The sound of Poemophone: Optima is the loudest of the Poemophones with a very prolonged resonance and clear tones.  The keys are thin, pliable and pluck easily.  The sounding board and feet are carved of a single piece of cherry.  The keys are closely set together.  As with each of the Poemophones, the keys are hand forged steel.  Optima is the first of the Poemophone series built.

The Optima keyboard is based on the QWERTY keyboard.  The layout of the keyboard is structured as follows:

The Poemophone keyboard arrangement is modeled after that of a typewriter, with three rows of keys running in parallel tiers horizontally across the sound board.  The key arrangement on Optima is divided into a left and right manual, each having a separate bridge and crossbar.  The two bridges incline upwards towards the center of the instrument, laying diagonal within the rectangle of the sound board.  This arrangement places higher pitched tones at the outer edges and lower pitched tones toward the center of the keyboard.

To listen to sound samples please click on the links below.

Listen to the alphabet played on Poemophone: Optima:


Hear the word ‘poemophone’ played on Optima:


Playing the left and right keys of the keyboard:

Left & Right outer keys random play

Playing the middle keys of the keyboard:

Middle keys random play

Playing the bottom row of keys from left to right:

Bottom Row

Playing the middle row of keys from left to right:

Middle Row

Playing the top row of keys from left to right:

Top row

Check out how I have composed and performed with Optima during our Cacophonous Collaborationas an Artist-in-Residence at Hewnoaks Artist Colony, performing in City/Drift Portland (Maine) and performing at the 14th annual Music for People & Thingamajigs Festival

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