Irijule, A consumer electronics start-up based out of San Francisco, just launched a Kickstarter to fund the first round of production for a groundbreaking new instrument called the TheoryBoard. This innovative MIDI controller has the potential to completely change the way seasoned musicians conceptualize music theory, while at the same time providing assistance to a complete novice.
Hitting their funding goal of $100,000 in just 17 days came as a surprise to the founders Evan Swanson and Scott O’Hair, “We knew we had something special, but we had no idea we would receive this level of support. We’ve barely even done any marketing, the money raised so far has almost been 100% organic from the Kickstarter community. People really seem to love this idea”.
The campaign is almost complete with over 565 backers and $219,000 worth of funds raised. With all of the Early Bird spots filled up the current price point is set at $400, which is still a huge discount in relation to the projected MSRP.
Irijule plans on relaunching the TheoryBoard on Indiegogo after their Kickstarter campaign ends. They have already been selected for Arrow Incubation which might suggest a potential partnership between the two companies. The Irijule Team explained, “We want to empower more people to create music. Music theory is intimidating when you first get into production. A lot of people get discouraged by the vast amount of information you have to understand in order to start playing. We want to help people bypass that learning curve.
We hope that our instrument serves as a bridge so more people can access the harmonies that music expresses itself through. Originally we set out to create a sort of “music theory hack”. As the idea started to manifest we noticed that the TheoryBoard had evolved into a completely new type of instrument. It continues to grow as the influx of great ideas flow in from the Kickstarter community.
It’s taken around three years to get the TheoryBoard to this point so it’s awesome to finally have people support our vision.” For how complex the TheoryBoard is, its functionality can actually be summed up pretty easily (Similar to Apple products, “complex yet simple”). First of all, it is a MIDI controller that can be routed into any DAW, VST, or piece of hardware. For example, It could be used in Ableton on a Mac, FL Studio on Windows, or could even be routed into an old-school modular synthesizer. This level of versatility is rare in the MIDI controller world. Most companies try to lock you into using the hardware they supply with a paired software. You can ONLY use Ableton Push with Ableton… You can ONLY use Maschine with the Maschine software.
Allowing the TheoryBoard to work across multiple platforms takes away that limiting factor. How the TheoryBoard handles compiling all of music theory into one MIDI controller could best be understood by watching the Kickstarter video. The video is a hybrid between an expedited music lesson and a performance, with different producers showing the TheoryBoard’s functionality.
Simply put, the TheoryBoard gives you access to:
– Every scale (a scale is a set of notes)
– Every note within the chosen scale (these notes are based off of a mathematical equation)
– Every chord that can be built from those notes (a chord is when 3 or more notes are played at the same time) With all of the correct combinations at your fingertips it’s easy to get into a creative flow.
The TheoryBoard is split into two sections. The “Melody Side” loads four octaves of the single notes within the scale, while the “Chord Side” loads every correct chord. Color is used to express the correlations between these two sides, as well as keeping chords that share the same root note grouped together. Having these visual reference points while playing provides an additional layer of perception for the user. Irijule describes this phenomena of being able to see what your playing as a “synesthetic experience”.
The scales that the TheoryBoard loads are universal for any instrument (guitar, piano, violin, saxophone, trumpet). As well as being a revolutionary musical instrument, the TheoryBoard also serves as a multifaceted production tool. It keeps different elements of a song (baselines, leads, plucks, chord progressions) in the same key.
This can drastically increase workflow and productivity. You rarely see a technology that can benefit both seasoned professionals and complete novices. In an area that lacks innovation, its refreshing to see a game-changer like this come along. The TheoryBoard looks to be the next big thing in the world of music production.
“This is the evolution of the MIDI controller. We can’t wait to hear the music that people create with the TheoryBoard”