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further adjustments (nov 26)

I've decided to convert as much control as possible to my hands, for two reasons- one, I'm not that good with my feet; two, I don't want the performance to become overly visually distracting.  I've also reduced the number of filtering switches to two, since I don't think I'll need one for the headjoint mic.  So, there are three switches for the left hand to control and four plus two faders for the right.  The on/off switch for mic 1 (headjoint mic) sits at the joint of the second finger key.  The on/off switch for mic 2 sits at the joint of the thumb key. The filter switch for mic 2 is on the flute body, controlled by the heel of the hand.  The left hand has two keys sitting on accessory keys- the Bb lever and C# trill keys.  The switch on the Bb lever key controls the filtering for mic 3; the C# trill switch is on/off for mic 3.  The two oscillator triggers sit on the bar behind the second and fourth fingers, similar to the trill key position.  Two softpot faders now control the frequency of the oscillators, both on the underside of the flute body, controlled by the thumb.  The feet now only have two volume pedals to worry about, one for each oscillator trigger. 

All of the switches feed into an ipac USB interface, and the two Softpots go into an arduino. Everything gets dumped into PD and comes out a stereo mix (for the time being.)  The switches are fixed in place with putty.

Another adjustment I made was to swap out my mic cables for cat5, which I think is 26 gauge as opposed to the 24 or 22 of standard audio cable.  The old cable wasn't affecting the acoustic sound much, but it was bothering me to feel the amount of resistance I did.  I think this is better.

Next step- figure out a filtering algorithm I'm comfortable with for a piece.


adjustments after prototype presentation:

The class raised some good points about my project- mainly, that I am still placing too much control in the hands of my far-away appendages (my feet).  While I thought I had limited it substantially by moving the filter triggers to my hands, actually there is still a great deal going on in the foot pedal.  At the class's suggestion, I've decided to use mute switches for the mics (big blue, red, and yellow ones) that require very little coordination and no delicacy at all, instead of the volume pedals I had initially conceived of.  Also, I think instead of building a function generator I will just use software to trigger oscillators- I'm a little disappointed at myself for branching away from the analog electronics, but the simplicity, ease, and funcitonality of using software is too much of an advantage to overlook.  The frequencies or LPF (in the case of noise) level will be controlled by two volume pedals or sliders-- still to be determined-- and run through two volume pedals (for.. volume). 


adjustments after initial class presentation:

The first class discussion (when I presented my proposal) raised some important issues- mainly, that there were too many objects for my uncoordinated limbs to attend to.  I adjusted the instrument to move more control to my hands, leaving my feet with more simplified tasks.  The three triggers to step through the filter banks are now designed to be on the flute itself.

project proposal:

The Anti-Flute (aka extended flute)

Purpose: Extend the acoustic instrument's sound bank to encompass a wider spectrum by (1) amplifying usually unheard inside-instrument sounds and (2) adding triggers for simple oscillators/noise generators.



Three miniature condenser RF mics are mounted to curved magnets and placed at three locations inside the body of the flute. One is placed in the headjoint at the end side of the embouchure hole, and two are placed in the central joint of the instrument. This placement allows for maximum variety of the sounds captured. The captured signals are sent to the RF receivers, amplified, and sent to the computer for processing. The sound is then sent to a small mixer via volume pedal to combine with signals from the function generator before outputting to speakers (2).

The computer processing- two levels of preset filtering- is controlled via a switch box connected via USB. (I found a project for hacking a cheap USB keypad to build one of these). The three switches each correspond to one mic, and step through the three filter levels (hipass, flat, lopass). The filters manipulate the incoming mic signal and outputs (as mentioned previously).

The other switch box is a function and noise generator (x2). The two sides are identical, each corresponding to one switch on the flute. Four switches on the footswitch select saw, sine, square, or noise. A fader controls either Hz (for the waves) or LP filter level (for the noise), and a volume control sets the overall level. The sound outputs to a volume pedal (not totally necessary, but probably will come in handy) before mixing with the mic signal and outputting to the speakers. The switches on the flute are off/on, and when pressed will allow the selected sound to emit until the switch is released.

Some (of the larger) problems I anticipate:

-Combining a function generator and noise generator- power issues, controlling two different sources with one variable resistor (slide pot)
-Building a function generator- I'm having a hard time locating an IC- apparently many of them are obsolete, particularly the ICL8038 which sounds like it was the easiest and most appropriate for my purposes. Many of the schematics I've found are intended for high-accuracy applications and are therefore a lot more complicated than necessary (for me). I have an AD5932 coming so hopefully that'll work out.
-Acheiving the level of volume control I want over the three mics without having individual volume pedals

Some resources I'm using- building plans for miniature condenser mic noise schematic hacked USB keypad for footswitch


class 2- some people who inspire me

I had a really hard time thinking of the electronic musicians I turn to for inspiration... I know they're out there, but for some reason they didn't come to mind.  Maybe I'll think of them someday, but for now here's the ones I chose

evan parker (saxophonist from the ICP- I like people that make their instruments sound like (a) creatures from outer space, (b) different instruments, and (c) like they're using a bunch of electronics but really aren't.  He mostly fulfills (a)) (Monoceros, track 1)

morton feldman: Why Patterns? (hmm, apparently I don't own this... )

the books (They use electronics in a good way- old audio clips and things.) (An Animated Description of Mr. Maps)

franz hautzinger: a solo trumpet player does inside amplification with really spectacular results (can't find anything to demonstrate)

and here's some things I've done:

slow down: a tape piece I made for a silent animated film (well, it's not silent anymore I guess) in 2005

nonlinear interface (mvmt 1): a piece for Pamplemousse I wrote last year

and here's the work that is now inspiring me to complete my NIME project

BX-51, for solo amplified flute, by Rama Gottfried

also here is something I wrote about performer/composer relationship for a (un-school-related) newsletter that seems mildy pertinent to this week's steim readings.  Designers of musical instruments should hold at least the same amount of responsibility as composers, and should realize the importance of the relationship with the performer.  (warning: it's probably at least a little bit stuffy.)

class 1- the many ways of mussssic

Some ways I see music being used: There's a very specific type of music played in Italian restaurants throughout the Village.  I've noticed such an overwhelming consistency in its content that I've dubbed it the eat-carbs music- it's high energy dance music (usually in some language other than english), played at the exact dynamic level that just exceeds loud human speech (eliminating the need for conversation), that's clearly composed for the sole purpose of influencing the customers' taste for carbohydrates.  I can't see any other logical solution for it.  Another way is communication- in my neighborhood (upper Washington Heights), people suddenly come to life on the weekends, relaxing outdoors on lawn chairs or on car hoods, all with the sole purpose of communicating with their friends in far-away neighborhoods.  They do this by playing music at decibel levels that rival jet engines, sort of like sonic smoke signals.  It's their way of letting each other know that they're ok, all is well in the world.

Here's some music I like, for various reasons:

guilty pleasure music (Tina Turner: Private Dancer)

music because it's awesome (Matt Chamberlain: Eel)

music to make me listen (Sachiko M Toshimaru Nakamura Otomo Yoshihide: Good Morning)

melancholy music that makes me happy (Tom Waits: Flower's Grave)

vibe-out music (Pachora: Drifting)

music to love traffic to (Dave Broome: Car Horn Motet)