The Continuum Fingerboard tracks up to 16 fingers on its playing surface. When multiple fingers are touching the surface, each finger can trigger its own note, or the combination of fingers can correspond to a single note. The latter is called Mono on the Continuum Fingerboard. Mono is a very powerful performance feature. It can be used for playing single-note lines with articulation reminiscent of wind instruments, or for oscillating back and forth accurately between two pitch centers.
Single-note lines can be performed with a variety of transitions between notes. If one finger is down, and another is pressed, the Continuum can convert this information into two consecutive single notes with one of the following transitions between the notes:
Legato: The second note has no attack or decay of its own; instead, it continues with the sustain portion of the first note, but jumps to the new pitch.
Retrigger: The second note has an attack and decay; it sounds much like it would if the first note had not been played.
Portamento: The second note has no attack or decay of its own; instead, it continues with the sustain portion of the first note, but smoothly glides to the new pitch.
On the Continuum Fingerboard, the transitions in single-note lines are controlled by finger pressure. If one finger is pressed down, and then a second is pressed down in addition to the first, the transition is as follows:
Legato and Retrigger: The transition occurs when the second finger reaches a higher pressure than the first. If many fingers are down, the finger with the highest pressure is played; if fingers are changing pressure, transitions occur whenever a new finger becomes the finger with highest pressure.
Portamento: The transition begins when the second finger is pressed (the pitch glide begins), and ends when the first finger is released (the pitch glide is completed). The pressure of each finger, as well as the pitch of each finger, determines the pitch played during the transition. Long and short transitions may be performed under control of finger pressure, without changing any externally configured parameters. The pitch glide rate may vary within a single transition, depending on how the performer adjusts finger pressures. If many fingers are down, the pitches and the pressures of each finger are combined to compute the total pitch. The variable nature of this pitch glide allows the performer to create complex glide curves that would be difficult if not impossible to program into a conventional synthesizer.
Mono is selected if:
(1) The Continuum Fingerboard has polyphony 1. Multiple fingers are tracked, but only one note at a time is played on the synthesizer. Only single-note lines can be played, with Mono transitions between the notes.
(2) The Continuum Fingerboard has polyphony greater than 1, but the keyboard is split so that only one voice is assigned to a range of pitches. Within that pitch range, Mono is used, and only single-note lines can be played in that range.
(3) Polyphony is greater than 1, and the pitch interval within which single-note transitions will occur has been configured. This pitch interval is called the Mono Interval. If the second finger is within the Mono Interval of the first finger, a single-note line will be played. If the second finger is outside the Mono Interval of the first finger, multiple notes will sound at once. This feature can be disabled using the Mono Switch pedal, or by setting the Mono Interval to zero.
Mono Function Implementation
The Mono Function determines the type of transitions in the single-note line: Legato, Retrigger, or Portamento. The Mono Function is set one of two ways:
(1) If a Mono Function pedal is connected to the Continuum Fingerboard’s Midi In, the pedal selects the Mono Function.
(2) In the absence of a Mono Function pedal, the Default Mono Function is used. This default can be configured by pressing on the playing surface (see the section on Overlay Strips), or by Midi messages on Midi In (see the section on Midi configuration).
If one finger is pressed down, and then a second is pressed down in addition to the first, a transition may occur. This is the Midi encoding of the transition:
Retrigger: When the second finger reaches a pressure greater than the first, a Note Off will be transmitted for the first finger, and a Note On for the second finger.
Legato: When the second finger reaches a pressure greater than the first, a Pitch Bend will be used to jump to the new pitch; no Note Off or Note On will be transmitted.
Portamento: A series of Pitch Bends will be used to glide the pitch to the new note.