Specification

Tripp’s Hyperkeys(r) 3-dimensional musical keyboard is a performance tool, a mixer, and a sound designer, all in one. Its keys move in-and-out as well as up-and-down, and it tracks both z-axis position and the force on a key when down on a fully polyphonic basis.

The Hyperkeys can drive any MIDI synth, soft or hard, using its physical MIDI interface or MIDI over USB.

Its Editor (Mac/PC) allows extensive control over MIDI Continuous Control messages, RPNs, NRPNs, & Sys Ex, and over the relationship of where a key is to its 4 continuous outputs, Dip, Force, Push, & Pull. And more. It’s a secret.

It has a dedicated input footswitch which allows its keys to change its own setups, and it will respond to Program Change. You can save and load banks of setups. It has a conventional footswitch input and a continuous control input, for example, a pedal. It has Soft Frets variable width sound dividers, for both y-axis motion and for the continuous control input. (Soft Frets is a trademark of Perfect Fretworks)

A Hyperkeys is a tuned mechanism, optimized to oppose your fingers anywhere in the plane in which a key is free to move with differential resistance from which your muscles obtain knowledge of where the key is, not where your fingers are on the key.

It is instructive to compare the Hyperkeys with the Haken Continuum keyboard, about which, let me note, I have lots of good to say – into which I will not go here. A Continuum is a keyboard/ribbon controller hybrid. Its unbroken membrane surface supports  characteristically large sweeps of sound, allows players with previously developed keyboard skills to do much of what they already do, though without he feedbacks of space and mass. And it allows for sloppy and/or novice play by guessing at what a player must/might have meant. Its membrane surface is deformable in the z-axis for pressure signaling. Overall, though, it doesn’t feel very good, unless you’re into finger burn. Just sayin’.

                                                                —-  Jeff T