© IWAI Toshio / Yamaha Corporation

12th Entertainment Division Grand Prize


Musical instrument

IWAI Toshio / “TENORI-ON” Development Team (NISHIBORI Yu, Representative) [Japan]


A device with an interface similar to a video game console, and designed to use light and sound to create a new type of musical instrument. The 256 LRD lights, arranged so that there are 16 vertical lines in 16 horizontal rows, function as switches; they create patterns of light that allow the player to visually control the sound. This entry made a great impression, and was developed cooperatively with a company to create a marketable product.

Reason for Award

In music creation, sound sources have undergone a revolutionary change in last 40 years, as electronically synthesized sounds (synthesizers) and recorded original sound (samplers) have become normal resources. However, the main interface that controls these sound sources is still either the keyboard, which has changed very little since the Middle Ages, or pads that imitate traditional percussion instruments. The reason for this award was the inevitability of this innovation. More significantly, it has made the interface, i.e. the connecting surface between a human and a machine, into a piece of commercial hardware. This device can certainly be played casually without any musical knowledge, and it has an unknown number of possibilities. Other than this device, I personally am aware of no other instrument (or musical interface) that so strongly inspires the first-time player to take on a new challenge.