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ondes martenot
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Dana Countryman



Joined: Feb 03, 2009
Posts: 41
Location: Planet Fred

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 1:39 pm    Post subject: Re: martenot controller ala dana.... Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mikeb wrote:
The videos posted of Dana's ondes-esque controller were very good.

It's interesting to see someone go through almost EXACTLY the same progression of thoughts that I went through over the past years while working on the Therevox Electro-Theremin.

Like Dana, I first started with a telescoping "arm" attached to a single-turn pot. I got this as good as possible, and the positioning of it as good as possible and this eventually became the Therevox ET-1 and I made 5 or 6 of these. The telescoping arm was made out of 5 or 6 sections of brass tubing. Very complicated.. I was also using a really simple oscillator (just an XR-2206) that didn't have an expo converter, thinking that the mathematics of the telescoping arm would negate the exponential response of the VCO and be simple and elegant, but this wasn't the case and I never got the keyboard to be perfectly spaced. You can see the Electro-Theremins made by Tom Polk have this exact same problem, and I think it's because him and I tried to solve this problem in the exact same way.

With the ET-3's, I switched to using a 10-turn pot and driving turning directly (again, very similar to what Dana realized). Instead of a string, I used a toothed timing belt and matching pulleys.. industrial stuff, very nice. I also used a lot of tricks from Thomas Henry's VCO cookbook. This worked, and in my opinion a lot better.

I made 12 of the ET-3's for people in 2007-08. I kept one of them though.

Now the difference between the Electro-Theremin and the Ondes-type controller (just talking about the ring/string aspect) is VERY small. With an electro-theremin, basically you are moving a physical widget and pointing IT to the representation of the pitch. With the ondes-type, you are just moving your finger and pointing it.. which ends up being a lot more natural. So it's essentially the same sort of control interface, just done a bit differently. After the ET-3's, I experimented with almost exactly what Dana has built and demonstrated.. and I found the Ondes-type controller to be more intuitive and because of that, more expressive and natural to play. So I drew up plans for the ET-4, which wouldn't be an Electro-Theremin at all, but it would be an ondes-type controller with a built in VCO and some other goodies. I still plan to build it once I return to Canada from my extended vacation here in New Zealand.

Seeing Dana's little video reminded me of the simplicity of the ondes solution... and it put a smile on my face seeing him go through a lot of the stages of experimenting that I went through. It was also a little bit inspirational, and now I can't wait to go back home and build some ET-4's with ondes-type ring/string controllers. I should probably drop the ET naming scheme though Smile

For those interested, I have pictures of the build process of the ET-3's from 2008 on my site: http://mikebeauchamp.com/images/show.php?set=building-electrotheremin-v4


Hi Mike,

Thanks for the kudos on the Martenot Controller project. My idea was just to build the controller part, and be able to set up whatever sound I wanted to use, on my big modular synth.

Since then, I decided to put together a dedicated small portable cabinet, with just the bare minimum of modules I like to use for the "Martenot". See attached photo. I mounted the cabinet on one my old P.A. tripods, and now it's at about eye level.
I added a Yamaha foot controller for adding brightness at times to the filter I'm using. I'm also considering having a separate foot controller to control the volume, exactly the same way the left-hand control does. That way, I can tweak the sounds with my left hand, while still playing. I'm also adding on-off switches to my 4-channel mixer, so I can quickly switch sounds (pre-configured) in a live situation.

Meanwhile, my dad and I are modifying a midi-keyboard to have lateral movement for pitch control. It will also have extremely-sensitive touch control for the up and down motion of the keys. That's in the works. I've abandoned 3 keyboards in prototypes, and I'm going for the fourth. Try and Try again, right?

Mike, your ET-3 looks great! But one of the most brilliant (and simple) innovations of Mssr. Martenot, was adding depressions under the string, to land one's finger in. THAT is the key to playing in tune, more accurately.

I'd be interested to see a prototype of the left-hand volume control, if anyone builds one out of a photocell or carbon-filled bag, etc. For now, the system I'm using works quite well..... still, it could be improved.

