I just ordered a Tenori-on. For a long while, I have been wanting to round out the one thing that I really don't have, a step sequencer. Actually, I do in a sense. There is a simple one in the Korg M3 I have and KARMA can do a lot of sequencing but the problem is, I want to think a new way about my music.
The most enjoyable times I have had playing music have also been the times that I have played the best music. For example, for me to play a really good jazz solo over chord changes I have to spend a lot of time playing scales and cementing in my mind the chord changes for a song. But those times that I have played really good solos it was all natural. Once the foundation was laid the creative part became play which is what any pure creative act is.
When I first saw Tenori I thought of it as a toy and in many ways I still do but after years of using more complicated toys in music, I am not sure that the simplistic, visual and playful approach of Tenori is not exactly what the doctor ordered for my music.
One of the reasons I have never really learned Korg's KARMA is that reading the manual for it is like reading some sort of computer science journey. Sure, if you get to the 10th level of a series of menus you can probably make KARMA get up in the morning and make you morning coffee but its not elegant and its not playful. Tenori on the other hand is both.
Simple ideas often work best. Consider Beethoven's 5th. It's a theme on three notes, three notes! Think about that. Sure, I know, there is a lot more to it than that but the basic structure is three notes.
I love music but I find when music get's tedious for me it loses its flavor. I have longed since wanted to get into poly rhythms and add some sequences to my compositions. I don't want my music to get stale and I want to move it in new directions. Tenori is a way to do that.
Now I think Tenori is in many ways stage one. I hope Yamaha does not see it as a finished product but rather, the 1st installment on a way to think about music more visually.
So when I get my Tenori I am going to plug it right into my M3 and my Voyager. I also want to send Tenori MIDI messages into my MP201 and then control Moogerfoogers from this. The potential to get to some pretty sophisticated sequences that can change over time is tremendous.
So, I await to create new sonic gateways all by playing with a toy.