The TheoryBoard returns in a slightly different form called Thy333 and hits Kickstarter as a colourful MIDI controller, composition tool, chord generator and music instrument.
It’s a cool idea. Why spend all that time learning how to play a piano keyboard when you can apply a scale to the TheoryBoard and never hit a wrong note. It’s the sort of concept we’ve seen in isometric MIDI controllers and touch-screen controllers. Scales have also become commonplace in regular piano-style MIDI controllers. Wrong notes are not really a problem these days but the TheoryBoard takes this idea and runs off with it as far as you can go.
The original TheoryBoard reached its goal on Kickstarter in 2017. The Thy333 is a new and revitalised version that brings everything they learned from the original product and hopes to knock it out of the park.
The Thy333 controller gives you a left and right side matrix of 4×12 colourfully lit buttons. The right side is mapped with all the notes of a specified scale, the left side is mapped with one-finger chords relevant to that scale. You can then play melodies with your right hand and chord progressions with your left and always be in scale with each other. It’s totally brilliant, intuitive and a fabulous tool for finding tunes and chords when composing music.
The right side will also update with all the single notes from the played chord alongside the notes from the scale giving you another way to approach melody discovery. And you can investigate every way of forming and playing a chord you could possibly imagine.
Built-in there are 840 scales from every type of music and culture. Apparently that leads to nearly two billion possible chord combinations. Not sure that’s making things less complicated for people! The 96 RGB pads are velocity and polyphonic aftertouch sensitive and there are 24 hot keys for modulation and special features.
They talk a lot about music theory and the idea that this controller will educate people about the relationship between notes, scales, chords, inversions and harmony. That seems odd to me. The very fact that it sounds great automatically removes any need to worry about the theory behind it and lets you get on with finding tunes, exploring melody and what sounds good to you. And for that, it’s phenomenal.
I was never into the name “TheoryBoard” because it makes it sound far too education and not the least bit fun. so at least they’ve moved on from that but I’m not sure that Thy333 will turn any heads either. It should be called “Rainbow Sauce” or “Note Wizard” or “Awesome Thumping Note Machine” or something! But what do I know? It’s not as if they funded in like 3 hours or anything – oh, they did?
Thy333 is a fabulous looking machine that could revolutionise your music making and give you an enormous amount of compositional pleasure. The hot Super Early Bird price of $499 has nearly sold out so it might be $599 to snag yourself one. Retail price is $1199 which seems a little on the bonkers side to me. They are hoping to deliver by the end of the year.