Friday, 21 August 2009

Crazy pianola idea!

I am thinking about building a machine to play simple repeated riffs or maybe a solo (at the push of a foot control) on my little melodica. a piano player or a barrel organ! The melodia wouldn’t need any modification; it would be blown into by an electric pump and played by mechanical fingers. I can generate piano roll paper from midi using garageband on the computer, all I need to do is print it out, punch out the holes and roll it into a tube, it will be then read using light and a stack photo resistors! To keep it mechanically simple sharp/flat (black) notes are played by punching out the holes for the two natural notes (white) either side of it and using a little CMOS (electronic) logic to decode it the black key is depressed and white keys aren’t, I have already worked out this circuit! Even the way the way the keys are depressed is going to be unusual as I feel conventional solenoids (electro-magnets) are inefficient and expensive (old pianolas and barrel organs used vacuum) and propose to use electro-magnetic clutches in other words smaller electro-magnets maybe from relay coils that grip a stack of revolving discs so each magnet can be just a fraction away from it’s disc (so it doesn't need to be so powerful) and simply gripping it will drag and it’s finger on to the key. Maybe if this is successful some day I could scale it up to play a full size piano??!!! But anyway I think this would be good on stage playing my keyboard parts, I could build it so that all the moving parts are visible from the front.
It’s sad to me that we live in a world where every thing is solid state and sealed up, there is no longer that sense of fascination and wonder of watching things turn and mechanisms whirl like there was when I was younger, this thing would be a like apiece of kinetic art! It would be a big project but something I can work away at piece by piece, don’t expect to see anything working too soon!
Oh I suppose I should make a drum machine version too!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

A rotary speaker tune

As you can hear it has a strange whrily- floaty sound, almost like an electric piano. What you are missing out on is the amazing stereo effect bcz it is recorded in mono. I am playing the "Les Pew" (See my first blog) it's just out of camera shot bcz I couldn't get the camera any further back even though it is out side of the shed door! I can just about get my two amps and pedal board into my tiny workshop and have enough room to play but I wouldn't get to practice much with it if I had to set it up in the front room! I wish we had a garage!

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Every monkey stick needs a monkey!

From wikipedia
The name "monkey stick" comes from a modern practice: in homage to the trained monkeys formerly used by buskers to solicit money from passers-by, a number of musicians have taken to fixing a small stuffed toy monkey to the tops of their instruments.
I found this guy in a greetings card shop reduced to 99p I'll attach him to the pole somewhere.