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Thummer keyboard

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

A prototype of the Thummer.
A game controller with thumb-operated joysticks.

The Thummer was a prototype musical instrument that contained an isomorphic keyboard with the Wicki-Hayden note layout and at least one thumb-operated joystick.

Announced by the Australian company Thumtronics Pty Ltd in 2005, the Thummer won awards and received extensive press coverage.[1][2][3][4][5] However, the product did not come to market. Isomorphic keyboards similar to those used in a jammer have been shown to accelerate the rate at which students grasp otherwise-abstract concepts in music theory.[6][7]



The jammer keyboard was invented by Jim Plamondon in September 2003. Following this, he founded Thumtronics to design its "Thummer(tm)-brand jammer" and bring it to market.[8] The trade name was to emphasize the unique thumb-control feature. Prototype Thummers were produced, but the effort to commercialize them failed, and Thumtronics was disbanded in mid-2009.


How the fingers are positioned to play a thummer.
  1. At least one 2-dimensional keyboard in a hexagonal array; preferably, one for each hand.
    The keys of the left-hand instrument are mirror-imaged to those on the right, to match the mirroring of one's hands.
  2. Notes assigned to the array using the Wicki/Hayden note-layout.[9]
  3. At least one thumb-operated expressive control (such as the thumb-operated joysticks found on seventh-generation video game controllers).
  4. Optionally, other expressive controls, such as internal motion-sensors (such as those found in the Wii Remote video game controller), foot-pedals, breath controllers, etc.


  1. Jurgensen, John (7 December 2007). "The Soul of a New Instrument". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  2. Beschizza, Rob (1 March 2007). "The Thummer: A Musican Instrument for the 21st Century?". Wired. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  3. Van Buskirk, Eliot (25 September 2007). "Thummer musical instrument combines buttons, Wii-style motion detection". Wired. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  4. Merrett, Andy (26 September 2007). "Thummer: new concept musical instrument based on QWERTY keyboard and motion detection". Tech Digest. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  5. Strauss, Paul (25 September 2007). "Thummer: This Synthesizer is All About Expression". TechnaBob. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  6. Holland, S. (1993). "Learning about harmony with Harmony Space: An overview". Proceedings of the 1993 World Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education on Music Education (AI-ED 93): 24–40.
  7. Bergstrom, T.; Karahalios, K.; Hart, J. C. (2007). Isochords: visualizing structure in music. Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2007. p. 297. doi:10.1145/1268517.1268565. ISBN 9781568813370. Search this book on
  8. "The Thummer: A Musican Instrument for the 21st Century?". Wired.
  9. Milne, Andrew; Sethares, W.A.; Plamondon, J. (March 2008). "Tuning Continua and Keyboard Layouts". Journal of Mathematics and Music. 2 (1): 1–19. CiteSeerX doi:10.1080/17459730701828677.

See also[edit]

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