Controllable Note Bending on MIDI Harmonicas - What are the Options?

Anything apart from the two mainstream default harmonicas (Solo-tuned fully-valved chromatic, and un-valved Richter 10-hole diatonic). Alternate tunings, different construction, new functionality, interesting old designs, wishful-thinking... whatever!
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Brendan
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Controllable Note Bending on MIDI Harmonicas - What are the Options?

Post by Brendan » Sun Mar 26, 2017 12:40 pm

Talking of "Interesting Alternative Ideas in the Harmonica Scene", they don't come much more interesting or alternative than the new DM48 MIDI harmonica:
http://www.lekholminstruments.com/

I was honoured by the inventor Erik Lekholm to be his beta tester of the first prototype. It was a fascinating journey for a newcomer to MIDI like me, and Erik added several new menus to the on-board user interface in response to my suggestions/requests.

I made a couple of videos showing off the instrument:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwgIAFOnJVs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WDVv65SZnY

And here is the great French jazz player Laurent Maur trying it for the first time at my home:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okcHov-RDis

The first DM48s are now shipped out to customers, so we should start seeing/hearing quite a lot more online from this amazing new MIDI harmonica.

In January 2015 I wrote an article for the NHL Harmonica World magazine entitle What's Wrong with the Harmonica? It listed all the things conventional harmonicas can't do, or do badly. I think you will agree it's a long list:

http://www.brendan-power.com/images/HW% ... n%2015.pdf

But reading it now, I see the DM48 has ticked off a lot of those boxes!!

Of course many would say "Yes, but it's not a REAL harmonica". Yes and no... No reeds, but it's played like a harmonica, and can sound like one if you choose a harmonica patch. Though very expressive, one area it definitely falls behind conventional harmonicas (especially blues harps) is in the area of controllable note bending. Bending in response to breath pressure is available, but it's not controllable like a traditional blues harp bend.

To me that's too big a deficiency to accept. I'm currently working independently with a UK MIDI electronics guru to add an extra controller specifically for pitch bending. The prototype will arrive this week - will keep you posted on how it works out.

drumonica
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Re: Controllable Note Bending on MIDI Harmonicas - What are the Options?

Post by drumonica » Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:18 am

Only just noticed your footnote following my posting. Much appreciated. Drumonica

kfitz777
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Re: Controllable Note Bending on MIDI Harmonicas - What are the Options?

Post by kfitz777 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:38 pm

I'm on the waiting list... and have been thinking about how to achieve the bending aspect we all love.

My plan is to hook one of these up through my DAW: http://shop.themixfader.com/en/

These faders are extremely responsive with virtually no latency. The plan is to configure it so that if the fader is vertical halfway down equals a whole step and all the way down would be minus two whole steps. This would allow fast accurate micro tonal bends that I feel could really make this a very expressive instrument!

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Re: Controllable Note Bending on MIDI Harmonicas - What are the Options?

Post by kfitz777 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:44 pm

Here is a short cool promo video that shows off the speed and accuracy of this fader (and it's built for performance): https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=txwipXVBD ... ontinue=25

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Brendan
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Re: Controllable Note Bending on MIDI Harmonicas - What are the Options?

Post by Brendan » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:03 am

Nice! I'm sure it will work great.

Assuming on-board mounting on the DM48, I'm trying to get the size down quite a bit. There is something to be said for a longer travel for fine pitch control, but when you're holding the harp at the same time its not so easy to free up a finger to move several centimeters on a fader.

Inertial control would be an interesting option to try, more organic perhaps, though avoiding 'noise' from interference with normal body movements could be tricky.

Lizzy
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Re: Controllable Note Bending on MIDI Harmonicas - What are the Options?

Post by Lizzy » Mon May 08, 2017 6:07 pm

Another question is if the final solution can be a applied afterwards if you already bought the DM48?

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Brendan
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Re: Controllable Note Bending on MIDI Harmonicas - What are the Options?

Post by Brendan » Sun May 14, 2017 6:21 pm

Yes, the separate controller (whatever it is) mounts on the DM48 with its own USB lead.

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dblues
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Re: Controllable Note Bending on MIDI Harmonicas - What are the Options?

Post by dblues » Sun May 14, 2017 8:56 pm

Might be cool to have the note bending as a foot controlled device.

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Re: Controllable Note Bending on MIDI Harmonicas - What are the Options?

Post by Lizzy » Mon May 15, 2017 8:16 pm

I was also thinking about a foot pedal. Whatever solution it might be, it must be easy to handle without any big movements. Maybe a foot pedal demands more movements then a finger. Besides that, a finger have more fine motorics that a foot dont have...att least not mine.

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dblues
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Re: Controllable Note Bending on MIDI Harmonicas - What are the Options?

Post by dblues » Mon May 22, 2017 3:46 pm

Would depend on how it is built/set up. If the movement was, say an inch in distance, but you could adjust whether an inch would equal a 0 to 1/2 step interval, a whole step interval or more. The "switch" allowing for bends up or down depending on direction of movement. Looking forward to seeing what Brendan comes up with.

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