New Musical Instruments

By Venessa Wong - 2011-11-02T20:26:33Z

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Continuum Fingerboard

Maker: Haken Audio
Based: Champaign, Ill.
Price: $3,390 (starting)

In the early 1980s, Lippold Haken, an electrical and computer engineering professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, hatched the idea for an instrument that would give keyboard players the ability to shape notes with variations in pressure and finger positions. He founded Haken Audio in 2001 to start commercializing a refined version of his invention. Rather than individual keys, the playing surface of the fingerboard relies on pressure sensitive magnetic sensors covered by neoprene and fabric. While Haken says production is limited to his basement workshop, musicians around the world buy Continuums for live performances. Producers used one to help make the creepy melodies in the movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Click to listen.