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Pentaphone

Browser-based music performance tool

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The Pentaphone

...is an in-browser music performance tool using React.js and the Web Audio API. Best experienced on the desktop with Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Opera. Internet Explorer does not support Web Audio, and with Microsoft's plans for Edge, it likely never will.

Check out this video to see how it works or click here to try it yourself!

Have a Novation Launchpad? You're in luck: the Pentaphone loves the Launchpad! Check out the repo for how to connect this cool piece of music tech for an alternate interface and sweet light show!

What is a Pentaphone? How do I play one?

Most online synth examples are too complicated: they try to give you everything, but you can make a bunch of music using only a subset of the 12 available notes. The Pentaphone limits itself to just those heavy-hitters. More specifically...

The notes of the pentatonic (the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th notes of a scale) always sound good with their associated chord. The Pentaphone puts those 5 notes in your right hand (spacebar = 1, j = 2, k = 3, l = 5, ; = 6).

The "Big Three" chords in diatonic (Western) harmony are the ones based on the 1st (I), 4th (IV) and 5th (V) notes of the key. Those three chords are in your left hand (s = I, d = IV, f = V).

If you can touch-type, you'll feel right at home with the Pentaphone. Just put your fingers on home row and start playing!

Feeling more adventurous? Try relative minor chords (w = vi, e = ii, r = iii): only one row up.

Play any chord with your LH, then play any notes in the right hand: it always works! You'll feel like an instant musical genius. Explore, try different combinations, even multiple notes in the RH.

But I don't know how to play music!

Try a few of these ideas on for size:

Ready to play? Try it here!