A whammy bar on a guitar allows players to add vibrato to some chops while picking, and the Vibe Bar from Claude Woodward does the same for MIDI keyboards. It allows music makers to cook in pitch bends and vibrato using the same hand that's playing the notes.

Instead of using a pitch or mod wheel, which requires a hand to be moved away from the keyboard area, the Vibe Bar sits in front of a MIDI controller keyboard and allows musicians to use add vibrato to notes and chords using the playing hand.

Rocking forward or back will bend the note up or down a semi-tone, while moving to the left or right will push the note up or down by a full tone. Combining the two movements offers up minor third possibilities. And gently rocking from side to side while playing gives vibrato.

Though it's not made clear, presumably the altered note would return to normal pitch when the player's palm lifts off the Bar, otherwise keying could be quite a sonic challenge. And there's no word on whether it's available for MIDI controllers with more than 37 keys. But as you can see from the video demo below, Woodward does make playing look smooth and easy.

The Vibe Bar is powered over USB, and includes breath and pedal inputs and a MIDI out port. It's up for order direct from Sonic Manipulations for AUD 350 (about US$270), making it a good deal cheaper than Roli's much more expressive Seaboard Rise.

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