Best,

- Dana Countryman


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Which reminds me, I forgot to upload this, which I made up in Intaglio. It shows Dana's wiring diagram for the ribbon scaling calibration setup. It may help some folks. Very Happy


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Dana Countryman



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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:
Which reminds me, I forgot to upload this, which I made up in Intaglio. It shows Dana's wiring diagram for the ribbon scaling calibration setup. It may help some folks. Very Happy


That's it, man!
However, I have since learned that one doesn't even need to input 5+ into the Signal Processor --- it generates its' own voltage. Makes it even simpler. Just leave the bottom input jack alone.

The top two pots become the "tuning" controls to keep all the octaves (and notes inbetween) accurate to match to the (visual) keyboard.

- Dana
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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I must say that it is an insane amount of money though, for these modules, for what they do. A bunch of 100k's wired in series? Shocked

Dana, have you had any luck with those schematics yet? I've got nowhere. Sad

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Dana Countryman



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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:
I must say that it is an insane amount of money though, for these modules, for what they do. A bunch of 100k's wired in series? Shocked

Dana, have you had any luck with those schematics yet? I've got nowhere. Sad


Well, I already had the modules --- I just relocated them from the "mother ship" into their new home.

No, I decided not to pursue a tube-based oscillator, as I have too many projects, and the electronics I'm using are working just fine. Plus, I don't want to deal with 100+ voltage, AND I know nothing about tube circuitry....

If Loren could build a voltage-controlled oscillator that was linearly scalable, I'd sure try that......

- Dana
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi guys, I've been following this thread with enthusiasm for a while now. This year I've studied audio programming, and for the end exam I decided to make an Ondes Martenot syle controller. I also studied audio theory, and for that exam I'm making a gong style speaker (how convenient!). I also had to make a software instrument to control.

As the loudspeaker is not quite finished and I have just over 24 h to complete it, I can't elaborate too much at this point. However, I do have a few photos, and I will make a project page with sound, video, pictures, MaxMSP patches, a few test results and more! And yes, the left hand intensity controller is a photosensor/LED combo. Like someone mentioned earlier, that can be a lot quicker than a potentiometer (at least it was quicker than the ones I tried). However, I've used a transparent sheet that I printed a gradient from transparent to black on (in fact, there are two layers, to make the black totally black). It works great! (As it turns out, the gradient I used was a bit short, so it reaches maximum intensity about 8mm before the control is totally depressed, but that's easy to change). I'll probably end up sticking it on a piece of plexiglas, to make it stronger.

Mike and Dana: Yes, it's extremely interesting to see your progress, though thankfully, I never tried the arcing arm... Wink Since I'm doing it with software, I could scale it perfectly once digital. Unfortunately, since I've been using Phidgets, which is SO easy, and whose light sensor is extremely quick and precise, the AD Converter is only 10 bits. I've gone for four octaves, and that is a bit much for the low resolution. While playing normally, there are no noticeable steps (quick interpolation takes care of that), but when sliding slowly up and down with a bright tone, it's quite obvious. So I'll have to cut the range or switch to 12 bit AD. Or, of course, go analogue. The resolution is fine for the intensity control, but I guess 12 bits would mean I could skip the interpolation altogether, and get even quicker attacks (< 1ms!).

You have made wonderful instruments, and been a great inspiration! As you'll see, mine is a lot rougher around the edges, being more of a research project than an instrument I'd bring to a gig. But that'll change eventually! It's also interesting to see Dana's project is starting to include almost exactly the same things mine is! I've got four faders that can be set to control virtually anything. For now it changes between controlling volume to different types of speaker and controlling digital reverb and delay. I also have a pedal that can control filter or volume, and eight switches that turns the different oscillators on or off. That's about the limit of Phidgets! So I control the rest from the computer, which stinks, but I've tried to make it as fluent as possible, combining quick hotkeys with manipulating the controller.

However, unlike Dana, I've had quite big problems with pitch drift! It's extremely annoying as I've tried most cures. I have decided to try the radio tuner style, and have the wire wind and unwind itself on and off a threaded drum of some sort. That way, it'll NEVER slip, and I'll have to worry about how to make sure it doesn't get derailed or something. My main concern with that approach is where to put the spring. I assume the drum will need to be located somewhere near the middle of the long stretch on the back, to make sure the angles doesn't change too much. Which means the spring can't be there. Maybe I'll put it next to the ring, so it's inside my hand while playing. Any tips?

