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eric coleridge
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Post by eric coleridge » Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:24 pm

museslave wrote:I have always questioned the desire some have for monophonic synthesizer keyboards that are many octaves, touch sensitive, or weighted.
Have you ever tried the after-touch on a MultiMoog(or other)? I never thought much of additional keyboard parameters for synth keys either, until I used a Multi... It's very useful and gives you a whole new 'playable' way to control your synth. I sold that Multi, and probably more than anything else, I miss it's keyboard (it had CV out for aftertouch also).

I don't really use Midi very much anymore, but I've been thinking, after changing my mind about aftertouch, that velocity sense could be useful also... especially with a modular where there are so many different possible CV parameters.

I like these added keyboard controls, not neccesarily for normal volume dynamics... but maybe moreso to build subtle variables into my patches... like osc sync amount or decay/sustain level, etc... IMO, just makes the sound funkier and more weirding

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Post by museslave » Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:58 pm

eric coleridge wrote:Have you ever tried the after-touch on a MultiMoog(or other)? I never thought much of additional keyboard parameters for synth keys either, until I used a Multi... It's very useful and gives you a whole new 'playable' way to control your synth. I sold that Multi, and probably more than anything else, I miss it's keyboard (it had CV out for aftertouch also).
I should've been clearer about that point! I have a CS-50, and the aftertouch is MARVELOUS as a modulation/control source. That isn't what I was describing when I spoke of lacking understanding... I was primarily referring to those things people seem to increasingly require from synthesizers that would make them behave like a piano. While I know that velocity, etc. can be routed to be control aspects in MIDI, it really isn't the most useful means of controlling an analog synthesizer. That's what I was trying to say. : ) Aftertouch is wonderful, but modern keyboards usually aren't made in a fashion that makes it as useful... it usually requires a lot of pressure, and there isn't a lot of tactile feeback that it is occurring.
eric coleridge wrote:I don't really use Midi very much anymore, but I've been thinking, after changing my mind about aftertouch, that velocity sense could be useful also... especially with a modular where there are so many different possible CV parameters.
Here are my problems with velocity: it was invented so that people who played synthesizers to emulate other instruments could feel more like they were playing those other instruments. Primarily, it was meant to simulate a piano in that the harder you play, the louder it gets. Certainly that in PRINCIPLE would be useful in an analog synthesizer sense... control is always cool... but I don't think MIDI velocity was designed in a way that is within the analog syntax/aesthetic. Plus, it requires physical skill to use it as a means of controlling volume... using it as a controller would require even more. A lot of analog synth users are barely willing to play the keyboard, let alone learn a performance skill. ; )
Also... traditional (and currently modern) Moog playing, being single handed, allows for one hand free, usually. (depending, of course, on what you're doing) A person who could be playing with one hand, being sensitive to the velocities of the keystrikes, and at the same time operating multiple other knob-related aspects would be a very good keyboard player indeed! : )
eric coleridge wrote:NTIC OBSESSIVE PURIST! Already... but come on... if someone wants a polyphonic synthesizer that acts like a piano, there is a glut of inexpensive modern synths available)
eric coleridge wrote:I like these added keyboard controls, not neccesarily for normal volume dynamics... but maybe moreso to build subtle variables into my patches... like osc sync amount or decay/sustain level, etc... IMO, just makes the sound funkier and more weirding
I'm with you... the more modulation you can generate, the better.

So, if Moog wants to make a CV controller keyboard that includes an effective aftertouch (or even velocity) that has enough of a tactile factor to indicate to the user that the function is being used, I could get behind that.
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Post by rg » Thu Feb 01, 2007 3:54 pm

Perhaps it's not a bad idea actually... Why not put your money in the pocket of a company that you respect even though other companies can make the same product? Now that makes sense to me. I have had horrible dealings with Gibson over a Les Paul with a bad finish... However when I Had a problem with scratched up keys on my new LP, I spoke to Amos and he fixed it right away! So I guess u are right I think I would prefer to buy from Moog than some Uber Corporate Jerkfaces!
Kevin Lightner wrote:Rg, no I didn't see your post. It wasn't there when I replied, but I left for some minutes in between. :)

I still think it's a decent idea.
It would help round out their line.
As others have said, there's no shortage of guitar pedals and even with such offerings that are often the same as others, brand loyalty can play a big part.
Some people buy only Boss pedals, when some other pedal might be cheaper or even have more features.
They want what that particular company offers because they've trusted their previous purchases to them and they came through.
They often match the looks of their other devices and I'm sure Moog would have some consistency in this dept too.

