Electronic instruments: Dagda’s Magic Harp

February 18, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Background video description below:

This is one of many stories about the mythological king of ancient Ireland, know as “Dagda” (pronounced “dada”). Dagda is said to have possessed, among other wonderful things, a magical harp which he could use to produce supernatural phenomena. This story was first written down by Christian monks around the 12th century AD, but at that time it was already ancient and had been handed down verbally for more than a thousand years.

According to legend, there were two tribes living in Ireland at the time of King Dagda: the Fomorians who were small and dark haired people, and the Celtic “Tuatha De Danaan” who were tall, light skinned and blond and whose leader was King Dagda. It seems they were constantly at war and this particular tale has to do with the time the Fomorians stole Dagda’s magic harp (something which turned out to be a very bad idea).

The instrument I am using to accompany myself in this song is a two part affair of my own devising which I call the “tibicen” (the Latin word for “piper”). It is entirely electronic, and consists of a small keyboard which sits in my lap, and a pedalboard (similar to a church organ) on the floor in floor in front of me. Nothing was added to this performance and there are no overdubs or additions of any kind. This is exactly the way it was performed.

The pedalboard provides the drone, while the keyboard plays melody. The instrument has a huge range, can play in any key, and I have tried to show some of what it can do in this video.

In ancient time, when sagas of this sort were performed, they sometimes went on for hours. I had to cut this down to its bare essentials in order to bring it in under eight minutes. The unedited story contains a lot of interesting details but I didn’t want to bore everyone by going on too long!

Turn your iPad into the ultimate electric piano instrument

February 14, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

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A new electric piano app for iPad, details below:

THE STUDIO QUALITY ELECTRIC PIANO APP: A COLLECTION OF 40 PROFESSIONAL SOUNDING INSTRUMENTS FOR YOUR IPAD

Turn your iPad into the ultimate electric piano instrument with an extraordinary collection of authentic electric pianos and vintage keyboards along with built-in recording! Use the iRig KEYS portable keyboard (www.irigkeys.com) or the iRig MIDI interface (www.irigmidi.com) to connect your external keyboard to your iPad, and you’re ready to compose, rehearse, perform and record with the very best instruments for iPad.

The sequel to IK’s acclaimed iGrand Piano app, iLectric Piano now puts a collector’s dream gallery of history’s best electric pianos, electric grands and clavinets right at your fingertips with studio-grade quality never before heard in app that stands up to the most powerful virtual instruments available on on a computer.

With high-definition samples across multiple velocities, iLectric Piano brings you the most playable, expressive and authentic sounding electric piano, electric grand and clavinet instruments available on a mobile device that you can play anytime and everywhere.

iLectric Piano gives you a collection of 20 world-class electric pianos, electric grands and clavs (including one by registering) along with a capable recorder and metronome. Add the Electric Piano Expansion Pack to add another 20 high-quality instruments.

Record your rehearsals or performances as MIDI with both overdubbing and punch-in capability, then export your track as audio via E-mail of File Sharing or Audio Copy to other iOS apps. With the built-in MIDI Recorder, you can change the tempo of your piece or even choose to use a different piano AFTER you’ve completed your performance! For composers of any level, the MIDI Recorder lets you capture and develop ideas anywhere your mobile life takes you. iLectric Piano also includes some professional MIDI performances to help you audition the various electric piano instruments or just ignite your own creative muse!

The easy-to-use instrument editor puts real-time controls on the panel just above the keys to let you adjust the EQ, the amount of reverb, the overdrive and your choice of 5 modulation effects (chorus, flanger, phaser, tremolo and auto pan). You can also adjust the tuning and transposition of the instrument. All edit knobs can be assigned to your choice of MIDI controllers for external fine-crafting of your instrument’s sonic details. Virtual MIDI and MIDI Program Change are also supported.

iLectric Piano features:

  • 20 world-class, multi-velocity electric piano, electric grand and clavinet instruments (including one by registering)
  • Expandable library of 20 additional studio-grade instruments instantly available via in-app purchase
  • Intuitive instrument and effect edit controls including 3-band EQ with sweepable mid, overdrive, reverb and choice of 5 modulation effects (chorus, flanger, phaser, tremolo and autopan) along with tuning and transpose
  • Export performances as audio via E-mail, File Sharing and Audio Copy
  • Large visual metronome with variable click volume and adjustable tempo
  • Virtual MIDI and MIDI Controller and MIDI Program Change support
  • Low-latency for real-time playing
  • Up to 48-voice polyphony on the latest devices
  • Designed to use with with iRig KEYS portable keyboard and iRig MIDI interface

