Pedal for a "pizzicato" effect?

Posted: 10/20/2019 10:08:14 AM
Boulayo

Joined: 10/20/2019

I wonder if something like that already exists or not... You probably know!
The idea is for a pedal with this behaviour: when the volume is increasing there is a threshold: below that threshold everything is silent, and passing that threshold the volume makes a jump. When the volume is decreasing it fades out normally instead.
In this way one could simulate a "pizzicato", if I figured out correctly.
The question is: there exists a pedal effect that acts differently when volume increases and decreases?

Posted: 10/20/2019 2:36:56 PM
DreadVox

From: The East of Netherlands

Joined: 6/18/2019

It looks like most of what you want could be done with the EHX Attack Decay pedal:

EHX Attack Decay product page

EHX Attack Decay demo videos

Posted: 10/20/2019 3:12:13 PM
bendra

From: Portland, Oregon

Joined: 2/22/2018

I've done some experiments with a noise gate filter on my Zoom G1ON pedal. It sounds more like a plucked bass or guitar string than a violin pizzicato. Here's a sound sample: https://drive.google.com/file/d/12CCwgAR58cYeKckeXqFui2mzSkPSxs71/view?usp=drivesdk

Here's a song where I use it: 

There are probably other pedals that work similarly but give even more control of the threshold.  A problem I've had is it's hard to mix normal legato play with this new stacatto attack because it's very easy to fall below the gate threshold  when you dont mean to. 
Another thing to note is that guitar pedals are designed to work with much lower volume than a theremin produces so you might need a preamp or something else to reduce the volume to a guitar-like level before it gets to the pedal. So it can be done, but will require trial and error to get exactly what you are looking for.

Posted: 10/20/2019 4:38:42 PM
oldtemecula

From: 60 Miles North of San Diego, CA

Joined: 10/1/2014


pizzicato - A new word for me not being a musician.

Boulayo said:

"The idea is for a pedal with this behaviour:

when the volume is increasing there is a threshold: below that threshold everything is silent,

and passing that threshold the volume makes a jump.

When the volume is decreasing it fades out normally instead."
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My good friend (Hung Dong) from Saigon was the grandson of Master Cao Van Lau, who is recognized as the Father of Cai Luong music of Vietnam. I think what Boulayo is asking for may be a project I worked on a while back doing a theremin cross over of a dan bau but abandoned it like so many other interesting ideas.

My sound byte MP3 is "horrible" but it was a first experiment at an approach that could work for theremin. In my reasoning it was to flow seamlessly from plucking to normal theremin even if something must be touched.

I like how there is always a pedal to do anything. I remember making a fuzz box in 1965 using germanium transistors for my friends.


Christopher
Hwy79.com

Would this be considered pizzicato? A theremin should sound just as naturally beautiful but different.


Posted: 10/20/2019 5:43:50 PM
bendra

From: Portland, Oregon

Joined: 2/22/2018

oldtemecula, with the jihad against pedals :-)

I agree that for many musical purposes the pure sound of a high quality theremin is just better. But those of us who are not electrical engineers have to make do with what's available I'm afraid.

The sound sample you posted seems promising - how do you transition between "plucked" and "normal" theremin notes? Was not clear to me. Wouldn't a momentary foot switch make sense for switching between these?

Posted: 10/20/2019 6:36:02 PM
JPascal

From: Berlin Germany

Joined: 4/27/2016

The external pedal ZoomG1 seems to be a good thing here.  

Some thoughts about pizziccato with theremin I have here:http://thereminworld.com/Forums/T/31332/basic-experiments?Page=9
There is also an audiofile: https://soundcloud.com/jp-channel-981239111/theremin-jpascal-sample-2

A gesturally controlled "pluck effect" by using for example a feedback function I hope to optimize in the next time. 

Posted: 10/20/2019 6:38:46 PM
oldtemecula

From: 60 Miles North of San Diego, CA

Joined: 10/1/2014


bendra said: The sound sample you posted seems promising - how do you transition between "plucked" and "normal" theremin notes? Was not clear to me. Wouldn't a momentary foot switch make sense for switching between these?

Yes it would need to be switched somehow, been a long time since working on it. 

Here is a better sound byte mp3  A pitch preview would monitor the steady tone

Need idea, how to keep the trailing off note the same briefly while moving to a new note. (digital?)

I once set up set up a musician veteran that lost an arm, sitting in a wheelchair a method of using his knee movement for volume

The simplest way I think to get the effect in discussion, with rapid On the slow decay is using a Vactrol type setup, an LED turns on a LDR Cds photo cell and some of these have a natural long decay as the resistance returns and they turn off. This is real resistance so no distortion occurs over its decay range. A basic 555 can set up the trip point for Note On

I am not against digital, pedals, metal plates, touching the theremin or even a whistle if it sounds good. Every approach teaches something and have never picked on any other theremin design. All I ever ask is what does it sound like and that upsets a few. 

A beautiful sound exists in a narrow window and partial illusion (IMHO) in a good way. I might say if someone wants perfect notes why not play a keyboard with an effect.

A good theremin sound is up for individual personal interpretation. I have heard a pro play an EWS on stage and it sounds really good and at some other event the same musician does not have the same sound, the theremin has moods.

The key is good earth ground, more than most realize. I was going to show how to make a gadget to measure this as it revolves around radio waves but most don't care or get it. This is not as important with digital theremins.

Christopher

Posted: 10/22/2019 7:58:17 AM
DOMINIK

From: germany, kiel

Joined: 5/10/2007

Bendra: A problem I've had is it's hard to mix normal legato play with this new stacatto attack because it's very easy to fall below the gate threshold when you dont mean to.

Very true! Nevertheless interesting to play with a noise gate.

Not really an answer to Boulayos question: I am using velocity in my subscope theremins. The attack may not be sharp as that from an opening noise gate, but legato play just remains possible. The faster the volume hands movement the shorter the attack. While the volume after the attack / fast movement simply corresponds to the hands position like normal. The faster the movement the shorter the needed travel. Thus after a short attack, volume can be zero again.

Posted: 10/22/2019 12:47:45 PM
dewster

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

Also not a solution to the OP, but one I've found and implemented on the D-Lev is to mix a somewhat sharp volume "knee" (steep volume transition zone) in with some volume hand velocity, in a scaled and controlled manner, followed by an envelope generator (this took many more tries than I expected to get things into a "usable" state).  I wouldn't want to play legato all the time this way, but (similar to Dominik's circuit which he fantastically demonstrates above) I can transition between attack and legato, and control both modes via playing technique. 

Volume knee, velocity detection, and envelope generation really should be an integral part of any mid to high end Theremin.  Like pitch preview / display / correction, timber manipulation, etc. it's much easier to add these things where you have access to intermediate signals, rather than after the fact at the output.

Posted: 10/22/2019 2:57:36 PM
rupertchappelle

From: earth

Joined: 5/8/2017

I just trim the volume antenna sensitivity down to 2 inches and use my hand - it helps to have reverse volume mapping and a plate antenna . . . or a mandolin.
Staccato is practical, useful and tolerable, pizzicato over any length of time is painful to my experience unless one uses a synth or a slicer pedal.

Something crude like the Boss SL-20 Slicer - then you can play flight of the bumblebees . . .

Anyone got a bucket?

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