Video: Tenori-On with 2.1 Firmware Being Remote Controlled from a Computer Using maxMSP

In my last post I mentioned that the Yamaha release new firmware 2.1 for the Tenori-On which among other new features allows for programmatic control of the hardware via MIDI Sysex.

TimL over on this thread over on the Tenori-On forummentioned he has already started writing a MaxMSP patch! He just posted a videoon his YouTube channel ( showing his progress:

V2.1 introduces the remote mode allowing MIDI sysex data to be received and perform all regular functions of the Tenori-On. This maxMSP patch shows a few of the basic functions which can be done remotely. This minor update of the tenori-on firmware releases more of this unique instrument's potential.

Yet another example of the benefit of opening up architectures for programmatic control. I’m looking forward to seeing what Tim and others come up with.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer
Official Web Site:
Listen/Download Albums:

Yamaha Releases Tenori-On 2.1 Firmware Update: What’s New + How to Find The Download + New Computer Control Overview


Hey look, my Tenori-On is running 2.10!!! 

What’s New

Note: I used Google to translate then used info from manual to edit the translation.

  1. TENORI-TENORI remote session capabilities between different ON-ON(TNR-W/TNR-O version 2.1 or later) via a MIDI cable.
  2. Joining a Multiplayer session features TNR-by connecting iPhone (yes the site says iPhone so perhaps there is also an iPhone app coming) or the iPad via TNR-i.  You can join a multiplayer session with Game Center.
  3. Control functions remotely from a computer
  4. Changed the way effect settings are saved. Effect settings (reverb type, reverb parameters, Chorus Type, Chorus parameters) can now be saved in Song, All Blocks, Current Blocks and All Settings.

Download the Firmware

Yamaha has now updated the official site with links and details on the firmware. Click here to jump to the official site and visit the support tab.

New “Remote” Mode


There is a new mode called Remote. I recommend you read the manual included in the zip file, but I will offer an overview here. Remote mode allows you to sync and share performance data between two hardware devices (TNR-O/TNR-W) as well as join a multiple session via an iOS device running TNR-i. Before you access it, Save all the performance data and settings “'File”-> “All Blocks” as remote mode needs this part of memory to operate and as a result deletes these settings. 

  1. To you access “Remote Mode” press [CLEAR] and [OK]
  2. Play the session
  3. Exit the session by pressing [Cancel] and [Clear]

 Computer Control Overview

If remote mode weren't cool enough, Yamaha also added the ability to remotely operate the hardware from a computer via MIDI. There is a very detailed MIDI Sysex specification in the manual in the kit so I’ll just offer a summary here. After a quick review of the MIDI implementation table it looks like you could pretty much control just about all major playing and navigation functions via MIDI Sysex!

  • Remote Mode On/Off Request
  • Remote Mode On/Off Reply
  • Turn LED’s On and Off
  • Turn button on at DRAW Mode
  • LED Button OFF at PUSH mode
  • LED Button hold at SCORE & RANDOM Modes
  • Rotation
  • Play/Pause
  • Loop indicator position
  • Clear/Reset: This Layer, This Block, All Blocks, Reset Blocks
  • Copy: to Block Number, to Layer Number, from Block Number, from Layer Number
  • Common Parameters: Master Volume, Tempo, Scale, Transpose, Loop Speed, Loop Point Top, Loop Point End; Reset Loop Timing, Mute, Swing Rate, Reverb Type, Reverb Param, Chorus Type, Chorus Param
  • Layer Parameter: Instrument, Sound Length, Loop Speed, Loop Point, Volume, Panpot, Animation type, Animation direction, Octav
  • Random Sequence Number
  • Current Block
  • Current Layer Change
  • Current Layer Notify

Update Details

Checkout the PDF manual in the zip for details on the update including a detailed MIDI Specification.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer
Official Web Site:
Listen/Download Albums:

Free Music Friday: "Dark Signals" Electronica Track and Video by Mark Mosher

Watch Embedded Video (I recommend watching in HD!)


"Dark Signals" is a song from my album I Hear Your Signals. This is an original dark electronica song with driving big beats, bit-crushed high-hats, a dash of ambient texture, and distorted synth leads. It's one of my favorite songs off the album and is becoming a crowd favorite at live shows.

In the spirit of Free Music Friday you can get this song, or the entire album over at name your price (enter $0 for FREE).

The song and video are Copyright 2010 Mark J. Mosher and are under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

Listener/Viewer Notes

This video is in HD and I captured the audio full fidelity right from my sound card.  So I recommend you listen with some good headphones or on a good system. You can play full screen, and or stream to your home theater via Tivo, Apple TV.

The video and audio were captured in one continuous take with no content edits so you can here a few artifacts and – dare I say it – teeny mistakes here and there which I left in as it’s part of the “character” of live performance. The only editing is on the video side where I added camera movement, camera mixing and visual effects.

Composer/Producer Notes
The song is original and was composed and produced entirely Ableton Live 8 with virtual instruments and lots of native Live effects. I either played all the notes, hand programmed the notes, or played them live.

The song is peformed in Session view. I have all the scenes laid out so I can control the arrangement on the fly in session view. I’ve mapped a foot controller plugged into my Novation Remote SL MIDI mapped to “Scene Launch” leaving my hands free to play and configure the Tenori-On function on the fly while advancing the arrangement. This also means I’m not locked in and can change the arrangement or extend scenes if I like.

It’s a little hard to see, but when I’m playing keys, I’m riding the modulation wheel to add grit. I’ve also use after touch to add distortion like effects.

The Moog Etherwave Theremin signal is converted from pitch-to-MIDI using a VSTand is driving a textural pad from a virtual synth.

At the 1:42 mark I’m playing lead using Tenori-On matrix controller sending MIDI notes to a virtual synth running in Live. I also use a different “layer” in the Tenori-On to play the nasty metalic pad sound.


The blinking cubes are Percuss AudioCubes. Normally I use these as controllers, but in this song they are light sources which I programed and control using RGB MIDI clips from live.

I created a copy of this set for performance and then froze and flattened tracks with virtual instruments that were either not being played live or were not being modulated live. As a result, I got my set load time down to about 6 seconds and my CPU load down to around 10-20% peaking at around 25% even though I’m playing some VSTs live.


Mark Mosher, Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO