Mono Vs. Poly Mode in the Korg Triton

Mono vs. Poly mode in the Korg Triton

Bobby Sirkin
[email protected]
School of Communication Arts – Raleigh, NC

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Electronic Musical Instruments
Music Production


Middle School


Music Technology


Korg Triton Keyboard


20 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Students need not have any special skills or knowledge.

MENC Standards Addressed:

MENC 2: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
MENC 3: Improvising melodies, harmonies, and accompaniments.
MENC 6: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.


Korg Triton Keyboard, overhead projection and sound monitoring


At the conclusion of this lesson, students will:

1) demonstrate the ability to change timbres on the Korg Triton keyboard.

2) be able to switch a Polyphonic program to Monophonic mode, or vice versa.

3) differentiate between the sound of Mono and Poly modes.


1) Students will first place the Triton keyboard in Program mode. The instructor will then demonstrate the following methods that can be used to change timbres to Program A017 (Studio Stage EP): A) Choose a Bank using the PROG BANK buttons, and then use the Numeric Keypad and Enter Key. B) Use the Alpha Wheel to scroll through an individual Bank (or the whole library). C) Use the Touch Screen browser by touching the Right Arrow button to the left of the Program name.

2) Once the students have navigated to Program A017, they should play the sound using single notes and chords to orient themselves to the response of this Program.

3) The instructor will demonstrate how to enter Edit mode by having the students find the MENU button under the Alpha Wheel and next to the EXIT button. This accesses the main editing controls of the keyboard. 3) Students will choose “P1 = Edit – Basic” from the list of editing pages that appear.

4) The instructor will introduce the concept of “voices” and “polyphony”. The guitar analogy reasons that each string is an oscillator and plays a “voice”, and that there is no way to play a 7-voice chord on a 6-string guitar, because the instrument has “run out of polyphony”. Inform the students that the Triton has 62 voices in “Single” mode, and 31 voices in “Double” mode (see Oscillator Mode).

5) Under the category of “Voice Assign Mode” the students will choose “MONO” on the Touch Screen as the operational mode. The following functions should be left OFF (unchecked): Single Trigger, Legato, and Hold.

6) Students will play the keyboard again, and listen to the sound. They will notice the following: A) when multiple keys are pressed, only ONE note plays. Students will hear the sound module “fighting” to figure out which note to play. B) If a single key is held down and another key is played and released, the first key will retrigger without being pressed. This is a common musical gesture for bass lines and lead lines. C) The Pitch Bend wheel responds in a “cleaner” and more “performable” way. Again, common for bass and lead lines.

7) Have the students press the EXIT button to return to Play mode. Instruct the students to now load Program 001 (Acoustic Piano) and play chords. This should confirm that the sound module has now changed back to Polyphonic performance mode. The instructor will advise students that the status of Mono and Poly mode are saved with the individual Programs.

8) The students should navigate to other sounds in the Triton to determine if they are Monophonic or Polyphonic by default.


1) Each student will submit a list of 10 Program sounds from the Triton library. 5 sounds should be Monophonic by default, and 5 sounds should be Polyphonic by default.

2) The instructor will go station to station to confirm that each student can change a Program from Polyphonic to Monophonic mode.

3) Students will be given an aural exam composed of 10 questions. The instructor will play 10 different timbres in the Triton, and the students will determine if the sound is Monophonic or Polyphonic. All scores will be recorded in a spreadsheet and this information will be used to individualize instruction as needed to ensure all students learn these skills.

Follow Up:

Students will change the mode of any Program from Mono to Poly and save it as a new Program.

Items to Purchase:


When budget should be submitted:


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