I've considered many possible futures for this project, from ondioline sized complete analogue instruments through an even more general controller with drivers that'll let it control any compatible sound source, to a totally digital instrument with a built in microcontroller doing the math and producing virtually any tone. I must say, however, that it is extremely rewarding, after fiddling with digital filters and effects for days to make a nice sound, to then just plug it into my extremely cheap and simple gong speaker, and suddenly it sounds like an oriental gong-sitar-cello! I just LOVE the sound of wood and hammered metal, as opposed to stiff, vibrating paper or heavily dampened aluminium!

While on the speaker issue, I've considered many possible implementations of the basic principles. Basically, one wants wood and/or metal (or any more or less resonant material) to vibrate longer than it is exited by the signal. The combination of these two materials is often a winner, as the wood sounds very warm, but is too dampened to sustain very long on its own. Strings on or in a wooden box of thin materials an appropriate forms is bound to be good. Just listen to the original Palme speaker, or the feedback piano! Other ideas include something like the giant metal flame of the Cristal Baschet or a speaker placed inside a maze of semifixed metal leafs and springs, sort of like the original Resonnance speaker. While working on the gong speaker I found that it sounded very interesting even when the speaker just played right at it at close range, without any fixation! How I'm supposed to have time for all this is quite a mystery though.

A few pics:
Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Here you can see the intensity control while released. The clear transparency sheet is visible to the left of the grey duct taped package.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Here you can see the intensity control while pressed. The black part of the transparency sheet is visible to the right of the grey duct taped package.

As I said, the best is yet to come!

PS: Like Dana, I'm in the process of developing a vibrato enabled keyboard. (Then, since its software, I could actually do polyphony if it befitted the occasion. Not that you can't do polyphony analogue, but it's a bit more work!)
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Dana Countryman



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi rotfuhr,

Glad to hear you're at work on the Martenot Controller...!

I'd be curious to see your schematic for the photocell controller.... For my purposes, it would need to output 0-5V. Then, I could interface it into another Q125 Signal Processor module to control volume.

Then again, the slider pot control I'm using isn't bad. Keep in mind, that your right hand can't really move that fast to select all the notes with the ring controller/finger depressions. So, playing "Flight of the Bumblebee" or anything quick is quite out of the question, anyways. So, it may not be necessary to have a snappy left-hand volume control, when you can't physically play real fast notes, anyway....

The combination of the aluminum pulleys I used, vs. the light gauge spring has worked really well, with no slippage. Keep in mind, that I lubed the pulleys with some light oil, and the tension of raising the ring up over the finger depressions give the perfect tension. No slippage at all!

I positioned the spring EXACTLY underneath where the ring is, in the loop. It took some adjusting, but I got it so that when the ring is a the the extreme left, the spring (under they controller) is at the extreme right, just before it goes over the underside pulley.

Regarding the spring-mounted "vibrato" keyboard, I've been having a heck of a time, finding just the right midi keyboard. I've tried three, and none of them were quite right. It needs to be a really light keyboard, or else the lateral movements won't be expressive enough. A heavier keyboard means a slower, less responsive side-to-side movement.

The Ondioline uses a custom-made keyboard, with keys about half the size of a piano keyboard. This not only crams more octaves in a smaller space, but reduces the weight of the the keyboard itself, which means better response time in the lateral movement.

I ordered a Yamaha PSS-480 "PortaSound" keyboard off eBay, but it arrived broken, so I'm back to the drawing board..... I may scrap the manual vibrato keyboard for a while, until I find just the right keyboard.

Back to the drawing board.

Cheers,

- Dana

P.S. Here's an excerpt from a tune for my upcoming solo "Moog" CD, using the Martenot Controller:

http://www.danacountryman.com/misc/Rota.mp3
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Could this circuit be used instead of the synthesizers.com scaling modules?

http://www.electro-music.com/forum/topic-34895.html&sid=ac4fc0276425300a5b4a1d63ad1419cf

Same sort of thing right?

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Dana Countryman



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:52 am    Post subject: Q125
Subject description: scaling
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v-un-v wrote:
Could this circuit be used instead of the synthesizers.com scaling modules?

http://www.electro-music.com/forum/topic-34895.html&sid=ac4fc0276425300a5b4a1d63ad1419cf

Same sort of thing right?


