Music Instruments of the Future

Alpha Sphere

What comes next in the music industry?

Long gone are the days of playing a guitar, the drums or a keyboard. They were all so last century, right? Perhaps not. Yet, there are a whole host of new instruments being inventive that are challenging the way that we create and distort sound.

Here are a few new technologies that are worth keeping an eye on. Some of them are already available to buy:

The Gloves (Imogen Heap’s new favourite toy)

This was originally shown in WiredUK back in January. It is Imogen Heap and her 3D performance gloves that she used to control her Ableton Live session. She describes it as “like playing an instrument in 3D space”.

Called “The Gloves”, this system includes a number of sensors (accelerometers, gyroscopes, flex sensors, etc) and relies on an integration with Kinect. Kinect helps the system measure a number of parameters associated with the movement of her hands and arms. A full video of Imogen playing with the gloves can be found here.


The AlphaSphere is a new electronic musical controller which reinterprets the way we interact with sound. The controller has 48 pressure sensitive pads, each of which trigger sound when you tap them. What makes this really special is that as you apply more pressure to the pad you mould and manipulate the sound further.

AlphaLive, the software provided when you buy the controller, allows the user to load up the AlphaSphere with any sounds. It’s a great way of bringing traditional instruments and computer produced music together. It’s fun to play and available to buy.

Reactable Mobile

This is a mobile synthesiser that allows you to create and play your own sound samples. The Reactable was conceived in 2003 by a research team at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona.

After this successful introduction to the research community, the instrument got known to a wider audience when the team released several demonstration videos on Youtube in late 2006. Some of these videos included prominent musicians such as Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk. The synthesiser is now available on both iOS and Android.


The Tenori-On has been developed by media artist Toshio Iwai and Yamaha. Describing it as “a new digital musical instrument for the 21st century,” the Tenori-On is a 16×16 matrix of LED switches which allow everyone to play music intuitively. Like many of the instruments listed in this article, their focus is as much on creating a beautiful aesthetic as it is on developing an intuitive instrument. This is also already on the market too.


What do you think the future of music will involve? Do you think these instruments will survive? Join in the debate by tweeting me @samueljfry #futuremusic


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Samuel Fry

Author: admin

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