|Classification||Electronic musical instrument|
|Inventor(s)||Suzuki Musical Instrument Corporation|
The Omnichord is an electronic musical instrument introduced in 1981 by the Suzuki Musical Instrument Corporation. It typically features a touch plate, and buttons for major, minor, and 7th chords. The most basic method of playing the instrument is to press the chord buttons and swipe the touch plate with a finger or guitar pick in imitation of strumming a stringed instrument. Originally designed as an electronic autoharp substitute, the Omnichord has become popular as an individual instrument in its own right, due to its unique, chiming timbre and its value as a kitsch object.
The Omnichord, the prototype Tronichord and Portachord (the latter two never reached full production) share many technical and functional similarities. Omnichords often feature preset rhythms with a tempo control, which the player may use as accompaniment. Several models of the Omnichord were produced that added MIDI compatibility, a selection of voices for the touch plate, effects such as vibrato and sustain, and chord memory. Some Omnichord musicians will play the instrument as a keytar, by strapping the instrument on both ends and playing it as if it were an electric guitar.
The Omnichord is still produced by Suzuki, but rebadged as the Q-chord. It features more modern versions of the original Omnichord's features.