Looks very similar --- but the s.com Q125 has the pitch (offset) built right in, and the other two controls are left for scaling. Why go to the trouble to build this, when you can just pick up a new Q125 for just $80?

This module is the HEART of my Martenot Controller.

But yes, the circuit would probably get you in the ballpark for scaling...

- Dana
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:51 am    Post subject: Re: Q125
Subject description: scaling
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Dana Countryman wrote:
v-un-v wrote:
Could this circuit be used instead of the synthesizers.com scaling modules?

http://www.electro-music.com/forum/topic-34895.html&sid=ac4fc0276425300a5b4a1d63ad1419cf

Same sort of thing right?


Looks very similar --- but the s.com Q125 has the pitch (offset) built right in, and the other two controls are left for scaling. Why go to the trouble to build this, when you can just pick up a new Q125 for just $80?


Because you can build it for a tenth of that?

Very Happy

Ian
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Q125
Subject description: scaling
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frijitz wrote:

Because you can build it for a tenth of that?


Precisely Cool

Dana, you pointed out that your Martenot controller cost just $150. That isn't really true is it? After adding those dotcom units and all the manual work your father gave, in terms of man-hours etc, we're talking $800 or so. Right?

Ian's absolutely bang on, and that's why I posted this link. I reckon Dave's little circuit would cost maximum $10 or so? Very Happy

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I just noticed this thread. Shocked

Fantastic. I've spent several hours reading these post, following the links, listening to the music, and staring off into space thinking. All this is very inspirational.

I hate myself for saying this but there is a great little program for the iPhone called Bebot that has taken a shot at this problem of pitch quantization on a slide controller while maintaining the ability to slide and use expressive vibrato. Here is a video.



I'm not mentioning this to say that this is The answer or The alternative, but just to show that the solutions to the problem of building such controllers are still coming forward. I figure Dana and the crew here might find this of some interest.

Dana, are you related to Carl Countryman?

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Dana Countryman



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:42 am    Post subject: Re: Q125
Subject description: scaling
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v-un-v wrote:
frijitz wrote:

Because you can build it for a tenth of that?


Precisely Cool

Dana, you pointed out that your Martenot controller cost just $150. That isn't really true is it? After adding those dotcom units and all the manual work your father gave, in terms of man-hours etc, we're talking $800 or so. Right?

Ian's absolutely bang on, and that's why I posted this link. I reckon Dave's little circuit would cost maximum $10 or so? Very Happy


Well, yes, I was referring to the controller itself, costing around $150. You'd need a modular synth to interface the controller to --- which I do understand that not everyone has....

-dc
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
All this is very inspirational.



Almost as inspirational as the email I got from Thomas Bloch the other day;

Quote:
Hello,

yesterday, I have tried the new ondes Martenot !

The engineer doesn't want that we diffuse any picture of the instrument as long as it is not in the definitive wooden furniture. Anyway, the look will be strictly the same shape than the last one made by Maurice Martenot (you can see again how my own instrument looks like on my website - http://www.thomasbloch.net ), including details like the special music stand, the same serigraphy and same arrangement of buttons in the control drawer, same intensity key, same confortable ring for the ribbon invented by Martenot and so on. Really strictly the same !

As he focuses on the electronic part now, the furniture doesn't dress the elements yet. It will be the last point he will realize on the prototype in September. He already has had contacts for it with a company, as well with light bags and flight cases makers for the transportation.

He hopes to be able to build the first one before the end of the year (probably in October).

Regarding the price, he has an idea but he still prefers to wait until he'll have all the details (including the price for the wooden furniture, bags, all the electronic elements, keyboards - whose keys are smaller than on any other keyboard instrument and needs a special mold that he has received from Martenot's family), loudspakers and so on. He gave me his idea but asked not to say precisely as he doesnt' want that anybody fix his mind on it until he'll have a very precise price (which will be as low as possible). So, the only thing I can say is that it will be really much less compared with an ondea. It will turn around the price I paid for my own ondes Martenot when I asked Martenot's factory to make one for me in 1985. It means that it could be much less expensive than 25 years ago if we compare with the increase of inflation. That's very good news and I keep my fingers crossed until he'll confirm.