The app is priced at $19.99

Get it here >>

AlphaSphere – Now electrically compliant

February 3, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Over a year of alpha and beta testing has seen the AlphaSphere design completely overhauled and prepared for production. AlphaSphere is a brand new musical instrument which has been designed for electronic music. The AlphaSphere allows you to be expressive with music through a series of tactile pressure sensitive pads. Load the Sphere with your own sounds, or connect to your existing digital audio workstation (DAW) with the intuitive software. Get hands on with electronic music and create your new sound. Change the way you play.

As part of going into production the AlphaSphere has been undertaking Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing.

This is a necessary process in order to ensure the AlphaSphere will not interfere with electrical equipment and to issue the product with a CE, FCC, VCCI or CCC mark.

http://www.alphasphere.com

AlphaSphere – Now electrically compliant by:

Director – Oliver Purches http://www.oliverpurches.com/
Motion Graphics, VFX & Editor – Alex Fung http://goo.gl/NlvUD
Camera Op & Editor – Albert Testani
Mastering Engineer – Colin Bennun
Producer & Music – Adam Place

Shot on location at York EMC Services, Bristol, UK

The Wheelharp – indepth video

January 30, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

“A curious instrument from the 2013 NAMM show. It has stings that move in contact with a rotating “bow” to play the strings like a violin. Yes. They are very expensive but quite lovely”

Experimental Instruments – The Wheelharp Up Close

January 26, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

WNAMM13: Wheelharp Up Close Video From Antiquity Music

The Wheelharp is a groundbreaking keyboard musical instrument that gives the player the ability to orchestrate a full chromatic scale of sixty-one (61) actual bowed strings at one’s own fingertips, almost like having a real chamber string orchestra at hand.

With an exotic profile and stunning rosette appointments, the Wheelharp’s appearance is equally as breathtaking as its audible character. It is available in a Radial Model (curved keyboard) and a Linear Model (traditional straight keyboard), and in several ranges.

It utilizes a patent-pending action and bridge to translate the player’s subtle fingerings into a range of bowing intensities, and comes equipped with a damper system and electronic pickup system, allowing individuals to sculpt astonishingly beautiful and complex sounds. For musicians, composers, and studios that seek to create the natural sound of classical string instruments while avoiding the frequently sterile quality of digital string synthesizers and samples, or for those looking to foray into new sonic territory, the Wheelharp presents a truly exciting opportunity.

NAMM 2013: Wheelharp

January 22, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Antiquity Music is premiering the Wheelharp, a keyboard musical instrument that gives the player the ability to ‘orchestrate’ with a chromatic scale of sixty-one 61 actual bowed strings at one’s own fingertips.

When the player presses any key on the Wheelharp, the action moves the selected key’s respective string toward a rotating wheel with a rosined edge, thereby bowing the string.

With the right pedal, the player controls the speed of a motor that turns the wheel, which varies the bowing speed of the wheel against the string and thus changes the dynamic effect. For instance, the wheel speed and the key depth can both be used to create swells and decrescendos. The action for each note can easily be removed as necessary for maintenance or string replacement.

The left pedal controls a full damper system that extends across the strings. An electromagnetic pickup floats above the strings and a piezoelectric pickup is mounted to the soundboard, allowing for the player to fully control the amplified timbre of the Wheelharp.

KOMA Elektronik announces the RH-301 Rhythm and Utility Pedal

January 20, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

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KOMA Elektronik announces the RH-301 Rhythm and Utility Pedal!
New pedal features master clock with tap tempo, versatile LFO, envelope generator, MIDI and 14-point CV patch bay.

Berlin based musical instruments manufacturer KOMA Elektronik are very happy to announce a brand new pedal: the KOMA RH-301 Rhythm Workstation / Utility Tool! The RH-301 is KOMA Elektronik’s solution for a problem many musicians are struggling with: analog and digital equipment that needs to run side by side in sync without running out of control, which is not always an easy task! That is why KOMA decided to build a ‘Master Sync Station’ that helps electronic musicians get the most out of their equipment by properly syncing (a large amount of) devices in many different ways and add some cool tricks along the way…

