Sonic Palette was designed to be held, as opposed to being placed on a
table or stand. However, it can be used laying on its back on
Basically, the Sonic Palette is held like a
guitar; either in the players lap when sitting, or slung over
his/her left shoulder with a guitar strap. (Right shoulder
too, although very differently, and not covered here.)
position is one place where the Sonic Palette diverges with a guitar. Instead of the left hand passing behind and under
instrument, like is done with a guitar's neck, the left hand goes over the top, so
that both hands' thumbs are facing on the note surface.
instrument is shaped to provide an area for the right arm around the
elbow to rest, pushing the instrument against the player's body,
steading it. This pressure counterbalances pressure put on
instrument by the players left hand, by using the players body as a
When using the strap, adjust it so that the your left elbow is just above
the power switch.
The note surface provides both tactile and visual references.
A small bump on each sensor helps center your fingers on the key and
lets you find notes without looking. A dot on the "C"s, along with the black and white pattern help
to orient visually.
Pressure, both initial and during held notes can affect volume and tone.
SONIC PALETTE DEFAULT NOTE SURFACE
Pitches go chromatic left to right, and in perfect Fifths/Fourths up
White areas contain natural
ares contain the sharps and
Remembering the order of
key signatures or circle of fifths, can make finding notes easier.
A video covering the basics:
are the building blocks of harmony and tonality, and it’s this concept
that was the inspiration for the design of the note surface.
interval is the distance between two pitches, and so we felt a
symmetrical grid would make it easy to conceptualize and remember these
distances or relationships.
The note surface is a chromatic line
of pitches that wraps around to the next line up. This “wrap around”
makes the surface compact and thus allows one hand to reach great pitch
distances. However, its downside is that the wrap interferes with
keeping the “shape” of intervals and chords always the same. “Shape” is
the exact position of the fingers in relation to each other. (Clever
systems do exist without this issue, but they have the issue of
interval distances not being represented by physical distances, making
them difficult to play.) For any interval except the
perfect fifth up (one shape), there are two shapes. (This is
better than the piano, which has four shapes for most intervals:
white-white, white-black, black-white, and black-black).
Let’s take a look at intervals using only the middle section above
middle “C” of the surface:
Here are the two shapes
Like I said before there
is only one shape for the Perfect Fifth:
These are the two shapes
for the Perfect Fourth:
The two shapes for the
And for the Minor Third:
If you should want a
Tritone, here they are:
Hopefully you get the
idea from these common intervals, and can figure out the rest. Now, let's take a look
at some Major Triads. Because the Perfect
Fifth is in every Major and Minor Triad, there are only two possible
shapes for any Major and two for the Minor Triad.
The same chord may have
a different shape depending on what octave it's in.
triads of the same quality have a 50/50 chance of having the same shape.
If you know your
harmony, you know that a Minor Triad is
the same as the Major except that the middle note is a half step lower.
So again only two shapes
Now let's look at the
patterns for one octave of a Major Scale.
With this scale you can easily see the advantage of the seven note wide
row. Again we will only use a section of the board, and this time we
will remove black note graphics so that the scale's pattern is more
easily seen. There are three more patterns, can you figure out what
they look like?