Now about the instrument itself, I cannot tell you more than when I tried it, it was exactly as if I played on my own original one !!! The technique, the sounds (great), the various possibilities of vibrato in real time, the possibilities of micro intervals, the ribbon and its ring, the keyboard, all the control buttons, the space between them, the sensitivity of the intensity key, the contact of fingers on the buttons, everything is just perfect and at its right place. Of course, he has modified several points but it is only on a technical point of vue, to improve the reliability thanks to modern components that we didn't know when the instrument was made (I remember you that the production stopped in 1988) and that will also help to decrease the final price.. and weight.

Among other improvements : the possibility to use the special Martenot's loudspeakers but also standard one (guitar or keyboard - which means also to use pedal effects, something which was not possible until now), nothing to change when you travel in 110 or 220 volts countries, standard cables easy to replace anywhere in the world (which was not the case - our cables were close from those used on old Hammond organ), a headphone plug and the possibility to plug to CV Gate on modular synthetisers (to be able to control a Arp 2600 or a mini moog or any other with the very sensitive intensity key, the keyboard or the ribbon of the ondes).

To finish, I would like to precise that I don't have any financial interest in it. The production will be artisanal, hand made by the engineer and his assistant, as it has always been in the past (he hopes to make 2 or 3 per month). I am only interested by the musical point of vue. For myself and for my students, I have followed and gave my opinion to the previous makers who tried to revive the ondes Martenot. Until now, I wasn't happy with the final result of any of them because they were quite far away from the ideas of Martenot (in trying to propose new options, to modify important elements, in proposing a insane price...). So, I couldn't personnally engage myself in saying that the previous instruments were good enough to be bought until now. And to have the support of Martenot's family who agree to let him use the copyrighted name is also an important point. It is the first time I can give a stamp and engage my professional credibilty. Finally, we have found the right man (THE french specialist of vintage synthetisers) with right ideas and experience and I am confident for the future of the ondes Martenot who were on the point to disappear.

I'll test the instrument during summer and the next time I'll write you, when the instrument will be ready to produce, I'll give you the last details (including the price) and send you a picture (which will be the same than my own intrument, actually, as I told you). Then I'll invite those who are definitively interest to confirm and i'll give your contact to the engineer if you wish to investigate.

Have a nice summer.

Thomas Bloch
http://www.thomasbloch.net
http://www.myspace.com/thomasbloch

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tooheys



Joined: Dec 04, 2009
Posts: 2
Location: Geelong, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Im also really interested to hear how rotfuhr's photosensor/LED combo works


I'm looking at making a basic softpot ribbon controller - like is posted in a few different configurations on this forum.

Except with the addition of an ondes martenot styled button for creating manual envelopes for things like VCAs and filters.

So if your still around rotfuhr - care to share a schem or something? Or more details on its construction?

I do like Dana's design for the button but I feel like I need something with less mechanics involved, to make the controller slimmer & hopefully would be easier to make .


Another thought I had would be to see if the common mechanism in a trigger - like on a game controllers - could be adapted to work in a lateral up and down way rather than the curved function they normally take - & with more travel then a standard game controller. I've attempted lots of google-ing, this forum and a few other DIY electronics sites that I regularly stalk but no-love on this issue so far.

Anybody have any ideas (I hope I'm not hijacking this forum)
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adambee7



Joined: Apr 04, 2009
Posts: 420
Location: united kingdom

PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:54 am    Post subject: Re: Q125
Subject description: scaling
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Dana Countryman wrote:
v-un-v wrote:
frijitz wrote:

Because you can build it for a tenth of that?


Precisely Cool

Dana, you pointed out that your Martenot controller cost just $150. That isn't really true is it? After adding those dotcom units and all the manual work your father gave, in terms of man-hours etc, we're talking $800 or so. Right?

Ian's absolutely bang on, and that's why I posted this link. I reckon Dave's little circuit would cost maximum $10 or so? Very Happy


Well, yes, I was referring to the controller itself, costing around $150. You'd need a modular synth to interface the controller to --- which I do understand that not everyone has....

