History of The Thummer

The history of the Thummer instrument started with the basic problem that it is too difficult to learn how to play music. Former computer programmer Jim Plamondon wanted to help his wife learn how to play music, but the requirements for existing instruments made that process too hard for a beginner. Instead of finding an easier way to learn the piano or guitar, Plamondon started to look at the underlying music theory to see if there was the same simplicity in music that exists with nearly every complex system. His findings led him to believe that the only way to make learning music easier was to invent a new instrument that embraced the music theory concepts in an elegant and playable manner. The result was the Thummer. After spending two years in research, Plamondon finally found the breakthrough he was looking for. He discovered that the primary aspect of structure in music is not found in the individual notes that are being played, but rather in the intervals of the music. Therefore, the creation of an instrument that would be easy to play must be built on the structure of the intervals and not as concerned with the relationship between various pitches. Using the Wicki/Hayden layout, Plamondon was able to create a keyboard that followed the natural progression of musical intervals. From this base, Plamondon got stuck. He knew that he could not simply patent an electronic version of an instrument that used the Wicki/Hayden layout. To take a break, he started playing video games in a session that lasted two full days. At the end of this period, he realized that the intuitive joystick on the video game controller was the answer. The joystick would be used to control all of the dynamic expression, including the bending of pitches, vibrato, and volume. In this manner, the design of the Thummer was complete and the instrument was ready to be created.

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