Moog already has wheel assemblies, a Fatar account and other items necessary.
CV, Gates and MIDI are not terribly hard to do once you've already implemented them elsewhere.
Code could be modified instead of writing from scratch and this cost savings can be passed onto the customer.
Also, some folks would appreciate a longer keyboard to play their Vgers or LP with and would stay with Moog to do it.
It would also allow Moog to package the rack version of the vger with the new controller as a single offering.
I could even envision them putting 4 LP's without keyboards in a rack box and selling something like this to control it.
Then you could have a polyphonic Moog. :)

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Re: Post Subject

Post by LWG » Thu Feb 01, 2007 4:37 pm

Hello,

For the most part, there really is a place in the market for these. The other part of it is that if Moog decided to eventually build a polysynth, the most cost effective route would more than likely be as a rack mount product. There would already be a dedicated keyboard controller, should this be the case. If Moog decides not to build a bigger synth, the controller is still equally as useful with existing Moog products, as well as other gear.
On the high end, most modular synth manufacturers do not make remote keyboards. Those that do, design them primarily for studio use and not as ergonomically laid out performance controllers.
On the other end you have inexpensive midi/usb controllers, but to use them with modular cv-based gear, they require a midi/cv converter, in addition to often being cheaply constructed and problematic to use as road gear.
Some others in this range, have many functions, such as transport controls for using with DAWs, and assignable encoders. The problem with some of these is that their physical dimensions often end up being the same size as a fully specified synth (which in some way defeats the purpose of using a remote keyboard).
Many of the devices in the midi/usb category are more so designed as computer peripherals than roadable synth controllers per se.
One of the few modular synth manufacturers that produced remote keyboards which worked equally well as performance devices was Polyfusion (circa 77). Their 2050 series keyboards could be used as cv controllers to a modular setup in the studio, as well as performance controllers in a tour rig (although they didn’t have midi). Steve Porcaro and David Paich (of Toto) used controllers from this series in their rigs.
A Moog controller having similar dimensions could be equipped with cv and midi, two or three mod wheels, although if you’re going to use three wheels, I’d go with the slimmer ones like those on the older Moogs, a couple of assignable pedal inputs, possibly a ribbon directly above the keyboard.
If you didn’t want the wheels, you could use a vector controller (pad or stick) in the left-hand controller section. If you wanted to get more elaborate, you could set up midi-assigned zones.
Oberheim made a controller (the XK) with excellent dimensions, but used the Panasonic keyboard with the membrane contacts, and it was somewhat unreliable over the long haul. In addition, it had midi, but no direct cv capability.


Regards,


Lawrence

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Kevin Lightner
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Post by Kevin Lightner » Thu Feb 01, 2007 5:39 pm

I'm not certain that keyboards should be dumbed down because some folks don't have the chops to fully play them.
Having additional potential in a keyboard allows the player to learn, practice and master the instrument for greater expression.
Playing a violin isn't easy either and few people would suggest adding frets.

Possibly different features could be offered optionally though.

I like velocity sent to env decay, filter cutoff and other parameters.

There's also some new conductive rubberized material out there that might lend itself to not only normal aftertouch, but polyphonic too.

Polyfusions used a kind of hokey method to achieve aftertouch.
The whole keyboard was pivoted and tensioned with springs.
When you pushed down on a key, the entire keyboard moved up and down.
This moved a shutter mechanism to control an optosensor.
I've played with optosensors for AT purposes and while the Polyfusion had this weird mechanical thing going on, the optosensors themselves are fantastically controllable for this purpose.
Roland has also used Hall Effect (magnetic) sensors in a couple of vintage synths, though these can get pricey if added for every key.

