Alternative gestural controllers

Posted: 4/14/2013 7:05:31 PM
coalport

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

HAHAHAHA....You want HARSH? I'll show ya harsh!

If you want to be harsh, just tell the truth. Nothing will upset people more than that. 

Posted: 4/14/2013 8:16:42 PM
FredM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as WaveCrafter.com . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

OFF TOPIC! 

"If you want to be harsh, just tell the truth. Nothing will upset people more than that. " - Coalport

Yes - IMO "diplomacy" is mostly about damping down "the truth" so that people do not need to face it head-on. "Harsh" could be equated to lack of diplomatic skills, or just telling "the truth" without any padding.

The question I have started to ask myself lately is whether perhaps there is any point in expressing the "raw truth" - I have scorned many things during my life - religion, customs, social "graces", facile "diplomacy", hypocricy (when I see it in others, LOL - Less easy to see in oneself! ;-) ..

But I now think that almost everything and almost all human interaction floats on a sea of lies or at least "untruth" - That everything which makes us human is dependent on this unsavory "matress" we bounce on.. That, to be part of "normal" human society, one needs to play the game - for most people I think this is probably easy, as they cannot see through the facade..

But those who are "harsh" are probably those who see through a lot of it, and rebel against it, and attempt to "expose" it.

I think this is probably folly - There is no intrinsic "truth".. And even if there was, you see it or you dont - and if you dont, you dont want to! Best to be diplomatic and not make enemies or upset people.. (?)

I am just thinking out loud here - Thinking that my life might have been a lot more rewarding if I had learned to play the game, be "nice", and not challenged everything which I believed to be "wrong" or "unjust" - And if I hadnt been so interested in dispelling "ignorance" - What does it matter if people are ignorant? As long as they are happy and dont try to impose their stupidity on me...

Fred.

Posted: 4/15/2013 11:35:44 AM
coalport

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

The problem with diplomacy is that there is no passion in it. In fact, it is the goal of those who would follow a path of diplomacy, to erase the emotional element from their discussions so that reason and logic may prevail. 

 

When I was young, the dinner table at our house was a place of hot debate. My father used to embrace the most outrageous points of view, simply to get everyone involved in the most passionate discussion possible. It took me years to realize that most of the positions he took on things often did not reflect his true thoughts and feelings. By the end of supper, the table was usually piled high with dictionaries, encyclopedias, and often an atlas or two. 

 

I clearly recall, on many occasions, rushing from the room in a terrific rage! The following day, I probably wouldn't even remember what all the fuss was about, but at the time the whole kerfuffle was of paramount importance. 

 

Kinda like TW........LOL

Posted: 4/15/2013 1:52:06 PM
Jason

From: Sammamish, Washington

Joined: 2/13/2005

We've covered the Leap Motion in the past actually.  The pre-order units are shipping next month.  Engineers at Leap are fully aware of the possibility (and novelty) of gestural instruments as can be seen in this video:

http://mashable.com/2013/04/14/airharp

It makes me wonder... what if the air-harp had been invented instead of the theremin?  Would we all be talking on AirHarpWorld.com?

Posted: 4/15/2013 11:40:35 PM
coalport

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

The AirHarp looks like a great toy for people into musical gadgets, but there is no way it could possibly be of interest to any serious musician in its present form. I'm sure it will be a very successful app, and make a lot of money for someone, but it totally lacks sensitivity and expression.

 

If the AirHarp had been invented instead of the theremin, would we be be talking on AirHarp World? Hundreds of people ARE talking on all sorts of AirHarp forums. Would "WE" be talking? Some people here probably would be, and some will no doubt think that the AirHarp is the greatest invention since sliced bread. Hey, we live in the age of Gaga and The Bieb!

 

The AirHarp, in its gestural mode, behaves a lot like the Moog Ethervox MIDI theremin in its CHROMATIC MODE. You wave your arm in the air and you get a celestial arpeggio in any key or harmonic configuration you want. 