-dc


Thinking of making one with midi. Now i've got two scott stites appendage boards coming i'm thinking i could adapt one of them and add state machine's midi unit aswell. You could add a simple midi interface and use soft synths with it if you are cash starved. The arturia moog modular and mini moog. Absynth, fm8 or reaktor. These have good useable sound qualities.Very Happy Very Happy
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auftauchend



Joined: Oct 04, 2009
Posts: 3
Location: Berlin Germany

PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:48 am    Post subject: ondes martenot controller Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hello dana and everyone,

I just finished building a ondes-type controller the countryman-style. my intention was to play it just with one hand and to imply some sort of aftertouch (as i need my other hand for playing chords or such things). so i built the whole controller with a pianohinge on a heavy base and attached springs to it. pressing down the whole controller moves a lever which then moves the slider potentiometer.
i thought this would be super clever, but adjusting the springs gave me a hard time..i ended up attaching more and more weight on each side of the controller to find exactly the right balance so you don´t need too much force when pressing down the controller.
the whole thing is now very heavy and sturdy....
it was fun to work on finding out the right balance, i imagine how someone building a piano must feel.
i hope you can imagine this thing a little bit, sorry for my bad english. i ´ll try to post some pictures as soon as my girlfriend gives me her camera...
as for the 10turn potentiometer i have mixed experiences.
i understand it is by far the simplest solution. i tried several, different qualities, but they all are far off from being really linear. the tolerance is marked as "+-5%" but on a scale of five octaves, i noticed that the distance between e.g.c1 and c2 is far bigger than e.g.c4 and c5.
this is not such a big deal but it makes playing in the high octaves a bit more difficult.
i tried it on different oscillators(i thought my osc was tuned badly), but same thing. maybe there might be an easy solution?

greetings
alex
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Dana Countryman



Joined: Feb 03, 2009
Posts: 41
Location: Planet Fred

PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:00 pm    Post subject: Re: ondes martenot controller Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

auftauchend wrote:
Hello dana and everyone,

I just finished building a ondes-type controller the countryman-style. my intention was to play it just with one hand and to imply some sort of aftertouch (as i need my other hand for playing chords or such things). so i built the whole controller with a pianohinge on a heavy base and attached springs to it. pressing down the whole controller moves a lever which then moves the slider potentiometer.
i thought this would be super clever, but adjusting the springs gave me a hard time..i ended up attaching more and more weight on each side of the controller to find exactly the right balance so you don´t need too much force when pressing down the controller.
the whole thing is now very heavy and sturdy....
it was fun to work on finding out the right balance, i imagine how someone building a piano must feel.
i hope you can imagine this thing a little bit, sorry for my bad english. i ´ll try to post some pictures as soon as my girlfriend gives me her camera...
as for the 10turn potentiometer i have mixed experiences.
i understand it is by far the simplest solution. i tried several, different qualities, but they all are far off from being really linear. the tolerance is marked as "+-5%" but on a scale of five octaves, i noticed that the distance between e.g.c1 and c2 is far bigger than e.g.c4 and c5.
this is not such a big deal but it makes playing in the high octaves a bit more difficult.
i tried it on different oscillators(i thought my osc was tuned badly), but same thing. maybe there might be an easy solution?

greetings
alex


Hi Alex (and everyone,)

Personally, I would never give up the laterally designed string, with the finger depressions. It works beautifully to play melodies in very accurate pitch, with some practice, of course.

I have considered adding a pressure sensitive fingerboard, mounted on a hinge. I wouldn't raise it any higher than 1/4 inch, maybe even less. That would give me the ability to play some notes louder that others, just like in real life.

I'm coming to realize that sometimes its the *imperfections* in a solo instrument that can make it come alive - meaning pitch, vibrato, timbre and minute volume changes.

I do now use a couple of foot pedals, with which I can add extra brightness and overall volume dynamics.

Those are just a couple of observations, since I built this Martenot Controller exactly a year ago.

I used the Martenot Controller almost exclusively on a new composition that I wrote for my upcoming CD on Oglio Records, "Moog-Tastic!" The name of the tune is "Farewell, Mr. Rota" - my tribute to film composer Nino Rota.
The CD comes out in May, 2010.