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Post by museslave » Thu Feb 01, 2007 7:47 pm

Kevin Lightner wrote:I'm not certain that keyboards should be dumbed down because some folks don't have the chops to fully play them.
Having additional potential in a keyboard allows the player to learn, practice and master the instrument for greater expression.
I'm certain they shouldn't... but they've been increasingly dumbed down from the release of the Minimoog on (the Minimoog being a model created to be a simplified modular because poor hapless musicians were too clueless to grasp modular synthesis).
MIDI, while conceptually designed to be a world of digital synthesizer control, has become a crutch for people to avoid synthesizer performance. This is a guess, but I'd wager that a good 90% of MIDI users only use it for sequencing, i.e. generating computer-based performance. When people complain of modern (or vintage) synthesizers not possessing MIDI, it is NEVER because they are looking for the exquisite control aspects MIDI provides, but rather that they want to work the synthesizer into their software sequencing arrangement. (which is to say that they do not want to or cannot perform with the device adequately in realtime) MIDI is primarily used as a performance dumbing-down. (no offense to those musicians here who use MIDI as it was intended... I'm talking about the world in general) Why do I know this? Because my earliest recording/producing experience came at the dawn of affordable sequencing, and I spent a good ten years writing, recording, and producing all of my music through a MIDI sequencer. It took me years after that to begin to be able to ACTUALLY perform with a synthesizer.
The people who actually possess the "chops" to adequately perform on analog synthesizers are very few and far between... a fact that pains me greatly. The thread that is running through most of my postings is the notion that analog synthesizers are musical instruments to be performed with, not computers to be programmed.
Kevin Lightner wrote:Playing a violin isn't easy either and few people would suggest adding frets.
Adding MIDI to an analog synthesizer is akin to adding frets to a violin. If an analog synthesizer is treated as the musical instrument it was intended to be, a person would spend years learning to physically control it to their expressive satisfaction... but most people do not. Most people use MIDI to control performance aspects of the synthesizer.
Most people use MIDI to generate their violins, as well.
; )

Kevin Lightner wrote:There's also some new conductive rubberized material out there that might lend itself to not only normal aftertouch, but polyphonic too.

Polyfusions used a kind of hokey method to achieve aftertouch.
The whole keyboard was pivoted and tensioned with springs.
When you pushed down on a key, the entire keyboard moved up and down.
This moved a shutter mechanism to control an optosensor.
I've played with optosensors for AT purposes and while the Polyfusion had this weird mechanical thing going on, the optosensors themselves are fantastically controllable for this purpose.
Roland has also used Hall Effect (magnetic) sensors in a couple of vintage synths, though these can get pricey if added for every key.
The Yamaha CS-50 employs an "on/off" sort of aftertouch (not polyphonic), but the whole keyboard doesn't depress when you activate it... only the keys you're pushing down. The CS-50, like the Polyfusion, uses an optical sensor. It is VERY musical, and you can very easily sense it from a tactile standpoint.
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Post by reset » Thu Feb 01, 2007 7:52 pm

I just wish the LP came with 1 (ONE!!!!!) CV/Gate out. Now, that would be something together with the 107.

Again, just ma 2c.

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Post by Kevin Lightner » Thu Feb 01, 2007 8:43 pm

Muse, I agree with most of what you've said.
However, one could argue that if you had spent that 10 years practicing, THEN recording, the results would have been considerably different.
Not necessarily better though- I don't know what type of music you make.

As far as adding midi to an analog being like a violin with frets, I can only nitpick and say that most analogs with midi still perform as they did stock.
That can't be said of such a violin.

But the comparative of chops vs midi types is skewed today simply by the huge numbers of people that get the synths first, then learn whatever they consider music.
Years ago, it was the other way around.

