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General Discussion: Pitch Bend

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written by: john

Geert Bevin has been doing this with considerable success for some time, particularly using Animoog, which I believe is only available for iPad and sounds great with his Eigehharps:

You might want to contact him to know more if you're thinking of using iPads in this way.

written by: jijothomas19

Wed, 1 Apr 2015 17:18:52 +0100 BST

In normal midi keyboards the pitch bend range is set to 2 semitones.

How does it work in the pico ? How far can the pico bend notes...... an octave??
It would be great If there is a video demonstrating the same. .

written by: TheTechnobear

Wed, 1 Apr 2015 19:28:04 +0100 BST

72 semitones* (6 octaves), is currently the limit for both key and strip bend.

in practice, a very large range is quite tricky to control, but its helped by the fact you can assign a 'curve' on key bend, so its not linear... this helps a lot.

I could do a video, but to be honest, its something you would have to 'feel', basically to set the curve and range to something you can control... and you will get better with practice.

*Im thinking I will update it to 96 semitones in release 2.1, to allow for full size continuum.

written by: GoneCaving

Wed, 1 Apr 2015 19:35:35 +0100 BST

You beat me to it TheTechnobear! In terms of a demo, I think Geert covers it in his videos on setting up multi-timbral control of VSTs (eg.

written by: jijothomas19

Wed, 1 Apr 2015 19:47:52 +0100 BST

I saw the link Gonecaving did not clear my concern for pitch bending. I saw Geert setting the semitones to 12 but I wanted to see how it's done on the instrument. Suppose I want to bend from C to G in a C major can I do it. Can the technobear post a video.I'm sure it will be helpful for many others like me.

written by: TheTechnobear

Wed, 1 Apr 2015 23:09:08 +0100 BST

im a little confused... as to what your concern is, or what you want to see.

are you :
a) wanting to set the pitchbend range from the pico?
b) wondering how you do a precise bend, once the range has been set?

(a) the factory setup does not provide a way to do from the pico, but you can create a talker agent, and then use
midi converter hey pitch bend range upper to 12 set
midi converter hey pitch bend range lower to 12 set

(b) like a pitch wheel on a keyboard, its not in 'steps' its a continuous bend, so therefore you have to bend 'by ear'. (actually like many instruments :))

* actually Ive just notice the midi converter has the PB range set to 48 semitones, the scaler has 72.

written by: jijothomas19

Fri, 3 Apr 2015 20:08:37 +0100 BST

@ TheTechnobear " the pitch bend is not in 'steps' its a continuous bend" ,that's really interesting.

The ease with which Animoog app in IPAD provides pitch bends is the kind of flexibility and expressiveness I am aiming at...please check this video.

What I am trying to ask is ...say I want to play a melodic phrase where the pitch bend range may differ and is not fixed to a particular interval (or semitones). let's consider the melody goes from note C to G and then back to the intervals will be different, how can I precisely hit these notes.

written by: TheTechnobear

Wed, 8 Apr 2015 10:44:00 +0100 BST

first, really nice video ... I really enjoyed it, thank you.

ok, this is quite an interesting topic...

I assume (Id need to double check) animoog as continuous glide... rather than discrete glide?

its hard to do this manual glide on an Eigenharp on the keys (easier on the strip, if your doing monophonically) as they have a small range of motion, and there is no visual reference... the former a bigger problem, when the range is set high.
is it possible, sure, with practice, in the same way a violinist can do it... but it wont be easy!
(worth bearing in mind, you could also move to a new key, and play legato to appear continuous, again would take practice/skill, also in the above video you could possibly use the synths 'glide' function)

but the Eigenharps are not a continuous surface like a Haken Continuum e.g

so, the question really comes down to what are you trying to achieve?

continuous surfaces offer a very different experience...
(important note... I say different, not better! )

Im lucky enough to own a Madrona Labs Soundplane (similar to Continuum) and an Eigenharp, the continuous nature of the Soundplane is fantastic, but its doesn't have the 'lively' response of the Eigenharp. and they have a very different approach to 'expressiveness', equally valid, just different.
In practice , I find they work well for different roles/types of music, so are complimentary.

