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GAS - Electronic Fantasy?


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Anybody have a pet electronic music device they've always wanted that just doesn't exist? The reason I ask is that the company I've worked for for the past 2 years is closing it's doors in April and I am considering setting up shop as an independent product developer again. I am an electronic designer/software developer who has been in project management for the last few years and am looking for some small projects to get my head back in the game. For example, one that I've always wanted is a MIDI pitch bender that will allow you to bend individual notes within a chord while other notes remain static. Why? So I can play pedal steel licks via foot or finger "pedals". I've messed around with conventional keyboard pitch wheels and gotten a reasonable facsimile, but it is pretty awkward and counter-intuitive. Anyway, I'm probably going to start with that one just for fun. Anyone else have any pet devices they've always wanted but can't find?

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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Could be I guess. I wasn't really asking for commercially viable ideas here... I just upgraded my PCB CAD system and bought a bunch of used test equipment and I find that I learn new systems better when I have a focused objective rather than watching a bunch of video tutorials and such. I was more thinking of a scenario where someone had a need and I would develop it for shits 'n grins and give it to them when I was done.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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For example, one that I've always wanted is a MIDI pitch bender that will allow you to bend individual notes within a chord while other notes remain static. Why? So I can play pedal steel licks via foot or finger "pedals". I've messed around with conventional keyboard pitch wheels and gotten a reasonable facsimile, but it is pretty awkward and counter-intuitive. Anyway, I'm probably going to start with that one just for fun.

 

That sounds a lot like Kurzweil's key based pitch bend. Notes held with the fingers bend, notes held with the damper pedal do not.

 

 

--wmp
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That sounds a lot like Kurzweil's key based pitch bend. Notes held with the fingers bend, notes held with the damper pedal do not.

I did not know about that. :idea: That is one of the coolest features I've ever heard.

Instrumentation is meaningless - a song either stands on its own merit, or it requires bells and whistles to cover its lack of adequacy, much less quality. - kanker
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That sounds a lot like Kurzweil's key based pitch bend. Notes held with the fingers bend, notes held with the damper pedal do not.

I did not know about that. :idea: That is one of the coolest features I've ever heard.

I didn't either. Is this true of all Kurzweils or a specific model?

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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I think it is true of most models, never had experience with the very early ones, but my K2000VP was probably made 15 years ago or so. All of mine work that way. The SP88X that I used to have did not have internal pitch bend, although it could be used to control a module that would pitch bend. Never hooked up a module to it - so don't know on those. PC2 series, K2661, PC3 series all have it.

 

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

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Too strange. It works for me. The only 404s in my logs are for /favicon.ico because I don't have one of those. There have been a handful of hits on this file and they all 200 (HTTP OK). I don't see an IP address that looks like you anywhere in the logs. I've been annoying folks in TX, DC, PA and Europe.

 

http://b3and88.com/audio/junk/hobo02.mp3

 

If it doesn't work, perhaps you should count your blessings. It's just a lame attempt to demo key based pitch bend. It's guaranteed to offend folks who like twangy music as well as those who don't. It gets nastier glares from steel players than left hand bass gets from bass players. It's pretty clamful as I can't quite keep up with stuff at this tempo.

 

You will have to edit your EP sounds to enable this on a PC3, because Dave Weiser is with the majority on pitch bending rhodes sounds.

--wmp
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A typo in the link explains everything. I only had one / between the http: and the domain name. Safari seems to handle that differently than other browsers. Sorry. It's fixed now.

 

Thanks Richie. I've only used this live with two bands, one tune each. Much slower tunes. The band leaders love it. When I don't clam out. Hitting a key a little late, or releasing it a little early will leave a note ringing and partially bent or unbent. Uglier than regular clams.

