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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software
120-button MIDI accordion bass setion
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jjj



Joined: Feb 28, 2008
Posts: 123
Location: Chile
Audio files: 2

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 11:59 am    Post subject: 120-button MIDI accordion bass setion
Subject description: 120-button (single button contact) Farfisa accordion bass section to MIDI.
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For years I used to play the piano accordion and now that I own the Yamaha Tyros 3, I missed the convenience of playing the accordion bass section, for it's so much easier than manually playing the chords. That's why I thought to connect an old accordion bass section to MIDI and
just successfully finished wiring up my 120-button (with single contacts) Farfisa accordion bass section to MIDI.
Result: It's amazingly compact! The single contact makes ea. button even lighter to press than a regular, mechanical accordion bass!

On a mechanical bass each button has to open 3 to 4 air flaps and with additional spring contacts the buttons are getting pretty hard to press.
Jeez, that was a crazy job! It took my 3 weeks to get it right. It looks pretty messy, but it works and sound truly great. I'm excited about the result!
The thing I like most on it is that it offers me (accordion player) the chance to combine manual and Yamaha styles accompaniment.
Now I am able to manually enrich and vary the bass +chords and so, make it the great sounding Yamaha styles automatic accompaniment sound "far less automatic".
Since I was unable to attach the project details, I uploaded them here: https://app.box.com/s/994hzfqhsnjksguqa22t

My last challenge is to recreate that typical accordion "bellow shake", which at the same time controls volume and tremolo variations, like on an accordion. That creates emotional presents! The foot pedal delivers not quite the same.

I did some testing and discovered that connecting a cable to the 10K potentiometer in my Yamaha's MFC10 Midi-Foot controller allows me to operate this foot controller's circuitry via an LDR on the 120-button box.
My initial idea was to place the whole bass section onto soft springs, but then I discovered that every time I change to another chord position, my hand won't press the box and the volume will decrease considerably.
So, I thought of rather tilting the unit slightly forward, which stays in either lower or higher Vol position. This makes it equally easy to create tremolo, bellow shake and Vol changes.


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jjj



Joined: Feb 28, 2008
Posts: 123
Location: Chile
Audio files: 2

PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, it seems... I have gotten there, already!
Here are some sound examples of my new 120-button accordion MIDI + with its Vol-Controller connected via MIDI to my Yamaha Tyros3:

I uploaded them, here: https://app.box.com/s/ndkzvzlj1zpzb0qlj4g4

1= Tyros3 accompaniment only without my Vol- Controller
2= Tyros3 with my accordion MIDI + with (!!) its Vol- Controller
3= Tyros3 accompaniment only without my Vol- Controller
4= Tyros 3 with my accordion MIDI + with (!!) its Vol- Controller
5= Only my accordion MIDI + with its Vol- Controller connected to Tyros3
6= Only my accordion MIDI + with its Vol- Controller manually played
7= Only Tyros Kbd sounds with my accordion Vol- Controller
8= Some bellow shake samples...

Result: I reckon the rhythmic volume fluctuations of the 120-button accordion bass MIDI + with its Vol-Controller adds expression to the melody and make it sound far more realistic and lively. Without this expression the melody sounds... "rather emotionally poor and almost boring!"

Secondly, the irregular/ random bass and chord injections of the 120-button accordion MIDI bass section makes the automatic Yamaha styles accompaniment sound richer and less automatic or more natural.

Last ...not least, the advantage of playing the Tyros3 or any MIDI-Synth via the 120-button accordion MIDI bass section accompaniment only seasoned accordion players know to appreciate.

Note: I'm not too sure if my Vol-Controller is really able to produce that authentic accordion's bellow shake, albeit it sounds pretty close and requires some practice, because the bellow shake is rhythmically applied.
At least for now, its effective volume and tremolo variations are able to significantly enrich the melody.

Conclusion:
Musically viewed, my project brought me a huge step nearer to what I enjoyed on the accordion. It feels like having over night acquired 5+ years of practice!!

Thus, this easily adaptable project opens new musical opportunities to accordion players, for now they are able to extent and effectively apply their skills to great many MIDI instruments and workstations, such as the Yamaha Tyros etc. of their choice; i.e not limited to a specific make.
Roland accordions: In my opinion, technically the pricey Roland MIDI accordion is great, but I happen to prefer the Yamaha sounds.
Since many accordion players might have difficulties to construct my project, it might be a good idea for someone to manufacture and sell it for under $600.

