Yamaha Tenori-on for iOS released

Tenori-on style apps for Apple's iOS have arguably lessened the appeal of Yamaha's light-up, grid-based hardware over the past couple of years, so it's slightly ironic that a version of the iconic instrument has now been released for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

The design of TNR-i, as its known, is broadly similar to its physical forebear: you get a 16 x 16 grid of buttons, with the horizontal direction indicating time and the vertical representing pitch. Buttons can be pressed to trigger and sequence sounds (up to 16 at a time) and you create song patterns (up to 16) and switch between them in real-time.

Just like the Tenori-on, TNR-i can operate in various compositional modes, but it also has a few new tricks up its sleeve. You can create songs with up to four other people over a network, for example, and if you have a Tenori-on or Tenori-on Orange, this can be used with the TNR-i to enable network functionality on that, too.

What's more, because the presets are identical, performance files between hardware and software versions are fully compatible and exchangeable.

TNR-i costs £11.99 and is available now from the App Store. What isn't yet clear is whether or not the app supports MIDI Out, which would enable you to use it as a controller for your software and hardware synths.

It remains to be seen whether a direct port of the Tenori-on will work in software - the joy of the instrument lies as much in its build and look as it does its feature set - but if you're an iOS-owner who's always liked the idea of the hardware but never felt able to justify shelling out hundreds of pounds for it, the app's appeal is obvious.

Check out the video above for a demo of TNR-i in action, and click here for a gallery of screenshots.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.