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imitone lets you play any instrument with your voice.
imitone lets you play any instrument with your voice.
2,433 backers pledged $90,517 to help bring this project to life.

The Interface

Posted by Evan Balster (Creator)

We're 50% funded in 27 hours!  Thanks for believing in imitone!  It's amazing how much the core idea of this program resonates with people -- and I haven't even told the whole story yet!

Today, I'd like to talk about imitone's features in greater depth.  My goal with this app is to make it as simple as possible, without compromising its expressiveness:  In essence, to provide everything you need and nothing you don't for intuitive music-making.

Let's break the interface above into its component parts.  Remember:  the program does its job with no set-up whatsoever, but the controls below allow you to harness its power in new and creative ways.

The Sequencer displays the musical notes imitone plays as you sing.  Here you can set a musical scale to reduce errors when you're not in perfect tune.  You can either select these from a bank (D) or customize them by turning individual notes on and off (C).  Automatic scale detection is one of our stretch goals -- we left a little room in the corner for it!

Pitch Glide (A) lets you slide from note to note as your voice changes in pitch. This is useful for instruments like trombones and violins which can change their tone without stopping.

Pitch Bend (B) causes imitone to transmit the precise pitch of your voice instead of snapping it to individual music notes.  This profoundly powerful and strange feature can be used for a variety of musical and non-musical purposes!

The Tuner is the beating heart of imitone.  It displays the pitch imitone hears and compares it to the current musical note, helping you to sing (or play) in tune.

The actual pitch of your voice is shown as a white needle (C).  Your voice usually has a natural wobble, called "vibrato", so imitone uses a stabilized pitch, shown with a dark needle (B).  The stabilizer switch (A) lets you use the actual pitch instead for tighter control.

Vibrato control (D) lets you control an instrument's vibrato with your own -- its intensity is displayed as a wiggly line at the base of the dark needle.  This feature takes some training to use effectively, but can be used as a direct and deeply expressive control.

The Volume Bar (A) indicates the loudness of the current note and controls the minimum and maximum volume using two sliders.  Sounds below the minimum volume are ignored, which is useful when there's quiet background noise such as humming machines or people speaking.  The maximum volume is a threshold that corresponds to the loudest sound a digital instrument can make, when using one of the following modes:

Velocity control (B) is designed for instruments like pianos and guitars, and detects the loudness of a note as it crests. This allows different notes to be louder or softer in proportion to your voice.  Because you're "hitting" the instrument, it makes sense to sing with a hard start, like "dah, dah".

Expression control (C) is designed for instruments like violins and flutes, and detects loudness continuously. This allows a sound to swell, tremble and wane to silence.  You can sing with a simple vowel sound like "aah" for delicate control throughout the note.


I'll be making video demonstrations of these modes and their possible uses throughout the campaign, posting them as updates and linking them in the feature-list on the campaign page.  So keep an eye out!

-- Evan


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    1. Josh Freund on

      Sounds great! Excited to use this in the future. :)