When I first encountered the Manta at Expo ‘74, my immediate thought was “It’s tónová mrízka as hardware.”

I set out to make a Max app that would map tónová mrízka onto the Manta. The tonal relationships seemed complicated on first glance, then I realized the entire chart could be created by a simple pattern of four intervals repeated twice on each row with note staggering at row start points. Once I had this puzzle solved, mapping the Czech akordu diagrams to the Manta turned out to be surprisingly easy. A dollop of royal jelly was applied to allow a wider working range of octaves without repeats, but from overlapped simplicity came very natural seeming complexity.

Honeycomb is the result.

The attribute I love most about this mapping is the creation of chord inversions by specific shapes. Example: a minor chord can be played anywhere on the Manta with three notes in an inverted triangle arrangement. The root note of the chord is always in the upper left point.

Below is Honeycomb’s About pane, where you can see a chart showing spatial interval relationships along with some of the chord shapes created by these relationships, playable everywhere on the Manta’s surface.

Honeycomb is released under the QYBL-NC (Question Your Beliefs License – Non-Commercial). Manta users can download here:

honeycomb_v04.zip (575k, Max patch with supporting image files)

It requires the [manta~] Max object from Snyderphonics.

I’ll be at the next Overlap.org Max/MSP/Jitter/Live Salon with the Manta and Honeycomb. Stop by if you’re of the “making noise with blinking lights beneath your fingers” crew.