The Theoryboard is a 96-pad controller that aims to overcome the obstacle of music theory knowledge during production.
Functions that allow producers who do not have experience with music theory or instruments have become commonplace in recent years. Scale or chord MIDI effects found in many DAWs and Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol’s Smart Play are some examples.
These make staying in key easy but they are not very intuitive for exploring different styles of chords or experimenting with more advanced harmony like borrowed chords.
Theoryboard aims to present an all-in-one solution for both basic and advanced music theory techniques. Based on the international support its parent startup, Irijule, has received, including an order by JJ Abrams, it seems to be on the right track.
The controller’s layout is composed of a set of 12 buttons and 48 pads on the left, a screen with buttons in the middle and a set of 12 buttons and 48 pads on the right.
After choosing a scale using the screen, the note buttons on the left allow the user to choose which note will be the root note of the scale. The 48 pads on the left automatically become chord triggers for all of the chords within the scale and each chord automatically gets six or more voicing variations because of the abundance of pads. This differs from an ordinary chord trigger MIDI effect, which is limited to only one voicing type unless automated.
The notes on the buttons on the top right change the mode of the scale. For example, if you are working in C major and you press the M2 key the pads will update to C major’s second mode, C Dorian. The 48 pads on the right split into two groups, with the 28 to the left representing the seven notes in the scale in four octaves. The remaining 20 become the arpeggios of whatever chord is being pressed on the left pads.
Finally, the lower buttons in the middle section of the controller are for chord variation, such as stacking them or spreading them out across the keyboard.
The California startup has now raised over £490,000 through 850 orders placed during its current Kickstarter campaign, with the controllers expected to be shipped to campaign pledgers in December 2020. Theoryboard can also be ordered on Irijule’s website for a price of $699.
For more information head to Irijule’s Kickstarter page.