Eviola project

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Eviola project

Post by BJG145 »

It's a teaser for the next collab with XenonJohn.

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Q) What's the only commercial attempt at a MIDI bow?
A) The KMI K-Bow. Retailing at around $3K, it was not a great success.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmzbZ8pyPd0
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Re: Eviola project

Post by BJG145 »

A while back XenonJohn came up with an idea for a new bow-like MIDI controller, and I blagged a prototype.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtZ2In3XGOE

It looked promising, so I asked him if he could build me an instrument which could be played like an EVI (one of the first wind synthesisers), but using a bow instead of breath pressure...the Eviola.

(I modelled the Artiphon Instrument above to indicate what it might look like. If the bow grip looks unconventional, it's because the EVI system uses three buttons under the fingers of the right hand.)

He just sent me some pics of work in progress.

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It's not quite as bizarre as it sounds. People have been using breath controllers to play VST string instruments for ages. For example SWAM Violin includes presets for various esoteric wind controllers like the Lekholm DM48 and the Berglund NuRad (also based on the EVI), but no presets for actual MIDI bow controllers, because they don't exist. Yet...
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Re: Eviola project

Post by RichardT »

That’s a great idea. Will it interface with sample libraries, or will it generate the sounds some other way?
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Re: Eviola project

Post by BJG145 »

...just aiming to get a working MIDI controller at the moment...
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Re: Eviola project

Post by Wonks »

I’m trying to visualise how it works. With something like a wind controller, you have keys for the notes and you blow to determine volume/velocity.

With this, will there be strings to play like a violin/cello that get converted into note on/off, pitch and velocity info? Or is it for putting expression onto pre-recorded MIDI data?
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Re: Eviola project

Post by BJG145 »

Wonks wrote: Fri Apr 01, 2022 8:43 am I’m trying to visualise how it works.

It's still at the experimental stage, but initially I'm thinking of using keys for notes on/off and bow velocity to send breath pressure (CC#2). The sensor acts like a single string. This will work for certain programs like SWAM Violin which have presets for wind controllers; I can basically tell SWAM it's an EVI, configure the buttons for EVI fingering, and use bow velocity to send breath pressure, and it's none the wiser.

This was my first experiment along those lines...which is rubbish, but the way I adapted the bow sensor was very basic, involving scraps of kitchen foil configured as capacitive touch sensors. (Processing/MIDI duties are being carried out by a budget Teensy called the "Teensy LC" which has capacitive touch built in.)

I didn't originally intend to make the experimental video above publicly available, let along this one, but by way of example...(this was my rough proof-of-concept attempt to put together the kind of thing I've now asked XenonJohn to build properly.)

https://youtu.be/q9B-goulJ04

(I hope Sam Spoons doesn't see this. He'd be horrified.)

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I adapted my Eletrunk for this. Remember the Eletrunk? No? Good.

To get something like this working with programs that aren't based around breath pressure, it'll need a bit of development to convert bow movement to MIDI velocity. But MIDI velocity isn't the best way to interpret bow movement, which is why programs like SWAM Violin are designed around breath pressure. Real wind and string instruments respond to a continuously varying input, unlike something like a guitar or piano that's driven primarily by the initial hit.

This my favourite example of the realism that programs like SWAM are capable of with the right controllers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDm7LqbV5No

* * * *

I'm surprised that no-one has ever tried to make and sell something like this. The only comparable bow controller, the now unobtainable K-Bow, was the culmination of the development of what is usually called the "Hyperbow", where MIDI is used to augment and control the acoustic sound of a violin rather than to drive an entirely synthetic one.
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Re: Eviola project

Post by ManFromGlass »

The proof of concept video? :thumbup::thumbup::clap:
Love it!
Looking forward to the next incarnation.

I have used Serenade which is a free patch for Reaktor. It is awesome with the Leap Motion controller. Here is a good vid on YouTube -
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kLkPvmr93K8
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Re: Eviola project

Post by Wonks »

Thanks for the info. Any idea how you can play more notes, given you’ve only got one hand free for fingering? More contacts and a longer board so you can support it with your body whilst moving the hand?
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Re: Eviola project

Post by Sam Spoons »

BJG145 wrote: Fri Apr 01, 2022 6:20 pm
https://youtu.be/q9B-goulJ04

(I hope Sam Spoons doesn't see this. He'd be horrified.)

I've heard worse (much worse) at Gypsy Jazz jam sessions (and much better too, obviously)...
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Re: Eviola project

Post by BJG145 »

ManFromGlass wrote: Fri Apr 01, 2022 8:02 pmI have used Serenade which is a free patch for Reaktor.

...thanks, that looks interesting...

Wonks wrote: Fri Apr 01, 2022 8:28 pmAny idea how you can play more notes, given you’ve only got one hand free for fingering? More contacts and a longer board so you can support it with your body whilst moving the hand?

It's not going to be polyphonic the way I imagine it, but it could have quite a large range. With just three buttons on the bow and four on the instrument, EVI fingering would let you play chromatically over three and a half octaves, and you could double that with a second row of buttons.

(It's been implemented in a similar way to another MIDI wind controller called the Morrison Digital Trumpet, which has three buttons/valves under the right hand, moved to the heel of the bow, and two rows of buttons under the left hand.)

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This is the mockup I sent XenonJohn suggesting three buttons under the heel of the bow, like the trumpet valves in the EVI system, with a pressure sensor on top.

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It was influenced partly by the box of electronics built into the heel of the K-Bow.

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The above pics don't include the completed bow; I'm looking forward to seeing that.

Sam Spoons wrote: Fri Apr 01, 2022 10:50 pmI've heard worse (much worse) at Gypsy Jazz jam sessions

Really? Can you give me the details for the next meet? :D
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Re: Eviola project

Post by Wonks »

Ah, more buttons on the bow. Cunning!
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Re: Eviola project

Post by BJG145 »

...yep, the way the EVI system works, in a nutshell, is that the right hand plays a repeating pattern on three "valve" buttons which is similar to the first chromatic octave of a trumpet, while the left hand steps through octaves.

There's a slight complication in that the right-hand sequence contains some duplicate patterns. On a trumpet, they're distinguished by breath pressure. On an EVI, they're distinguished by an extra button played with the left hand. I've adapted the system by combining this extra left-hand key with the octave control in a way that lets the left hand step through half-octaves by pressing 1, 1+2, 2, 2+3, 3, 3+4, 4.

For the first 10 seconds of this first attempt, I'm just playing these half-octave combinations with the left hand. After that I start trying to use the three scraps of foil stuck to the base of the bow to fill in the other notes by playing them like trumpet valves, not very successfully. ;)

https://youtu.be/XmLtcER6ZYY

Hopefully these will work better...(this will be the heel of the new bow).

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