Master Clock
The beating heart of the pedal is the master clock, of which the tempo can be set by turning the tempo knob, by tapping a tempo on the tap button, by syncing it to MIDI or to an external CV clock signal. Besides the normal clock output the user can also divide the signal with the Divisions knob and send a faster or slower clock signal via the two Division Outputs. The generated clock signals can be passed on via CV with the two Clock Outputs, two Division Outputs or via the MIDI Output. An incoming MIDI signal can also be passed through via the MIDI Through and Out jacks.
LFO
The second feature of the RH-301 is the LFO, which can be synced to the master clock or run freely from 0,25 Hz to 260 Hz in five different shapes: sine, triangle, square, S&H and noise. This means the pedal can also be used as an oscillator, when the user turns the LFO up into the audible ranges. When the LFO is in Sync-Mode the user can choose the same divisions as the divisions of the master clock. The LFO has two separate outputs on the patch bay: LFO Out and LFO Inverted Out. All the features of the LFO are also controllable via control voltage, the pedal boasts CV inputs for LFO Speed, LFO Reset and LFO Symmetry.
Envelope Generator
The third feature of the pedal is an Envelope Generator that can be easily synced to the master clock as, or run in loop mode. Besides the normal controls for Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release the pedal comes with a Range knob to set the range of the envelopes created. The Envelope Generator comes with a normal Envelope Output, but also an Inverted Output. The Envelope Generator can be triggered by an external Gate CV Source through the Envelope Gate Input.
Besides all these features, the RH-301 also comes with a built-in KOMA Elektronik sensor, which has a separate CV Output on the patch bay as well.. Plenty of functions to get creative with, because no matter what your setup is, digital or analog or all mised together, if you use a Modular synthesizer, DAW, drum computer, synthesizer or KOMA’s own BD-101 and FT-201 effect pedals, the RH-301 is a effective tool to make sure they all walk in line!

The RH-301 will be on display and ready for testing at NAMM’13 at booths 1170 in Hall E (Analogue Haven) and 6735 in Hall A (Big City Music).

MRSP: To Be Announced! The RH-301 will be available in the beginning of Q2 of 2013 at KOMA Elektronik dealers worldwide and directly from KOMA Elektronik’s webstore at www.koma-elektronik.com.

Follow the updates concerning this product on http://www.facebook.com/KOMAelektronik !

Artiphon – Multi-Instrument at CES 2013

January 15, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

John Biggs interviews Mike Butera, Founder of Artiphon, onstage at CES 2013. Artiphon is a multi instrument that uses an iPhone as it’s brain. This device can be a guitar, bass, violin, banjo, or drumpad.

Orphion – New year, new groove

January 15, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Orphion through Audiobus
orphion.deitunes.apple.com/en/app/orphion/id495465097
audiob.us

Apps used:
Loopy – loopyapp.com
FunkBox – syntheticbits.com
JamUp Pro – positivegrid.com/jamup/

Orphion is a musical instrument with a unique sound between string instrument and percussion. Everyone can play expressive, wonderful sounds and easy or virtuosic melodies on it just by moving fingers on virtual pads.

What can I do with it?

• Express the sounds you feel
• Play polyphonic music very expressively
• Crazy drumming
• Dream and relax
• Create soundscapes and melodies without musical knowledge
• Visually explore music and music theory

Features:

• Different articulations from soft to plucked to hardly slapped
• Natural interaction
• Extend your ways of expression as a percussionist, guitarist, pianist or other musician
• 15 transposable pad layouts with different tonalities from easy to complex
• 8 individual voices for 8 fingers (4 on iPad 1)
• MIDI support: Play your favorite synth with the revolutionary Orphion interface
• Audiobus support: Stream live audio from Orphion directly to other Audiobus-compatible apps

Close encounter with the Elektron Analog Four

January 12, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

We’ve been hearing a lot about Elektron’s new analog four voice. From the stylish but somewhat obscure introduction movie which piqued our interest, to the sound audition pieces coming online as people get hold of their very own units.

The Analog Four is a new type of instrument from Elektron as it has 100% analog VCOs and Filters which are digitally controlled. Their Machine Drum and MonoMachine have been Virtual Analog and sample based.

Elektron came over from their Gothenburg HQ to give us a closeup look at the Analog Four.
Jon is the product manager and is doing the talking, Jenk the guy making all the sounds.

No apologies for the length of the video, its just that there seemed to be so many things to talk about. Also this is intended to be a discussion about the features of the instrument, there are many other videos available that are just audio demos – check them out.

The Elektron Analog Four is available now via selected retailers and direct from the Elektron Website.

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