In 1992 I had a dream. The dream was about the future. The future of music. I saw a most amazing dream of a musician on a stage of a top show on TV, being broadcast playing a new musical instrument. This instrument was like nothing in existence in 1992, and still 30 years later in 2022, there is nothing like it, yet.
I applied for a US Patent and got it 2.5 years later. We went into production with several prototypes and settled on a software based prototype that use off-the shelf electronic musical MIDI keyboards in a stack of four which we dubbed the Chordboard STAC. It worked, and it was exciting. Here is the journal entry shortly after having that early morning dream in 1992:
In 1992 I had a vivid dream and remembered it when I woke up. I was at a music production studio, actually a sound stage for a TV show and a famous future musician was on stage playing his music and he was using a surface instrument that was colorful and graphical, the concepts which have been depicted on Star Trek TV shows, however this was different. It was a musical instrument. And it was fantastic. The musician said, "OK, we're going to make the song sound sadder now," and he pressed some colorful geometric shapes that were on the screen of the instrument, and now when he played it, it sounded truly sad and the whole emotion of the song changed. It was at that precise moment that I woke up
In the picture below, in our office studio, we had several prototypes set up and hooked up to various computer systems. It was a fantastic musical studio where are creative ideas were born. In this setting we actually refined the software and ended up making a lot of very new sounding music, even SYMPHONIC music.
What was so cool about this invention was it made it easy to play very complex chords, even movie music, even symphonic music. What an accompaniment you could make with it, and driving complex and awesome MIDI notes to a high quality professional sounds keyboard such as the Yamaha Motif XS8 in this scenario. Great sounds. Great rhythms. With a Clavinova CVP 809 digital piano, even more fantastic.
Here is a video from a decade ago on how this prototype, sold to professional musicians, actually worked.
The near future? A surface based symphonic keyboard instead with new and significantly upgraded controls and features not found in the original prototype. This is not a piano or anything like it. But it is definitely a futuristic musical instrument that takes much skill to master, but shortens the learning curve by orders of magnitude over what it takes to say, learn to play the piano at a professional level. With the MERIDI there is nothing automatic about it, anymore than playing a chord on a guitar or piano properly is automatic. All musical instruments play notes in different ways, and some musical instruments such as a trumpet can not even play a chord, only a single note at a time. With MERIDI it is possible to play 10 notes at a time with two hands, and these notes, being symphonically spaced, are impossible to play on a piano. Watch the video above for more on that.
This product is under development and patents have been applied building on the 1995 patent previously obtained by Grant Johnson / Enoch.. For more information on the history of the development of this musical product please visit www.meridimusic.com