Otamatone: The Strange Japanese Instrument
If you have not heard about an Otamatone yet, it is a one-of-a-kind musical instrument created by Maywa Denki design firm and the CUBE Works, a toy company. It features a cute silicone face and charming analog synth that more and more people are starting to enjoy especially with its growing popularity on the Internet.
Its body is shaped like an eighth note (quaver) where the sound emerges from its mouth on the notehead. This two-handed synthesizer instrument’s name Otamatone is a combination of two words – “oto” which means sound and “mato” which means “hand sound”.
This instrument looks like a cartoonish tadpole with arms and a face, but the best part is you can play any song with it. It is perfect for everyone and even for those who do not have any background in playing musical instruments. It is so fun and easy to use. It typically plays two notes that sound together and even kids enjoy it because they can produce recognizable music too.
How to Play an Otamatone
It can be hard to play the Otamatone and find the right pitch, but like every instrument, it takes practice to perfect it.
To produce a sound, you just have to tap or slide your finger up and down the neck or spine of the instrument. You can change the pitch doing so and even create a vibrato effect by shaking your hand. The pitch can be adjusted by squeezing the face on the notehead.
The higher position of the stem or spine produces a lower sound and the lower position creates higher notes.
Opening and closing the mouth of the Otamatone creates a wah-wah effect. There are also switches on the back at the notehead which allow users to change the volume, turn it off or on, or change the octave.
While it may sound and look simple to understand, you can still level up your game with this instrument and all it takes is your creativity. Plus, it may look like a toy, but it is still a legitimate instrument that may also require a fair amount of execution to master.
Unlike playing the piano or the guitar, there are no frets and keys on an Otamatone. You need to play by ear and will surely take practice. With that said, don’t forget to have fun and don’t get too serious learning how to play this unique instrument. You don’t have to perfect it right away. Just let your fingers slide across and make your fun sounds.
Fun is always present in interactive toys that produce music. It is easy to understand why Otamatone is now gaining popularity. Its peculiar sound and unusual appearance are already a hit for adventurous musicians and non-musicians.
This synthesizer has an impressive musical range and many people are enjoying the fact that it is built and priced like a toy. Some versions of Otamatone allow the user to patch in other synth and special effects.
Just like every gadget and instrument, Otamatone also has different editions. The standard and the most popular edition is the Original Otamatone. It has two volume settings and can be played in three different octaves. It is a wonderful choice for beginners. The entire family can play it together. It is one of the best-selling musical toys with a professional musician grade. The Originals are available in white and black.
The Neo is the 10th-anniversary special edition Otamatone designed for better playability.
Simply connect it with a smartphone or tablet using the OTM link function and change the sounds.
The Techno on the other hand is the Rolls Royce of Otamatones. It is an update or deluxe version that can also be connected to a device. Even violinists enjoy this edition.
For kids, you may want to get them the Melody Original Otamatone. It is the smallest version of all the Otamatone series. It has in-built tone settings making it easy and fun to play with. It comes with a keychain attachment so you can carry it wherever you go.
But, if you love to get your game on with this instrument as a real musician, then get yourself a Pro Deluxe Otamatone. It is the advanced and professional version of the series. It is larger than all its previous versions. You can connect it to an amplifier or smartphone too.
Even professional musicians need some fun instruments too! This Pro Deluxe edition is also available in white and black. As expected, more fun awaits us all. The award-winning Otamatone has launched its character series which includes Otamatone Deluxe Kirby. If you love music and video games, this is the perfect version for you!