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General Discussion: Strings and guitars etc

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written by: mikemilton

guffaw - Ok, now I need to sample a squish and use it!

yup, I was aiming at mando

written by: Tenebrous

Mon, 17 May 2010 09:46:01 +0100 BST

Background for my thinking here: While playing on the Pico, I was fiddling around with the pitch bend, and while it's very easy to play a note and then bend it down or up, it's virtually impossible to start off with a 'bent' note and 'unbend' it, like you can on a guitar. I then thought maybe you could do something with the Stringer agent, which already deals with monophony along single courses (i.e. strings).

Would it be possible (in the future) to set a keygroup/instrument so that pressing the notes does nothing, until you also press the buttons at the end of the course? This would almost emulate guitar playing, and you could start with bent notes and unbend them, too.

So for example, you'd hold a few keys with your left hand, then run a finger from your right hand along then end-course buttons, and this would 'strum' the strings.

Just though I'd throw this wild, crazy, half-formed idea out to you guys ;)

written by: 0beron

Mon, 17 May 2010 09:44:33 +0100 BST

This would be a useful thing to have. I'd generalise it so that you could keep some of the articulations on the main playing keys (say key yaw for string bends), while moving other articulations to some other designated key. You could do this nocely with the percussion keys on the Alpha and Tau. I think eigenlabs have themselves mentioned the ability to 'strum' on the percussion keys.

You can already do this to an extent with the breath pipe - it is possible to slide into notes very nicely on the clarinet, since you can bend the note down before attacking the note.

written by: Tenebrous

Mon, 17 May 2010 09:49:23 +0100 BST

0beron, I've definitely seen mention from Eigenlabs about being able to 'bow' the Cello (for example) using the percussion key(s)... but I'm thinking that would be a single bow across all held notes, rather than individual control of courses.

written by: mikemilton

Mon, 17 May 2010 10:44:18 +0100 BST

The most natural controller I've used with this feature (although monophonic) is a WX5 breath controller. It has a 'reed' which one bites and most people set it to 'tight lip' mode where one must center the reed in order to 'center' the note. So one always can just start slack jawed and 'bite into the note'. It isn't the easiest thing to write about but it is *very* natural and organic to do on the instrument. Lack of this feature is why I gave away my AKAI EWI and I miss it on the Eigenharp.

I guess one approach would be to define an instrument that is always flat unless bent up (although that might be a challenge to fingering - for me surely)

I've also had a lot of luck, on the 2 oscillator sampler, playing one side of the key to get a particular voice. I've played a bit loading different articulations in each side. That works reasonably well (as does using the upper keyboard in split 2 to select articulations - just set both to the same voice and the upper keyboard to wherever the articulatiosn are switched). One can think of bending into a note as a simple articulation.

anyway, just thinking aloud

written by: Tenebrous

Mon, 17 May 2010 10:48:19 +0100 BST

Thanks for the input guys - sometimes I feel a bit awkward putting these random ideas out into the open but I'm certainly glad they spark some conversation and other ideas :)

written by: Tenebrous

Mon, 17 May 2010 11:00:22 +0100 BST

I made a little picture to illustrate what I was rambling about in the OP :)

written by: 0beron

Mon, 17 May 2010 11:16:27 +0100 BST

I suppose for a proper guitar mode you also need the strumming keys to trigger a default 'open' note ( ie on course 1 and 2 in Tenebrous's picture).

Another idea that is a bit more far out perhaps, is that it is hard to get a realistic guitar strumming sound without the ability to damp the strings with your palm. Perhaps a way to simulate this would be to move the strumming keys up a couple of rows (maybe even make them 2 rows wide so you don't have to strum in a dead straight line), and then use the keys just below the strumming keys to detect pressure from your palm and damp the notes. Easy to lay out, but probably really hard to get a synth to react to this input in an intuitive way?

written by: Tenebrous

Mon, 17 May 2010 11:18:39 +0100 BST

You could do that without requiring any extra rows. It's the *releasing* of the 'strumming keys' that would trigger the sounds (just like it's the releasing of the strings which causes them to vibrate, not touching them to start with). So just holding them mutes the strings.

The velocity of each string would be directly proportional to how far/hard the key was pressed prior to the release.

written by: 0beron

Mon, 17 May 2010 11:32:36 +0100 BST

Hmm - you'd end up having to use a rather odd technique to make that work, although I suppose that the beauty of the Eigenharps is that either way would work!

written by: Tenebrous

Mon, 17 May 2010 11:39:23 +0100 BST

Agreed, it would be strange! Although the sensitivity of the keys does mean that even the lightest touch would damp the 'strings'.

written by: mikemilton

Mon, 17 May 2010 12:05:57 +0100 BST

Thanks for starting the discussion.

Actually, here is what I'd like to see.

1) add a plucked string model with a choice of plectrums (flesh, nail, various pics) and a few useful IRs (guitar, mango, banjo, user). If possible a choice of material (metal, nylon, or simply a parameter or so about the material)

2) great, play this if you want -- or, better still --

3) add an agent to map notes to keys. So a given key in an upper keygroup maps notes to the first or second six (or 4 or 5) keys on the lower keys.

4) set up an upper keygroup to include a full set of guitar fingerings and tunings. For example, the first row might be tunings starting with eadgbe with 4 others all
from a user editable text file similar to scales) subsequent rows would include a single key for cords in various positions arranged nicely in circle of fifths groupings. One could also have a row for chord position (allowing a smaller keygroup than if the positions were discrete). Most of this should use a text file for the fingerings so that brave souls can play with them)
- pressing an upper key sets the notes on the lower keys

5) select a chord and strum or finger-style the lower keys

Conceptually this is not much different than an autoharp

written by: 0beron

Mon, 17 May 2010 12:09:27 +0100 BST

mikemilton said:
... and a few useful IRs (guitar, mango, banjo, user).

I always wondered what the sound would be like if you strummed a mango. Maybe a sort of tremolo 'squish' noise... :)

Mando? ;)

written by: Tenebrous

Mon, 17 May 2010 12:13:54 +0100 BST

Mangolin! lol, 0beron :)

written by: mikemilton

Mon, 17 May 2010 13:14:51 +0100 BST

guffaw - Ok, now I need to sample a squish and use it!

yup, I was aiming at mando

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