December 11, 2023

Between the Instrument 1 and the Orba, Artiphon has established itself as an innovative and delightful instrument maker.Today, the Nashville-based hardware startup Return to crowdfunding platform It all started with the introduction of the Chorda, a device that erased the differences between the aforementioned products.

The instrument effectively integrates the Orba’s pads into a guitar neck/keyboard style interface similar to the Instrument 1. As always, pitches are a diverse set of sounds that can be manipulated in many ways. You can strum it like a guitar, hit it like a drum pad, or strum it like a piano.

The interface consists of a dozen musical pads that can be pressed, tapped, tilted, and otherwise manipulated to create different sonic variations. Meanwhile, the Smart Strumming feature mimics guitar chords to keep the song in tune without any real musical skill.

Image Source: Atifon

One of the things I appreciate most about Artiphon’s approach is that it lowers the barrier to entry. I’ve always appreciated clever alternative instruments like Roli’s Seaboard, but using such a device requires the same level of skill as a standard keyboard. The Chorda isn’t a “serious” instrument, but a smart and fun one, thanks to its $199 price point.

“We believe that an instrument should adapt to the way you play it, inspiring creativity every day,” says founder and CEO Mike Butera. “We dream of enabling anyone, wherever they go, to play any sound they can imagine, without worrying about historical instrument skills or abstract music theory.”

Image Source: Atifon

That’s not to say that if you do have the skill set, you can’t use the system in a more serious way. Like its predecessor, Chorda can be used as a MIDI controller. It’s also compatible with GarageBand, Ableton Live, Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Cubase and FL Studio, among others – so it will be interesting to see what pros can create with the system.

Chorda is now on Kickstarter for pre-orders from customers in the US and Canada.