Introducing the Pandiatonic Autoharp, a modified autoharp that can play entire scales rather than just 1 chord at a time

Pandiatonic Autoharp

Earlier this year (during quarantine) I bought an Autoharp with the plan of modifying it so that it could play entire scales rather than just 1 chord at a time.

I bought 12 additional blank felt bars, and my gf helped me to cut the felt on each so that 1 bar mutes 1 pitch class (i.e. all octaves of a note) when its button is depressed.

I was so jazzed when the project worked as planned! Luckily I have small hands, so I’m able to push down 5 buttons at once, allowing the remaining 7 notes of the chroma to ring out when the instrument is strummed / plucked / picked.

I created a visual interface to help me figure out which button-depression-combinations correlates to which scale, and wrapped it within my Scale Navigator web app. As I select the scale with Scale Navigator open on my iPad, the Autoharp visual interface shows me which buttons to press to stay harmonically synchronized with the current scale.


This is fascinating. Any chance you took photos as you made the modifications?

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Acoustic MIDI scale device, nice ! Good job !
By the way I had never seen the name “acoustic” for a scale, it sounds like a minor melodic mode, is that it ?

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Yes I do have some photos, but I’m unable to upload more than one at a time because I am new to lines. I’ll link to a proper blog post sometime this week that will include all documentation.

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Erno Lendvai uses it in his book about Bartok, but more importantly to my project, Dmitri Tymoczko uses it in his paper scale networks and Debussy

Ok, thank you for the link, I’ll real that !

The felt bars are a part that wears down so there’s plenty of YouTube tutorials how to cut new ones.

The only difference here is the specific notes each bar is muting.


Sorry, forgot to reply that yes, “acoustic”, “melodic minor” and “lydian dominant” are all the same scale