One of my friends plays jazz piano, for example.
He could sit in and comp with the best of them.
His chops coming about because he practiced piano, a keyboard with a huge dynamic range, no sustain and a stiff action.
Had he started with synths, his hands simply wouldn't be as strong or agile.
He likely wouldn't have learned the chordings he knows now either.
Him having a music theory and performance background allowed him to express himself, make good money and then build up his synth collection.
He now has over 225 synths.
I just added a photo of his main rack on my homepage (http://www.synthfool.com)

The funny thing is that except for these few pro clients, my own chops are often greater than the people I fix synths for.
Some have even requested that I *don't* service their keyboard actions because they never use them.
That's kind of bizarre to me when someone like me, just a tech, can outplay his own clients who consider themselves musicians.

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Post by museslave » Thu Feb 01, 2007 10:31 pm

Kevin Lightner wrote:However, one could argue that if you had spent that 10 years practicing, THEN recording, the results would have been considerably different.
Not necessarily better though- I don't know what type of music you make.
Well, I suppose that's true, although I'm not sure what you mean by it. My point was to indicate that my condemnation of MIDI was not coming from someone who hadn't spent a lot of time with it. My time with MIDI was very valuable in the sense that at least it taught me to be a decent producer... but what it did NOT do was teach me to be an instrumental musician with a synthesizer. (although I did have a good ten years of piano before that... I'm not saying I couldn't play, I'm saying that I lacked the ability to be an expressive realtime analog synthesizer player)
As for what type of music I make... I've never written ragtime or gamelan music... and that's about it for what I haven't done. ; )
Kevin Lightner wrote:As far as adding midi to an analog being like a violin with frets, I can only nitpick and say that most analogs with midi still perform as they did stock.
That can't be said of such a violin.
That is very nitpicky... and only serves to indicate that my metaphor can be undermined. ; ) You know what I mean, though! I daresay no one is adding MIDI to an analog synth so that they can use a digital knob-covered controller to operate it. People are adding MIDI to analog synths so they can sequence with them... which means they are not playing them in realtime... and in that way are missing the point of the "musical instrument" aspect of the analog synthesizer.
Kevin Lightner wrote:But the comparative of chops vs midi types is skewed today simply by the huge numbers of people that get the synths first, then learn whatever they consider music. Years ago, it was the other way around.
I totally agree.
It's funny... because the byproduct of THAT arrangement was that piano players came to the synthesizer and couldn't figure out why it wasn't polyphonic, why it wasn't touch-responsive, etc... which was what led many synthesizer companies to start adding those things to synthesizers. Demand, instead of design.

Kevin Lightner wrote:One of my friends plays jazz piano, for example.
He could sit in and comp with the best of them.
His chops coming about because he practiced piano, a keyboard with a huge dynamic range, no sustain and a stiff action.
Had he started with synths, his hands simply wouldn't be as strong or agile.
He likely wouldn't have learned the chordings he knows now either.
Him having a music theory and performance background allowed him to express himself, make good money and then build up his synth collection.
He now has over 225 synths.
It's cool that he was a versatile enough musician to make the jump from being a technical piano player to a synthesizer player. I've known several people who have failed that jump, and CERTAINLY vice versa.

Kevin Lightner wrote:The funny thing is that except for these few pro clients, my own chops are often greater than the people I fix synths for.
Some have even requested that I *don't* service their keyboard actions because they never use them.
That's kind of bizarre to me when someone like me, just a tech, can outplay his own clients who consider themselves musicians.
Well, it could be that your success, renown, and earned respect as a tech has come from the fact that you're also a musician... which can't help but contribute to your technical skills in making synthesizers sound great again.
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Post by Kevin Lightner » Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:08 pm

Lest this become our own thread, I'll leave it that I don't consider myself a musician anymore than someone that makes dinner is a chef.
I figure that I've been playing about 32 years or so and having said that, it would be hard NOT to have some chops.
But to me a musician is someone that lives, breathes and produces music constantly.
It's what pays the bills and gives them a purpose, but even more so, it's running in their blood.
They couldn't stop tapping their feet or humming a song for very long if they tried. :)

Having said that, I can recall a conversation I had with a product specialist when I was working at Roland.
He was going on and on how a certain feature on a product would be really useful to pros, but would cost more.
I replied that Roland's main market isn't pros, but the guy that has a day job and comes home to noodle around.
The big boss overheard me, stepped in and told the product guy "Listen to him"
The point being that these products and companies such as Moog and others survive on non-pros for their bread and butter.
This I do realize and so while I love products that can do a lot, I understand that the market isn't always ready for everything.

