For many, the idea of learning a musical instrument inspires fear and dread. As such, many make attempts at smoothing the learning curve associated with it by using technology to rethink everything instruments can do. The Oval digital music instrument continues that trend in an effort to empower anyone to both learn and play music.
The Oval is inspired by the Hang, a percussion instrument based on the physical principals as the steelpan. The instrument sits on the lap, and is covered in a circular ring of seven multi-sensing, pressure-sensitive pads, with a single pad in the middle. Its MIDI-compliant design gives users the choice to use Oval with its iOS/Android app, or any other music creation software like Ableton. No matter the choice, a user can change the type of instrument being played, change scales, add effects, loop sounds live, and even upload their own sounds.
In addition to playing music, the Oval is geared towards learning. Each pad contains LEDs which light up to facilitate a metronome mode, a follow along mode, as well as musical games all so that newcomers get a grasp over the instrument. The entire instrument is made up of materials like acrylic, quartz, and marble, giving it high-quality finish that is sure to attract attention. An Oval is priced at $546, with an estimated ship date of May 2016. The team behind it is looking to raise $110,000 by July 17th, 2015.
Any mission to make music more accessible and less intimidating is an admirable one. The Oval’s use of a circular ring with no beginning or end makes it non-threatening in the way a piano or guitar with its difficult structure is. Although this is a device that many people would definitely play around with, there’s doubt in whether people would take an instrument like this seriously enough to use it in their daily lives. At least people have choice: the Oval sits in good company with another digital percussion instrument, the Jambé.