An Otamatone is an electronic instrument shaped like a music note - sometimes called a "Tadpole." Each Otamatone is capable of producing three different pitches.
The Otamatone is played by pressing and/or sliding fingers up and down its stem, much like one would with the fretboard of a string instrument. Just like on a string instrument, the top of the stem (closest to the tail) produces the lowest notes, while the bottom (closest to the "head") produces the highest. Vibrato can be produced much the same as one would playing a string instrument - essentially by shaking the instrument while playing a note. A "wah" effect can be produced by squeezing the "cheeks" of the Otamatone - squeezing and releasing to open and close the mouth.
The Otamatone's "voice" sounds somewhat like a hum with the mouth closed, and more like an "ahh" with it open.
A variety of effects can be produced using the Otamatone, so get creative and experiment a bit!
For a more detailed explanation of the Otamatone's functions complete with labeled diagrams, click here.
See below for a comparison of each Otamatone model's features, specs, and capabilities:
|Dimensions||4 x 2.75 x 10.7 in.||5.4 x 5.5 x 17.12 in.||5.4 x 5.8 x 17.12 in.||4 x 2.75 x 11.2 in.|
|Weight||7.8 oz.||1.63 lb.||1.68 lb.||9.4 oz.|
|Batteries||3 x AAA||3 x AA||3 x AA||3 x AAA|
|Power||Battery Only||Battery or DC5V Connector (Included)||Battery or DC5V Connector (Included)||Battery Only|
|Volume Settings||Low, Hi||Gradual Adjustment (Dial)||Gradual Adjustment (Dial)||Low, Hi|
|Pitch Settings||Low, Mid, Hi||Low, Mid, Hi||Low, Mid, Hi||Low, Mid, Hi|
|Stem (Touch Tape) Width||0.2 in.||0.56 in.||0.56 in.||0.3 in.|
The Otamatone Melody is a keychain-sized Otamatone most suitable for young children (but fun for those of all ages!) containing pre-programmed melodies that can be listened to to learn their tempo, then played in a simplified manner by pressing another button to the appropriate tempo.
Note that this toy primarily teaches one to follow along to the tempo/beat of each melody. This model does not allow the user to play other songs/notes, as only the notes in the selected song (in their proper order) are generated when pressing the button used to play them.
The Otamatone Melody includes a ball-chain attachment so you can clip it to bags, purses, backpacks, and keyrings. It makes an adorable accessory even while not in use!
The Otamatone Neo features a longer and wider stem for easier playing and a wider range of playable notes. Furthermore, it features smartphone connectivity, and - along with the Otamatone Techno - is compatible with the official Otamatone Studio App (Available for iOS and Android).
Note: The app requires a 3.5mm jack or adaptor capable of microphone input to function properly.
For more information, visit http://otamatone.jp/en/lineup/otstudio/manual/
The Otamatone Deluxe and Otamatone Techno require 3 x AA batteries, but can be powered with a DC5V connector as well. The Otamatone and Otamatone Neo require 3 x AAA batteries. The Otamatone Melody contains one replaceable CR2032 (button) battery.