 

--wmp
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  • 2 months later...
WMP - For some reason I only just now saw your post. Sounds pretty cool. Have you ever tried it controlling another module with a guitar patch? I didn't hear any real clams, but I could definitely hear you thinking as you approached each bend. I'm hoping my setup will be more naturally intuitive to use. I'm thinking my box will monitor and capture all key on and key off MIDI events and allow you to bend the inner notes of any voicing. So, for example, if you played a major triad it would bend the third. I'm sure once I get into it and start playing, other features will occur to me. I'll probably end up making the note selection programmable via SYSEX messages or switches.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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WMP - No problems in my camp with bending EP sounds; in some ways it sounds closer to pedal steel: the round, mid emphasized tone, the fact that you're a keyboardist playing a vintage keyboard voice (versus a keyboardist trying to sound like a guitar player...)

I've experimented a little with the key based pitch bend on my PC3, but mostly with the steel string acoustic guitars; mostly free, ambient ideas. I know one of the main uses would be for emulating pedal steel, and that being able to bend individual strings is key to that, but other than small, rare supportive parts, I haven't used that technique/sound that much in my country work. There's a lot to the sound, and playing technique of real pedal steel that goes beyond just being able to bend single notes, and I've yet to play a rompler that's gotten the essential tone correct. Though, in all fairness, it's not a style I've worked hard at emulating either. I've heard keyboard players - who know the idiom better than me - do a passable job with a mediocre steel sample. That's a future country/americana practice/programming ideal for me (I'm finally feeling that my fiddle/electric violin voice can 'speak'; and piano will always be an ongoing project...).

 

Wastrel - anything that makes the instrument emulation process more intuitive and natural gets my vote. After all, we're attempting acoustic musicianship while throwing around 0's and 1's with switches(keys), wheels, sliders, and levers. Your initial setup ideas are intriguing. Looking forward to seeing and hearing what you come up with.

 

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For all my ranting and trash talking, I still haven't managed to get banninated. I'm pretty sure this will do it.

 

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

 

Let me put in a good word for ya, wmp. :evil:BWAHAhahahahahahahahaha...

 

Naaaaaa - Can't let that happen... Although we all agree - yes you surely DO a lot of ranting and trash talking here. :)

 

In fact, over the years I think most of us have learned to put up with each other's idiosyncrasies.

 

I am probably the only normal one here on this forum - void of such as this.

 

Yup. That's me. Normal. Perfect in every way. :laugh:

 

:snax:

 

 

 

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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....In fact, over the years I think most of us have learned to put up with each other's idiosyncrasies.

 

I am probably the only normal one here on this forum - void of such as this.

 

Yup. That's me. Normal. Perfect in every way. :laugh:

 

:snax:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey, wait a minute: I'm the least idiosyncratic one here. That's Mr. Normal, perfectly balanced, and - best of all - brief and to the point. Always.. :crazy:

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I've experimented a little with the key based pitch bend on my PC3, but mostly with the steel string acoustic guitars; mostly free, ambient ideas. I know one of the main uses would be for emulating pedal steel, and that being able to bend individual strings is key to that, but other than small, rare supportive parts, I haven't used that technique/sound that much in my country work. There's a lot to the sound, and playing technique of real pedal steel that goes beyond just being able to bend single notes, and I've yet to play a rompler that's gotten the essential tone correct. Though, in all fairness, it's not a style I've worked hard at emulating either. I've heard keyboard players - who know the idiom better than me - do a passable job with a mediocre steel sample. That's a future country/americana practice/programming ideal for me (I'm finally feeling that my fiddle/electric violin voice can 'speak'; and piano will always be an ongoing project...).

 

I have a DX7 steel patch that sounds pretty good with a large dose of gated verb thrown in. It cant be used to make the wide spectrum of sounds of pedal steel, but one note runs and sliding into chords sounds pretty realistic. Being able to bend one note would help, but I try to work around it. I pack around a 4 space TX216, in my rack, so I can use it. (Not using it much lately)

 

But as far a fiddle, I have never been happy enough to use anything I have had.

 

We play for free. We get paid to set up and tear down.
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Have you ever tried it controlling another module with a guitar patch?

