A broken string instrument into a sound generating electronic instrument

These days, I am more interested in building something  that I can contribute myself, put more of my taste into it. In other words, I love analog synths and some other devices that are already designed by someone. I buy and assemble them because they are worth, and they are ones that I don’t have enough time and knowledge to design myself. It’s a whole different world. But I can probably build something much simpler, yet it is more what I want to do with.

So I grabbed the arduino again after few years. First time when I picked up the arduino, I thought I had lack of understanding in general. I could follow the instructions but I didn’t have enough ideas what to do with it. Now after assembling and building few electronic devices, I kinda wanted to go back there and see if I could do something more interesting.

Then I also had this broken string instrument that I got from a second hand market for 2 euro. The string is simply metal wire, and I could imagine that the electronic current can flow into it, and make something, just something!

So, I tried to feed the voltage into it. The feeding tool is the Arduino. I used the 330k ohm resister in between and simply let the voltage flow. Then I put a piezo into a body of the instrument and it is not to detect the sound of the instrument body as in general use of it, but I connect the wire of the voltage into the piezo, and it more works like buzzer.

Most important element is the human body : this works only with the human body as the conductive object, like a switch, -or could work with any conductive material-. Any part of my body needs to be wired as well (one hand attached to the wire, and the other hand touching the instrument), otherwise there is no current flow between the body and the instrument.

I am very happy with the result. Now I am on the stage of feeding some various voltages into different strings to make some different sound pitches, and so far it works. I put a metal in between and connect that into the ground. By this grounding, it can cancel the voltage, meaning that it can also reduce the voltage in time to generate some glissando effect, or a very distorted noise.

After finishing this design, I am going to make it as a performing tool, connecting with the computer to process the sound as well. This is already on going.

 

‘Bamboo’ for two Bambusoides and Computer

I’d like to introduce my latest piece ‘Bamboo’ for two Bambusoides and Computer.

Chi_-_StudioLoos_20140601_-_Stephan_Kaffa_006

The idea came when I was writing for Petzold (modern bass recorder) and experimented feedback effects with it. What I was doing was to use microphone inside and normalized the incoming signal without any air blowing into the instrument. Then a tone is created and the keys become a harmonic modulator. I couldn’t use this technique in another piece because it is feedback sensitive, creates some risks to blow the speakers, and didn’t have enough time to make it better. But I kept the idea.

Then I had this 3 meters bambusoides from a garden store, where I wanted to explore this idea, but I didn’t start working on it. And then I really wanted to try out with several different size of bamboos.

I cut the 3 meter’s bamboo in 3 pieces, one a long, and two shorts. They of course have a different resonant frequency (let’s say, soprano and alto). More interesting aspects with working with this Bamboo is its internal structure; it has the knots that are closed inside. However I think that the bamboos for the gardening purpose are treated with fire, and there was a small hall, a couple of centimetres in diameter, inside the bamboo. Because of this, every knots has slightly different resonant frequency and I wanted to use that.

I made two holes in each knots for the small bamboos, and one hole for the long one. One bamboo has 4 holes each, and I put a little loudspeaker in one side, and DPA microphone on the other side in order to create a feedback.

I love the sound of bamboo as a percussion too, so that the piece includes all the possible characteristics of its own: its percussive aspects, cylinder shaped instrument, flute like instrument, unstable yet quite organized resonant frequency, and so on.

Below you can listen to the piece. I am preparing for the video of the premiere. I hope you enjoy.

Time Folding Live Album release

I am very happy to announce the release of the digital album Time-Folding.

Time-Folding Live Album

The Album consists of 7 selected tracks from my Live Performances in Den Haag for last couple of years, with the combination of Analog synth, Digital synth and acoustic Instruments. Its version varies by the change of instruments and live set.
Every track is recorded during the live performance, no additional editing involved.

 

Hope many of visitors listen to it and wish to give my any feedback!

You can buy the album, but you can listen to them for free on the link (click the image above)

Enjoy. 🙂