How to Play It
The performer must place fingers accurately to play in tune and can slide or rock fingers for glissando and vibrato. A surface guide pattern assists the player in accurately playing a desired equal tempered pitch. Any alternate tuning is at the performer’s disposal by varying away from this equal tempered reference. The z (pressure) position of each finger provides dynamic control. The performer produces tremolo by changing the amount of finger pressure. An experienced performer may simultaneously play a crescendo and diminuendo on different notes. The y (front-to-back) position of each finger provides additional timbre control for each note in a chord. By sliding fingers in the y direction while notes are sounding, the performer can create timbre glides. Depending upon the capabilities of the synthesizer used with the Continuum Fingerboard, the y position can have a variety of effects. One possibility is to let the y position on the Continuum Fingerboard correspond to the bowing position on a string instrument, where bowing far from the bridge produces a mellower sound and bowing near the bridge produces a brighter sound. Another possibility is to let y morph between timbres of different acoustic instruments. In either case, the performer can bring out certain notes in a chord not only by playing them more loudly, as on a piano, but also by playing them with a different timbre quality.
Performing on the Continuum Fingerboard is challenging. Like a fretless instrument, a performer must rely on audio feedback, finger memory and manual dexterity for accurate intonation and expression. Like the Theremin, or any acoustic instrument, the Continuum Fingerboard requires extensive practice. New possibilities for expressive performance are the reward for those who learn to play the Continuum Fingerboard.