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What is it?
In short, LinnStrument is an expressive alternative to the MIDI keyboard controller. It does not generate any sounds but rather sends standard MIDI messages over its MIDI or USB jacks to any MIDI sound generator or software. But that's where the similarity ends. Unlike a MIDI keyboard's simple on/off switches, LinnStrument's patent-pending multi-touch technology captures three dimensions of each finger's movement, polyphonically, for a far greater degree of musical expression than can be achieved on a MIDI keyboard. In addition to providing standard strike velocity, typically finger pressure (Z axis) is used to vary note loudness, finger left-right (X axis) movement is used to vary pitch, and finger forward-backward (Y axis) movement is used to vary timbre.
Also unlike a MIDI keyboard, LinnStrument's notes are arranged not as on a piano, but rather like any stringed instrument, with multiple rows (strings) consisting of 2 octaves of semitones each. The rows can be tuned as a guitar, in fifths as a violin or cello, in fourths (as shown in the picture at left), or any interval you like. To make it easy to find the right notes, the naturals (C, D, E, F, G, A and B) are lit, with all the C notes lit in a different color, though you can alternatively light any scale or accent notes you choose, and in any of six colors: red, green, blue, cyan, magenta or yellow.
With LinnStrument's 3-dimensional control, you'll find little use for envelope generators or LFOs because your finger movements do a better job of controlling a note's envelope, vibrato, pitch slides, tremolo, bends, timbral changes and other musical gestures, just like on acoustic instruments. All this adds up to an electronic instrument with expressive control approaching that of fine acoustic instruments, allowing you to develop subtle musical gestures and a personal playing style, just as great musicians have done in past on acoustic instruments.