There are countless ways to learn music theory out there. You know – chords, intervals, scales, arpeggios.. that kind of stuff. Most of them are (let’s be frank) quite boring, old or just not interactive, making the process of learning a very difficult and tedious one.
Worst of all, however, none of the theory methods, be it books or apps, are truly connected with the purpose, which is … creating your own music, songs or compositions.
That’s where the concept of Theory Board excels in my opinion: by matching an interactive learning tool with a connected controller that allows you to write songs and play melodies – all in one convenient device.
How it Works
TheoryBoard is – in a nutshell – a MIDI controller. Meaning that pressing any of the color coded buttons on the panel will trigger a MIDI action – typically a note, which makes it a perfectly usable controller, something like Novation or other companies offer.
The innovation of this “board” is about – you guess it – theory. The color codes of the buttons change according to the key of what you’re playing or wanting to learn, enabling you to identify – and build! – any possible chords within that key or any possible note of any known scale.
In a nutshell, the board enables you to play:
– Every scale (a scale is a set of notes)
– Every note within the chosen scale (these notes are based off of a mathematical
– Every chord that can be built from those notes (a chord is when 3 or more notes are
played at the same time)
The TheoryBoard is split into two sections. The “Melody Side” loads four octaves of the single notes within the scale, while the “Chord Side” loads every correct chord. Color is used to express the correlations between these two sides, as well as keeping chords that share the same root note grouped together. See below:
As said, the Theory Board is a MIDI capable controller, so you are able to play virtually any MIDI capable instrument – hardware or software – on the market.
The visually clear and integrated layout of the controller allows you to get a lot of control over your musical layout, making it potentially a very powerful, playful and inspiring songwriting tool.
See the Theory Board in action here:
A portable device like the Theory Board must have convenient connectivity.
It can be at home either at schools or DJ sets alike, so it features Standard MIDI 5 Pin DIN IN/OUT , USB to MIDI and even Bluetooth MIDI for maximum wireless coolness.
How to get it
Theory Board is live on Kickstarter, where it more than doubled the $100.000 goal set by the founders.
Pledging $399 or more will get you an early bird device, and saves about $400 on the MSRP of $799
Personally, I’m looking forward to have one of them soon for review – to me, it looks like a tool than can appeal to beginners, amateurs and pros alike, because of the potential creative use of all possible scalar and chordal combinations right at your fingertips.