No need. There are plenty of guitar patches on the PC3. While I certainly like the attack better for fake twang, the sustain is kind of thin and short. None of that fat mid warmth that Allan mentioned.

 

And there's no need to try an external module to see if it works. It won't, unless the external module happens to be another Kurzweil. In that case, you could use anything for a controller. To work, this really has to be implemented deep in the sound engine. There's no way to massage the MIDI stream to bend some notes and not others if the sound engine doesn't support that. But you could pull it off by using the same patch on multiple MIDI channels and have your box direct traffic and keep track of which channels should and should not receive pitch bend data. You need one MIDI channel for each simultaneous note, because you never know which ones the player will want to bend.

 

I'm thinking my box will monitor and capture all key on and key off MIDI events and allow you to bend the inner notes of any voicing. So, for example, if you played a major triad it would bend the third.

Limiting enough for me to lose interest fast. More often, I'll want to bend the top or bottom note, or leave one note and bend two others. Deciding this on the fly with your fingers on the notes you want to bend seems like the best possible interface.

 

I'm sure once I get into it and start playing, other features will occur to me. I'll probably end up making the note selection programmable via SYSEX messages or switches.

I'd recommend playing around with a Kurzweil, since their key based pitch bend already does a lot of what you had in mind. I do think it's possible to fully implement this feature with an external box and a multi timbral synth on the receiving end, and even take it a bit beyond. By tracking which notes are depressed, you could apply fancy rules to apply different bend ranges and polarity to the top and bottom notes of an interval so you could bend a minor sixth to a fourth by bending the top note down a whole step while bending the bottom note up a half step.

 

Fun stuff for sure, but I don't think you'll get rich digging into this. How many folks even know about Kurzweil's key based pitch bend? How many really like it and actually make use of it? I'm the only one I know.

--wmp
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.....But as far a fiddle, I have never been happy enough to use anything I have had.

 

 

For Fiddle and modern violin lead tones I'm finding the "Electric Violin" Voice in the Motif XS tough to beat. I've also experimented with the Electric Cello Program on the PC3. By working with the effects chain, and trying out different tones in the layers, I'm getting close to that electric violin voice. Both are very expressive, and evocative. Also ended up with similar, and very impressive results within Logic 9 using 'Fiddle' from the EXS 24 library, and putting it through the guitar/amp effects section.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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But you could pull it off by using the same patch on multiple MIDI channels and have your box direct traffic and keep track of which channels should and should not receive pitch bend data. You need one MIDI channel for each simultaneous note, because you never know which ones the player will want to bend.

 

That's what I have in mind.

 

I'm thinking my box will monitor and capture all key on and key off MIDI events and allow you to bend the inner notes of any voicing. So, for example, if you played a major triad it would bend the third.

Limiting enough for me to lose interest fast. More often, I'll want to bend the top or bottom note, or leave one note and bend two others. Deciding this on the fly with your fingers on the notes you want to bend seems like the best possible interface.

This is why there are several pedals on a steel guitar - each pedal (or other controller) has a predefined function. When used in combination, the possibilities increase. With a keyboard, as with a guitar, some technique is required to use them effectively. I'm hoping to make my device flexible enough to support different styles and approaches.

 

Fun stuff for sure, but I don't think you'll get rich digging into this.

 

Not my intention.

 

Thanks for the input everybody!

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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.....But as far a fiddle, I have never been happy enough to use anything I have had.

 

 

For Fiddle and modern violin lead tones I'm finding the "Electric Violin" Voice in the Motif XS tough to beat. I've also experimented with the Electric Cello Program on the PC3. By working with the effects chain, and trying out different tones in the layers, I'm getting close to that electric violin voice. Both are very expressive, and evocative. Also ended up with similar, and very impressive results within Logic 9 using 'Fiddle' from the EXS 24 library, and putting it through the guitar/amp effects section.

 

Hey, one more reason to get that Motif rack I've been GASing for.

We play for free. We get paid to set up and tear down.
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