bit longer it will remain lit and will become an active note that will play repeatedly. Press and hold an active note to deactivate it. The loop indicator will be continuously cycling from the left to right edge of the LED button matrix. Active notes will play when the loop indicator coincides with their positions on the matrix.
Random Mode
If you press an LED button long enough to enter an active note in the Random Mode, the active note will play back repeatedly. If you then enter a few more active notes, the lights will "travel" from note to note, in the order entered, and the active notes will sound when the traveling light passes over them. The Random Mode thus produces a totally different type of loop from the Score Mode. You can even spin loop-shapes you create in the Random Mode by holding the [L4] button and running a finger around the matrix in the direction and at the speed of the desired spin. The pitches of the notes will change accordingly as the shape spins, producing loop sound effects. To stop rotation, press and hold the LED button or press the same LED button twice while holding the [L4] button.
Draw Mode
In this mode you can press individual LED buttons or draw lines or curves on the matrix, and those actions will be played back and repeated. You can keep adding to your "composition" during playback to build up thick sonic textures. In the Draw Mode you cannot clear only a part of the performance. The entire layer can be cleared by pressing the [CLEAR] button.
Bounce Mode
Press an LED button and the light will "drop" from that button, bounce back from the bottom of the matrix, and repeat. The corresponding note will sound when the light bounces at the bottom row. The higher the entry point, the longer the interval between the sounds. In the Bounce Mode the pitches are arranged horizontally, like a piano, with the lowest pitch on the left and the highest on the right.
Push Mode
In this mode if you press and hold an LED button the sound of the corresponding note will begin to change gradually while the flashing surrounding that button gets brighter and wider. If the button is held briefly the note and flashing will stop when you release it, but if you hold the button for longer the note and flashing will continue even after the button is released.
Solo Mode
Press an LED button and the corresponding note will repeat until the button is released. In the Solo Mode the pitches are arranged horizontally, like a piano. You can change the interval between repeats by pressing or sliding your finger to a lower (longer) or higher (shorter) LED button in the column. If you press the lowest LED button in a column the note will sound once without any repeats.
Sequencer Note Resolution: note = 96 clocks
Gate Time: 10 ms - 9990 ms
Octaves: -5 - +5
Tempo (BPM): 40 - 240
Scales: 9 types
Transpose: -7 - +8
6 Types of Performance Modes: Score, Random, Draw, Bounce, Push, and Solo
Other Functions: Clock, Power-Save, Synchronized Performance (with two instruments), Recording, TENORI-ON Song Playback

Maximum Active Notes:
Push Mode: 64
Random Mode: 64 points
Draw Mode: 64 points

Tone Tone Generator Type: AWM2
Maximum Polyphony: 32 notes
Preset Voices: 253 (239 normal, 14 drum kit)
Effects: 2 processors
Reverb: 10 types
Chorus: 5 types
Sampling: 3 voices (Raw audio with a maximum length of 0.97 sec., up to 16 samples per voice), using the supplied TENORI-ON User Voice Manager software
Card Save: Song / Block / Layer / Setting / Sampling
Load: Song / Block / Layer / Setting / Sampling
Rename: Song / Block / Layer / Setting / Sampling
Delete: Song / Block / Layer / Setting / Sampling

Tenori-on uses SPI mode to communicate with the third-party SD card. Please ensure that your SD card has SPI mode. SD cards that only use SD Mode will not work in Tenori-on.

Controller LED Buttons: 256
Rear LED Display Lights: 256
Function Buttons: 10 (L1 - L5, R1 - R5)
CLEAR, OK, and CANCEL Buttons: 1 Each
Jog Dial: 1
Display 122 x 32 Dot Graphic LCD Device (yellow-green backlight)
20 Characters x 4 Lines, Monochrome
Speakers 2 Built-In Speakers, Stereo, 1-Watt Output Power
Connectors 1 x Mini-Plug Stereo Output (for headphones/line-level output)
1 x Mini DIN MIDI IN (for synchronized performance using two TENORI-ON instruments)
1 x MIDI OUT (for external device control)
Card Slot Card Slot SD Memory Card (not compatible with SDHC memory cards)
System Requirements System requirements are for use of included software on CD-ROM

XP SP2 / Windows Vista
Only compatible with 32-bit versions of Windows XP and Vista. It is not compatible with 64 bit versions of the Windows OS.
CPU: 750MHz or greater Intel Pentium or Celeron CPU
Memory: 256MB or greater
Display: XGA compatible display adapter
Accessories: Keyboard, Mouse, other pointing device
Drives: Hard disk, CD-ROM drive
SD Internal I/F, or one that can be connected via USB
Audio: Output audio interface, sound card

Mac OS X 10.3.9, 10.4, 10.5
CPU: PowerPC G3 or greater, Intel Core Solo or greater (first-generation Power Book G3 and processor upgrade cards are not supported)
Memory: 128MB or greater
Display: XGA or better display system
Accessory: Keyboard, Mouse, other pointing device
Drives: Hard disk, CD-ROM drive
SD: USB-connectible SD Memory card I/F
Audio: output audio interface, onboard audio output

Power Runs on 6 AA Batteries
Battery Life: 5 Hours Continuous Playback

AC Adaptor PA-3C, PA-130 (AC Adaptor Included)

Dimensions 8 x 8 x 1.25" (205 x 205 x 32mm)
Weight Without Batteries:
1.54 lbs (700 grams)
Yamaha TENORI-ON - Digital Musical Instrument
  • AC Adapter
  • Mini DIN Cable
  • CD-ROM
  • TENORI-ON User Voice Manager Software
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Installation Guide
  • 1 Year Warranty
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    Batteries & Power

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    Varta - High-Energy 1.5V AA LR6 Alkaline Battery (4-Pack)
    • You Pay: $2.99
    Watson - 4-Hour Rapid Charger with 4 AA NiMH Rechargeable Batteries (2300mAh)
    • You Pay: $17.95


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    Hosa Technology - Stereo Mini Male to 2 Mono 1/4" Male Y-Cable (3')
    • You Pay: $3.75

    Digital Cables

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    Hosa Technology - Midi to Midi (premium) Cable - 3 ft
    • You Pay: $6.99
    Transcend - 2GB SD Memory Card
    • You Pay: $4.95


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    You alone can hear the music with headphones, any time.

    Senal - SMH-1000 Professional Field and Studio Monitor Headphones
    • You Pay: $89.99
    Polsen - HPC-A30 Closed-Back Studio Monitor Headphones
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