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Post by bunnyman » Fri Feb 02, 2007 1:25 am

All this talk of "chops" is a bit confusing to me: is the synthesizer exclusively a keyboard instrument? I find that I use the keyboard less than 50% of the time, but use so-called alternate controllers the rest of the time. How about "chops" in controlling/patching your electronic instrument that may or may not have an organ keyboard attached to it?

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Post by dr_floyd » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:36 pm

Adding MIDI to an analog synthesizer is akin to adding frets to a violin.
Respectfully, no not at all. MIDI OUT on a violin would allow you to access analog synthesizers from a violin interface. Adding MIDI IN to a violin would be like having invisible hands and bow to control the sound.

I have no keyboard "solo chops", but I play analog CV synthesizers from wind controllers, foot controllers, fretless basses. I don't sequence, but I would add MIDI to all my vintage analogs if it were practical and safe just for the open range of control options.
If an analog synthesizer is treated as the musical instrument it was intended to be
Intended? You mean as keyboard articulated soloing instruments? Even Bob Moog didn't want to have a traditional keyboard with his first modular. I thought the point of the synthesizer was to develop your own intention, it can perform absolutely any sound generating need, including sequencing, chops soloing, or annoying noises.

Anyway, I'm surprised there is no more interest in the Haken Fingerboard. Seems to me like the future of MIDI/CV controllers in that you can use it as a traditional keyboard, but it also offers many more tactile possibilities. Remember Bob Moog was working on a controller keyboard where each key had up/down pressure and also side to side wiggle as a control source.

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Post by ARP » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:48 pm

""Anyway, I'm surprised there is no more interest in the Haken Fingerboard. Seems to me like the future of MIDI/CV controllers in that you can use it as a traditional keyboard, but it also offers many more tactile possibilities. ""


Maybe that's because the thing cost's more than a modular synthesizer system itself. It's not a realistic option for most of us. $5,000 for a controller that makes no sounds on it's own is hard to swallow no matter how cool it is.
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Post by museslave » Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:01 pm

bunnyman wrote:All this talk of "chops" is a bit confusing to me: is the synthesizer exclusively a keyboard instrument? I find that I use the keyboard less than 50% of the time, but use so-called alternate controllers the rest of the time. How about "chops" in controlling/patching your electronic instrument that may or may not have an organ keyboard attached to it?
Spoken like a true Buchla acolyte. ; )
While many of the composers who pushed electronics designers to create electronic instruments vehemently opposed the use of the keyboard as a controller, the keyboard was included not only in the definitive Moog modular, but also a lot of very early electronic devices... including as far back as the turn of the century with the telharmonium. The keyboard, therefore, is as much a part of the history of synthesizers as it is the piano, organ, etc.

When I rant about the "musical" use of analog synthesizers, I do tend to lean on actually playing the notes... but my stance need not apply solely to keyboard usage. I am largely advocating realtime and expressive operation of the device, as opposed to automated or programmed control.
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Post by museslave » Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:33 pm

dr_floyd wrote: Respectfully, no not at all. MIDI OUT on a violin would allow you to access analog synthesizers from a violin interface. Adding MIDI IN to a violin would be like having invisible hands and bow to control the sound.
This is my point exactly.
The musical, expressive, emotive, and etc. sounds of the violin are achieved through direct interaction with the device. What I was trying to portray with the simile was:
1. The violin is an instrument to be played, not programmed or controlled
2. Those who would wish to play violin but not learn HOW to play violin might be attracted to the concept of being able to play it through another instrument.

