Scratch-built overlay vs modified Innovator's (& Concertina layout idea!)

Hey all!

I’m planning to purchase a Morph soon, and I’m trying to figure out whether I need the Innovator’s overlay. I’m looking forward to playing the piano overlay and doing some basic XY pad stuff, but what I’m really hoping to be able to do is recreate the keyboard layout of the Wicky-Hayden concertina (an intuitive and compact isomorphic keyboard layout, which I utterly love playing):

WH morph overlay
(yes that’s actual size on a Morph! Concertina buttons are tiiiiny)

I thiiiiink I can do this without an innovator’s overlay: I’d prototype it on paper in no-overlay mode, then when I’m happy with the design I can get it 3d-printed or laser-cut into silicone of the right durometer, magnet holes and all. But I wanted to see what other people think.

What you describe is definitely possible. You are limited to 96 “pads” on the morph - I didn’t count your “tiles” there, but it looks like a lot, and could be more than 96!

Ah… a 96 pad limit really sucks for this. This design is about 182 pads.

96 pads means you’re limited to 4 octaves –a long way from the ‘pocket grand piano’ I was picturing. I could maybe get 4.5 or 5 octaves if I remove a lot of duplicate buttons, which is not bad. But that means you have to use special fingerings for certain keys, which makes the controller ‘less isomorphic’. (Or one could implement a “transpose” button, but that doesn’t work for polytonal music.)

I think this is still really worth doing! Just a shame about the note limit. I’m guessing that the 96-pad limit is to do with the Morph’s memory capacity, and not something that could change with future firmware?

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(because the buttons are so tiny, you need at least some duplicate buttons for each hand. There’s no way you can squeeze one hand up next to the other like on a piano).

@Dtsenn I did submit a similar layout to the Morph overlay contest back in 2015, a variant of the Wicky-Hayden layout with tilted rows so the pitch axis is vertical.

Also have a look at the Striso board, you might like it too (pre-orders for the next batch will open soon).

Hey! I’m a really big fan of the Striso project! They look like beautifully made devices, and I love that they have an onboard synth engine. I’d love to try one out in-person sometime.

I’m a concertina player (as well as an electronic musician), and what I want is something that lets me transfer my skills on my favourite acoustic instrument into MPE. The Striso has somewhat different spacing and angles to my concertina, and it’s not quite big enough for two-handed playing. So it’s probably not for me right now, but I’m very excited about what you’re doing :).

I’ve gone ahead and ordered a Morph, and I’ll try to remember to update when I’m making progress with this design!

If the 96-pad limit can’t be lifted, what would really help would be a “Shift”/“Fn” type functionality in the overlay designer. Then I could have 95 keys and an Fn button, which (for example) turns the top row of keys into MMC and transport controls.

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