 

Posted: 4/16/2013 2:19:48 AM
Jason

From: Sammamish, Washington

Joined: 2/13/2005

Which makes me wonder... What would you want from an "ideal" gestural instrument that could detect individual movement?

Posted: 4/16/2013 10:29:52 AM
coalport

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

I think a better question would be: Is it possible, through gesture alone, and without any visual reference or physical contact, for a human being to consistently and accurately control a musical device?

 

Maurice Martenot, inventor of the ondes martenot, decided back in the 1920's that the answer to this question was definitely NO.

Posted: 4/16/2013 5:55:24 PM
dewster

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

I think a better question would be: Is it possible, through gesture alone, and without any visual reference or physical contact, for a human being to consistently and accurately control a musical device?

Maurice Martenot, inventor of the ondes martenot, decided back in the 1920's that the answer to this question was definitely NO.  - coalport

This is my strong feeling as well.  We have zillions of nerve endings in our tongues, lips, and fingertips, not to mention lots of valuable brain mass devoted to muscular dexterity in these regions.  Explicitly deciding to not utilize this ready resource for musical controller applications seems to be a mistake of the first order.

The Theremin is an oddity, quite unique and appealingly simplistic (both inside and out).  I believe it unfortunately helped set the tone for how lay people think of "modern" or "futuristic" musical instruments.  Gesture input is an interesting concept, but the gestures themselves seem highly prone to false interpretation, and generally lack the precision one needs to finely control pitch.

Posted: 4/16/2013 8:11:54 PM
FredM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as WaveCrafter.com . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

I agree - IMO, At our present evolutionary state, eliminating tactile feedback and/or visual feedback removes the things which enable us to interface well with a musical instrument.

I see no benefit for gestural or non-contact control as the major mechanism by which we interface to any instrument..

I do however think there may be applications for this technology to compliment the functioning of musical instruments - as in, combining tactile / visual (which would be used for the most critical functions such as pitch and perhaps dynamics) with gestural control being used perhaps for less "important" functions such as harmonic manipulations, formants etc.. In particular, I think gestural control MAY be more useful for "non tactile" actions we do "unconsciously".

I am particularly interested in gestural control over voice functions - I believe that it may, given time, be possible for a musician to "mentally remap" functions like shaping of the vocal cavities, and develop gestures for producing noise for fricative and other non-pitch related components of singing, as well as enabling whisteling and whispering, in combination with the usual formant operations involved in singing which would use the tactile controller as a source.

I think the nature of the tactile controller will probably determine how useful any gestural controller linked to it will be - The easier the tactile component is to play, the more useful the gestural component is likely to be IMO.

But I am not sure if we have evolved enough / in the "right" direction for even such a combined tactile and gestural instrument to be playable.. I am, however, reasonably sure after some experimenting, that combining non-tactile control of formants with a non-tactile pitch source (theremin) is unplayable, or will be impossible to play well by even the most gifted musician.

Fred.

Posted: 4/16/2013 9:28:36 PM
FredM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as WaveCrafter.com . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

I also wonder if other combimations of "tactile" and "gestural" instruments may be possible.. Perhaps ones where the pich component is "gestural" but the dynamics are tactile..

For example, the air harp.. To me, the flaw in this is not so much about pitch, but about dynamics.. Plucking a string is an extremely tactile action, one which, IMO, even with a visual feedback mechanism, is impossible to "play" in any realistic way "in the air" with no tactile feedback..

So, for an instrument like this, I would think that a few physical strings (perhaps Piezo wires) which can be physically plucked and respond to the dynamic actions of the pluck, combined with a gestural control operated by the other hand to control the "pitch zone" (perhaps on the X axis) with the Y axis perhaps being used to change the scale the physical 'strings' are tuned to in relation to each other (as in, not a continuous, but a stepped function - perhaps major, minor, etc as one moves on the Y axis.. Perhaps even employing the Z axis in a similar manner for embelishments / variations.. Music theory not being my strong point, I am probably talking rubbish here.. ;-).

Fred. 

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