Best,

- Dana Countryman
Feb, 2010

http://www.danacountryman.com/martenot_project/martenot.html
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mosc
Site Admin


Joined: Jan 31, 2003
Posts: 17620
Location: Allentown, PA
Audio files: 125
G2 patch files: 60

PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Nino Rota was a great composer, IMHO. Glad to see you are doing a tribute to him in the dedication of your work.
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whoandcar



Joined: Jul 03, 2010
Posts: 4
Location: mendoza. argentina

PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:36 pm    Post subject: Martenot method of control Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

TheProf wrote:
****************
I did form a few impressions, however. I think that it might have been a Beat Frequency Oscillator type device, and that the cord was operating a variable capacitor, altering the tuning of one of the oscillators. I think the same effect was had with a smaller unit attached to the keyboard, to allow the famous 'moving key vibrato' effect.
****************

You are right, that is the description found on many internet sites. But I am very intrigued on how could Mr. Martenot achieve a good pitch linearity back in 1928, since at that time there were no exponential control, fundamental in translating a linear finger motion into exponential pitch... Dou you get the idea?
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whoandcar



Joined: Jul 03, 2010
Posts: 4
Location: mendoza. argentina

PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:58 pm    Post subject: Non-electronic instrument - joke Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Am I permitted to post a joke?

It is an argentinian group called "Les Luthiers" who like to build exotic instruments. The one here is called "ball-armonium" and is made of balls and sort of clarinets attached to them.

The first video is "Rapsody in balls", composed specially for this instrument:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVTDav7uPXA

The second, is Bach's "Aria for the G string"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKthksRjWDo&NR=1
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v-un-v
Janitor
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Joined: May 16, 2005
Posts: 8934
Location: Birmingham, England, UK
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hey whoandcar! welcome to electro-music.com! Very Happy
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Infrablue



Joined: Dec 29, 2011
Posts: 123
Location: Utah

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thinking of making my own Martenot CV controller. An idea just struck me tonight of moving the AMP pressure key to a small pressure sensor on the ring it's self... one that the thumb could press, sort of against the ring and/or the index finger that is in the ring.

So you could hold continuous pressure amounts across whole phrases of notes, like the Martenot does so well, but also have the left hand free for another instrument, chords, other modulation of the VCO etc.

You could even pump the pressure pretty well to make a diaphragm/amp vibrato if desired.

I may try it out… I think it would be plausible and could be sensitive. Would need to manage the wire connecting it to avoid getting in the way but it’s doable somehow.

For now I’d have to try it with my Eowave Ribbon. But results would be applicable to a ring. I’ll post when it happens…

This would also just be a better solution I think for ribbons than pressure along the ribbon. My Eowave Ribbon does that.... it's cool, but not good enough for articulation... just slower modulation per note and not consistent over a phrase of notes.

Loved this whole thread, by the way! Dana sure made a great one!
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Infrablue



Joined: Dec 29, 2011
Posts: 123
Location: Utah

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Also recentlly added another mod to an Eowave Ribbon, which I think would really be something cool for a Martenot controller.

I added a few extra keys (contact points) for the left hand to play to raise pitch a step, half step, and third. I thought it would be pretty neat but it actually really was dramatic. It trills the sound really well, or even just allows quick interval leaps melodically.

Just came up with this the last few days. Here's a test recording. It's clumsy and new, but I think has a lot of potential with practice.

This test also uses breath control with the ribbon.

http://soundcloud.com/monkeydrums/valve-ribbon
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Infrablue



Joined: Dec 29, 2011
Posts: 123
Location: Utah

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:41 pm    Post subject: Good alternate to left hand expression on Martenot Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My mod to an Eowave ribbon controller.

The main strength here is giving independent expression to volume/filter similarly to how an Ondes Martinot does it, but putting that control in the same hand that controls pitch.

This would be great on an Ondes Martinot and I plan to do something similar to a ring controller in time.

The Eowave has pressure on the ribbon, but the mod here makes it much easier to have dynamics be consistent across phrases of many notes. When a violinist plays a new note in a phrase, the bow is usually just consistent and not re-triggering. Same for breath of a wind instrument. This has the same effect. This principle is part of why a Martenot is so musical.

A small pressure sensor would do this too and be easier to set up likely. A sensor on the ring of a Martenot, or between thumb and the index or (as Dana Countryman suggested) the 3rd finger would be great.

This would free up the left hand for sound modulation, knob turning, chords on another keyboard, hitchhiking etc.

Here's the video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qz3X_TFlgY

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
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