The Otamatone is an electronic musical instrument developed in Japan by the Cube Works Company along with Maywa Denki, an art group consisting of the brothers Masamichi and Nobumichi Tosa. It is a singing toy whose body is shaped like an eighth note, with sound emerging from a "mouth" on the notehead. It requires two hands to play: while one hand holds and squeezes the "head", the other hand controls the pitch of the tune by placing the finger on a bar on the stem; a higher position on the stem creates a lower sound. Varying the pressure on the head (thereby opening and closing the "mouth" of the instrument) creates a wah-wah effect, and shaking the neck (and thereby slightly changing pressure on the head) creates a vibrato effect. Switches on the back of the head allow users to change octave, turn it off or on, or change the volume.
The sound made by this instrument can be compared to the sound of a theremin, synthesizer, or jinghu and many believe it to be very disturbing (hence the addition of an earphone jack to the Otamatone Deluxe). It is available in Wahha (an alternate design, but with teeth), Deluxe, and Mini as well as the original.
- Official Otamatone website
- Video by creator Nobumichi Tosa explaining how to play the otamatone
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