I suppose this should not be a surprise, they are different instruments... in the same way a guitar and a violin are both expressive string instruments... but they are not interchangeable :)

do you have a pico? or are you considering getting one?

written by: jijothomas19

Tue, 7 Apr 2015 19:34:44 +0100 BST

Yes I am planning to get a pico. Have been checking out a lot of these awesome instruments.It's simply astounding to know what technology can deliver these days, though they come with a heavy price tag.Though I liked Madrona labs Soudplane....the cost of acquiring one is too heavy.Right now the I pad seems to be a good option as I am opting for continuous surface control. Maybe some apps that can trigger midi from daw WITH THE ipad AS THE PLAYING SURFACE WOULD BE GREAT.

written by: TheTechnobear

Wed, 8 Apr 2015 10:55:29 +0100 BST

yeah, price is really because of small manufacture runs and being hand built... but this has the advantage of high quality... you sometimes can find them on ebay if your budget is limited.

vs iPad, the 'issue' with the iPad, is lack of tactile feedback, you don't feel connected, and also get no feeling of where you are on the surface, which is important for muscle memory.
so I wouldn't recommend it as your 'primary' playing surface.

( I also personally didn't find it 'fun' to use the iPad in this way... it didn't feel like playing an instrument, but that could just be me)

but the iPad is a great musical 'accessory'
with a camera connection kit, it can send and receive midi (also look at iConnect mid/audio), iPads now have some great synths too, and Lemur allows it go to be a great 'control surface', e.g. for sliders, x/y pad etc.

written by: john

Wed, 8 Apr 2015 17:43:36 +0100 BST

The iPad (and pretty much all other touchscreen devices as they currently exist) are unfortunately never going to make good musical instruments as they suffer from a fundamental technical limitation. They can be used for slow notes, and to modulate expression quite well, but they will never be capable as they stand of good enough timing resolution to be properly useful for anything that must have good time, so drums, rhythm instruments like guitar, most things really, are out.

This is due to the low 'sampling rate' that the touchscreen input has, which is usually around 75Hz, or 75 times a second. I think this was chosen as it's around the screen refresh rate, so reading the data from it fits nicely into a programming model. 75Hz however is simply way, way too low to be good enough for musical performance that involves timing, too slow by a factor of 15 or more. It'll be usable for some slow, expressive things, but as soon as you start to try and keep good time you will find you never can. This is because a 75Hz sampling rate implies a jitter (which is random variations in time on every note) of around 13 milliseconds. Research has shown that jitter above 2 milliseconds becomes a problem for musicians, and over 10mS is bad enough that it become seriously annoying to anyone who has good timing. Jitter, by the way, is not like latency - we are evolved to deal well with latency, which is just a fixed delay, but jitter is not something our brains can compensate for, even in theory.

The only fix for this in an instrument is to turn up the sampling frequency. For the iPad this requires new hardware, ie a better touchscreen. The Eigenharps sample at 2000Hz natively, so their jitter is not perceptible, even by the best musicians.

It's a real shame that the iPad has this limitation, I worked for a while on an overlay idea for it to enable one to become a low cost Eigenharp, but this limitation is profound and without some serious additional hardware probably not soluble. The lack of tactile feedback is an issue, but the sampling rate is the one that means that they will never be good instruments, however hard you practice on one you can never learn to overcome the jitter. As a control and modulation source for another instrument that's generating the timing however, they're great.

I hope that's interesting to someone!


written by: dhjdhj

Thu, 9 Apr 2015 00:36:09 +0100 BST

While clearly true if you want to play it via the touchscreen, it turns out that if you install something like audiomux/midimux or MusicIP on an iPad, you can send MIDI and audio it over the USB connection and get decent low latency audio right back to a Mac. That makes those wonderful synths you can buy for the ipad instantly accessible from a keyboard or from the eigenharp. I've been experimenting with this lately and the notion of eliminating the use of plugins on the Mac in favor of a few iPads is quite intriguing.

written by: john

Thu, 9 Apr 2015 08:23:40 +0100 BST

Geert Bevin has been doing this with considerable success for some time, particularly using Animoog, which I believe is only available for iPad and sounds great with his Eigehharps:

You might want to contact him to know more if you're thinking of using iPads in this way.

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