TNR-i full review

TNR-i is the iPad version of Yamaha’s ground-breaking electronic instrument Tenori-On.  Imagine a column of 16 dots arranged in a vertical scale that starts low and ends high; now multiply that by 16 so you have a grid of 256 notes to play and where you switch each one on or off by tapping it. Then run a position marker in a loop across the grid from left to right that ‘plays’ each active note as it crosses the screen. With us so far?

To that, Ternori-On adds 16 layers, each of which can be used to play a different instrument, allowing you to build up complex sequences – some of the layers are specifically designed to randomise notes with each pass, while others let you draw patterns or solo in real time by running a finger over the grid.

Tenori-On’s instruments are firmly electronic but the results are eerily effective (you can see why Björk likes it) and you don’t need to know anything about music to get something out of it.

We wish the company had come up with a better design for the settings menus. Also, finished songs are only compatible with the original hardware device, making TNR-i – for all its delightful quirks – something of a dead end.

TNR-i for the iPad and iPhone lets you create complex electronic musical patterns by ‘painting’ dots onto a grid

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