According to a recent Buzzfeed article, American company Artiphon has created a new, high-tech instrument, the Artiphon INSTRUMENT 1. It may appear narrow and relatively small (23.5 inches to be exact), but it can be used to play guitar, piano, violin and a drum pad—and these are just the basic uses of this incredible instrument. You can customize the instrument so you can “strum a piano, bow a banjo, and pluck a drum.”
Over the course of four years, Artiphon has finally found a way to bring nearly all instruments together into one. You no longer have to carry a bulky guitar case, or transport your drumset in a truck, or try to find a piano wherever it is you’re looking to play. All you need is the INSTRUMENT 1 (and perhaps your iPhone, which can be used as a bow for a violin). This also means you’ll never have to spend money going out to buy new strings because the strings on this instrument are indestructible—they’re digital.
The article covers tons of other features INSTRUMENT 1 has: capo buttons, a bridge for strumming, picking, and tapping, pressure and velocity-sensitive interfaces, you name it. So who wouldn’t want to have this instrument?
Aside from its cost (depending on the color/edition, it can cost up to $900 or can be as low as $299), there are some drawbacks to what seems to be an unbeatable instrument. “I still prefer the feel of playing something that was built handmade in a factory,” says Tyler Asay, a junior who plays guitar in his own band and a member of the WCUR radio station. “So much of music is emotion that comes from using a crafted guitar or piano, from the certain woods to the amount of time spent on building it.”
But for some, the benefits might outweigh the setbacks. “It could be hard to get used to at first, but that’s like any instrument,” says Tom Sadler, junior, and trainer for WCUR 91.7 The Curve. “If you aren’t in a band (like me) but want the “band sound,” this could be the perfect tool for someone’s musical juices to flow.”
Like any new piece of technology, INSTRUMENT 1 brings so many opportunities to the table. Musicians can now perform tasks they couldn’t ever before, at least not without some inconveniences. You don’t even need to make a trip to the music store anymore if you have the equipment all in one small package. But because it is electronic, will it ever be musically pure?
“I think it’s definitely more beautiful to hear an actual instrument,” says Collin Hadsell, sophomore and also a member of the WCUR. “And as a musician I’d much rather play a real guitar or drumset. But if given the opportunity I would absolutely give the INSTRUMENT 1 a try. It’s silly to not embrace new innovations in such a mutable field.”
As technology gets better and better, what will we expect for music’s future?
Link: Artiphon’s INSTRUMENT
Samantha Mineroff is a first-year student majoring in English with a minor in creative writing. She can be reached at SM825021@wcupa.edu.