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 Forum index » How-tos » Micro Tuning
Using PC keyboards as controllers
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sizone



Joined: Jun 09, 2009
Posts: 130
Location: Honolulu HI
Audio files: 48

PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:42 pm    Post subject: Using PC keyboards as controllers
Subject description: Partch 43
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This is the cheapest and fastest way I've managed to set up a controller for playing in scales containing a number of tones not equal to twelve.

'Puter keyboards have some obvious flaws for use as midi controllers. They have one huge perk though, they're dirt cheap.

Instructions for using a keyboard as a controller are also simple.

1: find a few discarded ps2 or usb keyboards.
2: Set up some keyboard -> midi parsing software
ie., VMPK, http://vmpk.sourceforge.net
3: Study the scale you want to play and adapt as much of it to a qwerty layout as possible
4: Pop off you keycaps, paint them and pop them back on.
5: Configure your parsing software to send the right midi note messages.

The only hard part of the sequence is step 3 (though step 5 can be cantankerous)

My stab a Harry Partch's 43 tone scale plays fairly well (and looks pretty cool). Consider the layout details as my contribution to human fancyness.

A few notes on Partch's scale and the approach I took to laying it out:
Partch 43 starts as being a standard 11 limit scale (29 tones). Partch then added in 14 additional tones to smooth some large differences between intervals and to add some traditional harmonic intervals in.
The number in black on the upper left hand corner of the icon is its number in sequence (1 2 3 4 5,ect.). The number underneath is its frequency ratio. The coloration is used to denote groupings of members of the 11 limit set punctuated by Partch's additions. The ratios in green are of the 11 limit, those in red are Partch's.


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