Hence, my next and probably last Tyros project will be constructing the 4-row (removable) JANKO Kbd layout on top of the Tyros' zebra piano Kbd.

Result: That will enable me to play all major and minor scales, without having to put up with many years of practicing the irregular zebra piano Kbd.

To promote and perpetuate the irregular zebra Kbd is only OK for music teacher's profits and helps professional musicians to discriminate themselves from hobby musicians. Their motto is: "Why make it easy, when it can be made complicated!"
I am rather interested in simplicity! Thanks to my bit of practice in playing the accordion, I gained some basic insight into music theory, which enables me to simplify the lot, incl. the music notation.

The end result will be: having created the easiest and fastest method to learn and play modern Synths!!
It means a lot to me, because musical sounds and harmonies happen to be a major part of my life's enjoyment. That's why football and other emotionally poor, non-creative hobbies, such as gambling, drugs, motor bikes etc. are meaningless to me...
Yes, I'm into "philosophical pondering" and writing, as well. That's why I believe that only by discovering and fulfilling our (inherited, positive mental, emotional and physical default values) mission, we will be truly able to enjoy our life to the fullest!
-----------------------------------------
When a man steals your wife the best revenge is to make him keep her...!!
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elmegil



Joined: Mar 20, 2012
Posts: 1475
Location: Chicago
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Very cool project....
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jjj



Joined: Feb 28, 2008
Posts: 123
Location: Chile
Audio files: 2

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It's cool, because we have got winter down here in Chile. Smile
Yet, I was hoping someone of you smarties are offering me some good advice about how to recreate that typical accordion bellow shake sound.
I'm sure that it's possible to create a foot pedal for it, which makes its speed and intensity adjustable.
From what I gather, it seems to be more involved than merely Vol changes, because on the the accordion the air in and air out uses different sets of reeds and that characteristic reed activation seems to creates the effect.
This could be digitally replicated...
Maybe I should address foot pedal manufacturers?
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elmegil



Joined: Mar 20, 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm not familiar enough with accordion to offer any reasonable opinion on that shake. Perhaps someone else will come along....
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jjj



Joined: Feb 28, 2008
Posts: 123
Location: Chile
Audio files: 2

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here is how this effect sounds:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19goTQ_INI4

or less complicated:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoZVN8lIBzs

An accordion has two reeds for each sound; i.e. when the bellow is moved outwards one of the reeds sounds and when the bellow is pushed in, the other reed sounds.
Thus, the bellow shake is created by moving the bellow rapidly in and out.

Now... how to create that effect on my Tyros3 ??
It sounds almost like an echo, doesn't it?
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jjj



Joined: Feb 28, 2008
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Location: Chile
Audio files: 2

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Further investigations lead me to the conclusion that the bellow shake consists of a succession of rapid turn on and turn off sound sequences, rather than mere Vol variations.
Also, since the air in and out are of the same pitch, some harmonic frequency variations differentiate the timber of the sound sequences. Yet, maybe these slight frequency variations are unimportant in digitally emulation of the bellow shake.
I wonder how I could design the LDR-LED Vol controller so, that it creates this effect? Maybe another, additional type of control, such as an inserted momentary push-button switch could do the trick?
Yes, that's a challenge for the "electro-music brains"... Smile
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jjj



Joined: Feb 28, 2008
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Location: Chile
Audio files: 2

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Progress Report:
Since "Help yourself so, helps you God!"... seems to be the motto in this forum as well, I struggled myself to some acceptable result, in regard to the emulation of the accordion "bellow shake" effect:
Instead of trying to create this effect via LDR -LED Vol control, I explored the Yamaha Tyros3 DSP effects and found "something similar" to a bellow shake effect, by applying its "Tempo Echo Delay". The settings on the Tyros3: I'm using Part Left for the 120-button accordion bass and Part RIGHT with any accordion for the melody.
1) Part LEFT > Accordion Bass > Voice Set > Effect/EQ // Rev:30 // DSP: ON // Depth:42 > DSP Delay > Tempo Echo: ON // Value: 8th > Save
2) Part RIGHT > Accordion Treble
This settings creates a kind of bouncing effect, which seems to sound pretty close the accordion bellow shake. Its intensity and echo length is as well adjustable. Yet, each beat needs to be reactivated and this automatically varies the effect's speed.
The great thing is that this effect setting can be Mem activated by pressing only one push-button!
Here's a recording of how it sounds:


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jjj



Joined: Feb 28, 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Today I discovered that the DSP setting of Rev: 77 and its Depth: 65 produces an even better chopper or bellow shake effect. I don't think there's much more I can to improve on that. Of course with an accordion bellow one can manually vary the bellow shakes, whereas using the DSP effects for it, this is not possible, unless it would be possible to vary its length via LDR-LED control. Chances are that there are some Time Echo pedals available...?
Then I could apply one of them for this purpose.
Here's how the DSP effect of it sounds now:


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elmegil



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

That sounds awesome Smile

Good job!
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jjj



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yet, I'm a crazy perfectionist and in this moment having a look at Delay pedals, such as "Biyang Time Machine AD-10", because they would allow me to slightly vary the timing to make it sound less machine-like, automatic or more manual.
The problem is, how to make it variable via LDR-LED control? I guess, I would only need at random to slightly vary the repetition speed button of it.
Maybe there's a circuit, which varies the resistance?
I wished, I could do that on my Tyros 3 via MIDI ...then I would not even need to get into buying and adapting additional Time Echo.
For that I would need some electronics expert's advice...
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jjj



Joined: Feb 28, 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I just discovered that $200 "HOT Hand 3" audio volume (etc.) controller.
I suppose its built around that "MMA7660FC" chip or similar.
My electronics hobby knowledge as to work out how this chip could control the brightness of a LED.
Because, if I knew that I could easily control the LDR, I soldered in parallel with my Yamaha foot controller's 10k Pot.
Is that very complex? If not, please kick me in the direction to help myself...
Thank you in advance. Smile
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elmegil



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I don't think the particular accelerometer that it uses is as important to understand as the fact that it very likely has a PIC or other microcontroller inside.

The microcontroller would read the signals from the accelerometer and translate them into CVs that you could then use directly rather than messing with LEDs and LDRs (unless you *want* the response characteristics of a home-made vactrol, which could be interesting....)

So are you up for some microcontroller programming? Smile
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jjj



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thx for the Info, good elmegil,

I was fearing complexity and hoped for a simpler solution.
Bad luck. I only thought of that, because hand movements are fastest...
Maybe there's something similar to make it work by hand shakes. No need to be wireless. I like simple things.
Besides, did you know hot to build a "simple wireless"?
All you need is a piece of carton or wood with two wires. You then take one wire away... and you got a wireless! Smile
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jjj



Joined: Feb 28, 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

How about using a tiny mercury glass switch, found in Chinese "Driver Anti-Sleep" devices, here: [url] http://www.ebay.com/itm/Car-Driver-Safe-Device-Anti-Sleep-Keep-Awake-No-Doze-Nap-Drowsy-Alarm-Alert-/291047732447?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43c3cbf4df[/url] I have a couple of these. Of course, they only turn on and off, but at least the liquid mercury allows me to shake-switch and so, vary the turn on & turn off events via lateral hand movements.
Of course the volume should not just abruptly turn on or off, but rather allow to trigger varied, smooth volume swings.
I'm thinking of a simple circuit, based on an electrolytic, which softens and briefly delays the mercury switch's turn on and turn off events?
Would this (attached) circuit be any good?
Of course I would have change the components size to fit the effect. Note: The foot Vol pedal adjusts the overall volume level.

That way I could build it into a tiny box and attach it to a ring on my finger.
This would allow me to rapidly shake the mercury switch horizontally and thus, create the desired volume and tremolo variations.[/u]


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frijitz



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Great project! Unfortunately for us that are not players, it is quite difficult to understand what you are trying to do. I especially couldn't understand the part about the sound turning off when the buttons are changed. Isn't the main squeezing force applied by the hand rather than the fingers?

I'm sure a fairly simple analog circuit could do what you need, though. A good approach might be to use FSRs (force sensitive resistors) rather than optical sensing. For example, you could easily set up both horizontal and vertical force sensing to accommodate both the main bellows force and the tremolo.

Ian
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jjj



Joined: Feb 28, 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, all I try to achieve is controlling a LED via a tiny mercury switch. This LED then shines onto an LDR, which is soldered in parallel to the 10k Pot of volume foot switch of my Synth (Tyros3)
The mercury switches only on and off, but the LED's turning on and off should be smooth. That's why I try to apply this RC + single transistor circuit.
Of course I need to do bit of trial & error to get the best effect out of it.
Note: At the same time the foot pedal determines the overall volume level.
In case you didn't know... I'm not actually playing an accordion, but only a to MIDI converted 120-button accordion bass section onto which I fitted the LDR.
So, that's what I'm up to... Very Happy
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