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Misa Kitara

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The Misa Kitara is a digital MIDI controller and musical instrument developed in 2011 and discontinued in 2013. It allows for a guitar player to produce a synthesized sound using techniques and motions referential to guitar playing.

The Kitara was the first digital musical instrument to combine the use of touch buttons for strings and frets with an 8 inch multi-touch screen. The player controls sound effects and parameters through this display, as opposed to strumming strings like on a traditional guitar. The display allows for comprehensive control as well as a wide-variety of noise and effect production. The produced sound changes based on the position, number, and movement of fingers on this display.

The Kitara uses an internal wavetable synthesizer with effects to generate sounds by itself. The Kitara is powered by an open-sourced Linux based CPU, making it possible to reprogram the Kitara, modify existing sounds, and program new ones.

Official Product Information

The Misa digital guitar is an experimental new instrument, similar to an electric guitar in shape, but with an interface designed to easily and intuitively control digital audio.

Most musicians today use some form of audio synthesis or sampling in their music. Virtually any type of sound can be created using these methods. Traditionally, digital piano keyboards have been the dominant instrument for controlling these sounds real-time in a musical setting.

At Misa, we provide a new instrument that not only unites traditional guitar playing technique with digital sound, but allows digital guitarists to use playing techniques that are not possible or comfortable on a digital keyboard.

The Misa Kitara consists of three main components: a full fretboard, a multi-touch screen and an onboard polyphonic synthesizer with sounds and effects.

The kitara’s neck has 24 frets, but instead of strings each fret contains buttons.

You play notes by touching on the screen. The position and movement of your touch determine how the sound is generated and processed.

You can apply a number of digital effects, including distortion, delay and modulation, and you can control these effects through the touch panel interface.

You can save sounds as presets, and you can swap preset files online.

You can assign one sound to all six strings, or assign different sounds to different strings. The kitara can control compatible MIDI devices too. Everything is configurable. It runs Linux and is open source.

We are obsessed with digital guitar. But we also love electric guitar, and we have learned what it's good at and what it's capable of. Some of its most important qualities and characteristics stem from the very fact that the electric guitar is made out of wood and strings. A guitar string is "beautiful" - because the sound generated comes from the very vibration of the string, interfering with a magnetic flux and inducing an electric voltage, which is then amplified. Why would you want to emulate that? It is perfection. It is pure nature. It is in the analog domain. We did not intend the Misa digital guitar to replicate a traditional guitar

Electric guitars are great for electric music. Digital music is a different story.

Traditional guitars by their very nature have limitations in the context of digital music. To create sound you need to hit a string, so that the sound at its most intense point is always the beginning of the pluck. The left hand controls what notes to play, and the right hand controls when to play these notes and the intensity of the notes. Effects can be inserted into the signal chain, but they are usually foot pedals which makes the experience of controlling effects disjointed from what your hands are doing. Plus, you can only really control one pedal at a time. Even in the (rare) case that controls are mounted on the guitar, the hand needs to switch between strings and controls. This may be okay if you only use effects occasionally, but when every note you play needs the controls set differently - good luck with that.

Electronic music cannot be played effectively with such constraints. In electronic music, the timbre (or colour) of the sound can be morphed in an infinite number of ways. For a guitar to accommodate this, the right hand needs more control than just plucking strings. You need to be able to control elements of the sound, such as sustain, pitch, filter or any other synthesizer parameter, in a way that has no physical constraints.

This was the thought process when designing the Misa kitara. There are no strings on this instrument. The right hand doesn't pluck strings, it controls sound.

So don't compare the kitara to acoustic guitars or electric guitars. Those are different instruments, for different art forms, for different music. This is electronic music.

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Technical Specifications
Type: Digital
Synthesis: Wave Table
Oscillators: 1
Waveforms: Wave Table
ROM Resolution: 16 bit
Osc Modulation: AXYZ, Envelope, Keyboard, LFO
Envelopes: 2
Filters: 2
Filter Modulation: Envelope, LFO
LFO: 1
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 6
Timbrality: 6
Tuning: Standard
Modes: Polyphonic
Patches RAM: 8
Multipatches RAM: 8
Storage: Internal, USB
Editing: USB
Distortion – Modify the onboard distortion effect settings.
Compression – Modify the onboard compressor effect settings.
Delay – Modify the onboard delay effect settings.
Modulation – Modify the onboard modulation effect settings.
Reverb – Modify the onboard reverb effect settings.
Chips and Operating System
500MHz AMD Geode CPU
Linux Operating System
Case: Desktop
Case Details: Touch screen with guitar neck and 144 fret buttons.
Keyboard: Buttons, Touch Screen, Plastic
Controls: Buttons, AXYZ
Display Type: TouchView
Display Count H: 800 pixels
Display Count V: 600 pixels
Display Notes: 8 inch multi-touch display
Audio Output Connections: 1/4" Phone Jack, 1/8" Phone Jack, Stereo Main, Stereo Headphone
Audio Output Count: 2
Year Released: 2011
Year Discontinued: 2013
Manuals & Documents

Product Links
Company Product Sites:
[+] misa-digital.myshopify.com
MSRP List Price: $1099 - convert
Retail Street Price: $780 - convert
Used Price: $600 - convert
References & Sources

  Report Synthesizer

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