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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.

Feature demos! + PayPal option

Posted by Evan Balster (Creator)

Hello --

Thus far, I've made several demonstrations of imitone which emphasized its accuracy and responsiveness.  Today, I'm going to focus on features instead.  imitone is capable of tracking variations in your voice at the millisecond level.  The modes below let you leverage this power for more expressive music-making.

All of the demos in this post are un-edited and stereo, with voice on the left and instrument on the right.  You can listen to one or the other with a pair of headphones.

Scale Snapping

This essential feature tells imitone to pick from a certain set of musical notes, reducing errors when you don't sing in perfect tune.  For instance, you might tell it to snap to C major -- that is, the white keys on a piano.  imitone will feature a bank of common musical scales and keys, and a manual mode where you may set up a custom scale.

Since we've (almost) hit our $30,000 stretch goal, the program will also include an automatic scale detection mechanism which will guess your scale based on a few seconds of singing -- perfect for those of us who don't know music theory.

Expression Control

This mode lets you control the power of your instruments, allowing sounds to swell, tremble, and fade away with your voice.  This is appropriate for instruments which are blown (like flutes) or bowed (like violins).  Expression is precise and can be tricky to control, but offers a depth of expression that normal MIDI keyboards cannot.

There's a second volume control mode I haven't implemented yet, called "velocity control".  This mode will measure loudness only at the beginning of a note, like a traditional MIDI keyboard, and will be more appropriate for instruments which are stricken (like a piano) or plucked (like a guitar).

Pitch Bend

I describe this as a "strange and powerful feature".  It does precisely the opposite of scale snapping, making imitone send the precise pitch of your voice rather than musical notes.  It's a sensible choice for sliding instruments like the trombone.  To use this feature musically requires careful control over your voice.  But it has lots of other uses too...  For instance, this is what happens when you lower the pitch by three octaves and play a tuba with pitch-bend:

...I call it "motorcycle mode".  This is just one of many ways to creatively "mis-use" imitone.

Vibrato Depth Control

This control measures the amount of vibrato in your voice and uses it to modulate an instrument.  If you're capable of controlling your vibrato -- it takes some learning -- this can be a deeply expressive control.

There's actually a second method for controlling instrument vibrato -- turn tone stabilization off, and turn pitch bend on.  This method transmits not just the depth of your vibrato but its precise inflections of pitch, and demands even more precision from your vocal abilities and the digital instrument being used.


Scale correction will be an essential feature for all users of imitone.  The other modes each afford greater control while increasing the challenge of using the program.  If you like, think of them as challenges you can take on one by one -- do you have what it takes to become an imitone master?  :)

A final note:  I've added a PayPal option for backers who are unable to use Amazon Payments to pledge -- this is an immediate charge which will result in the same rewards, but is separate from Kickstarter.

Thanks for all your support.  I couldn't do this without you.
-- Evan

Jack Packard, Porcupine, and 18 more people like this update.


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    1. Missing avatar

      david pawlan on

      Hey Evan, are these features only included in the regular Imitone or are they in the premium version only?

    2. Franklin Webber on

      Thanks for the great demo.

    3. Eddie Adolf on

      Hey I'm not sure if this is been covered but I was curious as to how fast or staccato you can make melodies, is there a speed limit? Can you do timing snaps to 16th or 32nd notes?

    4. Evan Balster 2-time creator on

      Rafael: It works with any software that can take input from a MIDI keyboard -- this includes GuitarPro by the looks of it. Note that imitone can't capture more than one guitar string at a time, though! -- There are other systems specialized for guitar that can pick up all six.

      Hafiz -- A feedback option would make quite a lot of sense. My main concern about that right now is that it can make exclusive low-latency modes trickier to use on Windows. But if it's easily switched off then it's not a problem...

    5. Missing avatar

      Claus Dahl on

      Excellent choice of controls - I was worried if this was going to expressive or not in use - but it seems you have exactly the right idea about this.

    6. Missing avatar

      Hafiz Azman on

      So gooood. Vibrato and expression control basically make this on par with the Seaboard (a recently released keyboard with pitch bend on the keys themselves).
      One thing I'd request if it's not in already: an option to feedback your own voice into the headphones as well as the instrument? Just based on the fact that people sing worse when they can't hear their own voice, especially when the pitch they do hear has been altered to fit a scale. Wonderful job though!

    7. Rafael Masoni on

      This is great! Glad I backed this project.

      It will be VERY helpful to transcribe my song ideas and share with my band mates.

      Does it work well with GuitarPro? It's possible record and save as MIDI and then import into GP, isn't it?

    8. Missing avatar

      Vincent Miceli on

      Absolutely essential tool imitone is. Going to change the entire music industry. It was only a matter of time before some genius made this a reality. Glad it was you, I like you. Soundself is awesome and so would be plaid if you continue working on it.

    9. Evan Balster 2-time creator on

      John: imitone is designed to be used side-by-side with other music programs, in order to leverage the power and variety available in existing software. Conventionally, you would have something like GarageBand open and producing the sound as you sing.

      However, I've realized it would be practical to include some instruments in imitone itself for play and demonstration purposes (and so someone without another music program wouldn't be dead in the water) -- so yes and yes.

    10. Missing avatar

      John Good

      Midi noob here:
      Do the instrument sounds directly come out of imitone or do i need an extra midi program?

    11. PhilllChabbb on

      I had no idea just how powerful imitone was until hearing these demos. Mind blown! Can't even imagine all the beauty this tool will allow people to make. Thanks for making this a reality. :) <3

    12. FifthDream on

      This makes me so excited for the program. It's going to be so amazing.