I'm trying to portray the analog synthesizer as a musical instrument which can be expressively played in realtime, and need not be portrayed as a computerized device which can be automated and controlled in a non-interactive manner.

dr_floyd wrote:I have no keyboard "solo chops", but I play analog CV synthesizers from wind controllers, foot controllers, fretless basses. I don't sequence, but I would add MIDI to all my vintage analogs if it were practical and safe just for the open range of control options.
I'm certainly not condeming what you do. If I'm condemning anything, it's the notion that analog synthesizers are merely sound modules for sequencing. I am trying to advocate actual performance. It sounds like that's exactly what you're doing!
I'm wondering what control options you might desire that MIDI would provide that CV doesn't, and whether you would like to have those functions automated, or whether you would like to directly be in control of them?
Intended? You mean as keyboard articulated soloing instruments?
No. As I stated in a previous post, I am not insisting that the keyboard is the only way to control an analog synthesizer. I am suggesting that analog synthesizers were intended to be performance devices, and not sound modules for sequencing.
Not that there is anything WRONG with sequencing analog synths... my god, I've done it myself. However, that should not be the FOCUS as might be suggested by Moog creating more devices geared in that direction.
Even Bob Moog didn't want to have a traditional keyboard with his first modular.
It was those who sought Moog's designs who rallied against the keyboard. (primarily one of Moog's first customers, Vladimir Ussachevsky) Moog was ambivalent about it until Herb Deutsch, Walter Sear, Eric Siday and others encouraged him to. Moog was always about giving musicians what they wanted, and they wanted keyboards.
That is not to say that the keyboard is superior, merely to say that Moog went with what people wanted and was not opposed to the keyboard.
I thought the point of the synthesizer was to develop your own intention, it can perform absolutely any sound generating need, including sequencing, chops soloing, or annoying noises.
The point of the synthesizer was to create a integrated studio of electronic devices which could be used to generate electronic music. If a person seeks to create electronic music with computers or alternate control devices or sequencing or anything they want, that's their business.
However, Moog is a company with a long history of performance-oriented analog keyboard-based synthesizers. That is their niche market. I am not trying to limit anyone's creativity, or decry their method of expressing that creativity, I am merely speaking against the increasing notion that synthesizers are for techno artists to program and automate, as opposed to being for musicians to expressively perform with. Any idiot in the world can sequence... it requires very little musicianship, skill or creativity. (I speak from experience, ha ha) It would pain me to see Moog begin to cater to that amateur market which is outside of the market in which they have authority.

And, again... I don't mean to condemn anyone's method of music making. While I defend the analog synthesizer as a performance device, and decry MIDI in regard to it, I am not against MIDI. I have used MIDI extensively since it was released. I use it even today... I use a MIDI controller keyboard, a hardware sampler, and a computer with sequencing software on it whenever I do any scoring. I am not anti-MIDI, and I am not suggesting that MIDI can't be used in a musical fashion, and I am in no way condemning anyone as unmusical for using it... I would be a terrible hypocrite if I did. However, I think it's important to keep the analog synthesizer as a realtime performance device because that's what it is. There are plenty of modules and software solutions for those who seek electronic sounds to be controlled by sequencers, etc. And often, I think the only reason electronic non-keyboard playing musicians SO seek Moogs is for the name. Sure, they have a great quality of sound, but it's not like they can do things that software synthesizers can't... they are quite limited in comparison to some of the powerful software synthesizers. Why keep making analog synth keyboards at all? Because there are musicians out there who know how to and want to play them expressively in realtime like musical instruments! I am one of those, and would like to insure that that option still exists... analog synths went away for a decade and a half... it's nice to see them back. I would not like to see them reabsorbed by the digital world.

Anyway, I'm surprised there is no more interest in the Haken Fingerboard. Seems to me like the future of MIDI/CV controllers in that you can use it as a traditional keyboard, but it also offers many more tactile possibilities. Remember Bob Moog was working on a controller keyboard where each key had up/down pressure and also side to side wiggle as a control source.
I support the use and creation of alternate controllers! I would LOVE to have a massive ribbon controller, myself.
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