What Is a Continuum Fingerboard aka Haken Continuum? A Complete Guide On This Electronic Music Instrument

Continuum Fingerboard aka Haken Continuum
Continuum Fingerboard aka Haken Continuum( Source : reverb )

Haken Continuum Fingerboard is a musical instrument made to be expressive and satisfying to play as an acoustic one. It has a playing surface that is three-dimensional, polyphonic, and class-leading, with a tactile quality unmatched by any other instrument.

There are five essential instrument families: keyboards, percussion, woodwind, brass, and strings. Continuum Fingerboard is a revolution of the keyboard, we can say. 

Most keyboards have 66, 72, or 88 keys as standard. Most music may be played on an instrument with 72 keys. However, 66 keys are sufficient for a novice to learn how to play. 

An electronic keyboard, often a portable or digital keyboard, is a type of electronic musical instrument. Then came a Haken Continuum Fingerboard and even its mini version with more features and more creativity that musicians love using it. 

The Continuum may look like a regular keyboard, but we shouldn't compare it to one. It's different in so many ways.

What Is Haken Continuum Fingerboard, aka Haken Continuum?

The Haken Continuum Fingerboard is a musical instrument that looks like an improved keyboard version.

It combines a powerful and complicated synthesizer with a susceptible surface specifically designed to improve its expressive senses. The EaganMatrix, a synthesizer designed by musician and sound designer Edmund Eagan, is a part of the Continuum, which Lippold Haken has improved over the previous few decades.


Although the Continuum sounds fantastic and is enjoyable and approachable when the musician first starts playing, there is no promise that it will happen immediately. It shines when one approaches the learning curve like a conventional acoustic instrument.

Excellent performances will result through technique practice, taking the time to establish relationships, and comprehending the Continuum. The Continuum is rewarding when more effort is put in. This is what genuinely distinguishes it from a conventional synthesizer.

Who Invented the Haken Continuum?

Lippold Haken created the Continuum Fingerboard in the early 1980s. He started it to take the conventional keyboard synthesizer and make it considerably more expressive and adaptable. His concept eventually led to the creation of the Haken Audio Continuum Fingerboard, which debuted in 1999.

Haken Audio, based in Champaign, Illinois, sells Lippold Haken's Continuum Fingerboard, a music performance controller and synthesizer. Haken is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois.

It's been more than two decades now since Haken Continuum was invented, but still, there is ongoing development on its features. 


Its Features Include Neoprene Surface And More

Haken Continuum Fingerboard is made of neoprene so to get a sense of how it feels. It's the same material that diving suits are made of.

The surface is stretched above hundreds of metal bars held by springs and sitting. Besides, magnets are used to detect the slightest touch and movements. It contains a built-in digital synth developed by Edmund Egan.

It can control other hardware and software synths, but it's at its best when the surface and the built-in synth are combined. The result is a surface that, if you gently lay your hands on it, won't make a sound, but the slightest touch beyond that can be detected as hits or slides or gentle changes in pressure.

Left and proper motion are on the X-axis, whereas backward and forwards are on the Y-axis, and downward pressure is on the Z-axis. Having pitched behaved fluidly like that makes vibrato very natural, whereas a traditional keyboard can't target notes or feel the vibration like that.

The Continuum supports polyphonic expression. That means all the modulations in any direction can happen per note. Another continuum feature is its external pedal support.

You can plug in up to two expression pedals, which can be modulated for any purpose. It behaves like a sostenuto pedal with volume control. With the expression pedal, you can also control the level of the droning notes. 

How Does Haken Continuum Fingerboard Work?

The Haken Audio Continuum Fingerboard features a piano-inspired control panel. The board allows for continuous pitch control over 8 octaves, as its name suggests. Additionally, a performer can alter the timbre of each note played by moving their fingers in the so-called "y-direction" (front to back).

A genuinely unique playing experience is created by the strong synthesis sound engine working in harmony with the specially designed sensitive playing surface. The instrument has improved in its features and size during improvement.

Unlike any other electronic instrument, it analyzes a high-speed stream of performance data to capture the specifics of the finger assault trajectory.

Using subtractive synthesis, physical modeling with modal filter banks, FM, Spectral Sets with Microanalysis, and incorporating a waveguide with feedback and feedback delay networks, the internal sound engine is exotic but accessible.

Continuum is Based On the Eagan matrix

The Continuum controls any external hardware or software synth, but it shines with its internal synth, which is called the Eagan matrix. The matrix is potent but not that simple. It is a modular synthesizer where one can make connections between sources and destinations. 

The beauty of the matrix is that it could be beautified by putting formulas on the grid, not just values. These formulas can take into consideration how we plan on the continuum surface. Eagan matrix is polyphonic. Playing it is immediately fun and offers a lifetime of opportunities to learn new playing methods.

The picture is complete with the Eagan matrix sound engine's limitless, rich sonic potential. It offers an unmatched level of integration with the Continuum playing surface thanks to its innovative matrix architecture and deep modulation structure. The most expressive digital musical instrument ever created comprises these two main parts.

It offers an unmatched level of integration with the Continuum playing surface thanks to its innovative matrix architecture and deep modulation structure.

Know The Basic Preset Control 

The essential preset control of the Continuum doesn't have a built-in screen or knobs. Hence, it's best controlled by an external controller, whether a computer or iPad, and it also supports the beats tab and the more expensive one controlled by Kenton.

There is still essential control using the shortcuts printed on it and the button on the left. It's pretty cumbersome to use it. It's workable, and there are some quick controls there. But, if one needs some internal controller connected to it, they can use it also. 

On the external controller, there are macros, or they are called barrels, and they provide control. Besides, the barrel or macros there also effects controls. Instead of using a computer, an iPad app can also be used. It offers great access to preset selection and all the leading control parameters, effect parameters, barrels, and so on. 

Continuum Fingerboard Price: Why Is It So Expensive?

There are few expressive quote-unquote instruments, but nothing quite like the Continuum fingerboard. The device has its flaws that the player might wish to have additional features like an internal display and onboard knobs, and mostly the player might wish the instrument would be cheaper.

The half-sized version costs $3400, and the full-sized version costs around $5300. It costs more like a good saxophone than achieved synth. It is expensive because it's handmade and not the poles day job. An instrument like the Haken Continuum Fingerboard was made to be equally expressive and satisfying to play as an acoustic one.

Intro Of The ContinuuMini

The bigger Continuum Fingerboards from Haken Audio have been replaced with the more compact and reasonably priced ContinuuMini.

The ContinuuMini offers a gratifying and enjoyable musical performance experience while being pleasant to play and sharing the same sound engine as the larger Continuums.


It offers a comparable gaming experience in a new, small, and economical design. It utilizes the same sound engine as the larger Continuum Fingerboard, providing the same high caliber of sound that Continuum owners have grown to love.

The ContinuuMini's playing surface has been created to convert single or double finger movements into lovely musical expressions. It is not just a tiny version of a vast Continuum; it has its own distinct playing experience despite sharing identical design principles with the Continuum Fingerboard.

The playing surface of the Mini can react to extremely light touches, utilizing a little-used element of human control, the hand's capacity to offer delicate light touch finger input. The Continuum Fingerboard can give you the advantage in sound, expressiveness, and creativity you seek.

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