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Complex triggering of samples with analogue trigger (electric violin)

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Complex triggering of samples with analogue trigger (electric violin)

Postby amorphia78 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:50 pm

Hi!

Among string players, there is a common question that never has a satisfactory answer - what effect will get get my electric violin to sound like a whole string section live? The truth is, no matter what kind of complex chorus-based set-up you use, the sound of just one instrument vibrating one string cannot be magicked into the characteristic string section sound, that comes from many instruments each with a slightly different sound.

Now, even a guitarist can sound a bit like a string section with pedals that trigger samples MIDI style. It will sound like a string section, but this is very unsatisfying to a string player who wants much more control than just auto-detection of note on/off, and pitch rounded to the nearest half step.

I'm interested in building a much more nuanced sample-triggering system. As a bare minimum, I'd like to trigger a string section sample where the pitch exactly matches the pitch of my note, millisecond for millisecond. I want to pitch-bend (or slide as us fiddlers call it) and the note pitch follows. I want to modulate the amplitude of the note I'm playing and have the sample track it.

Slightly more ambitiously, I would like not to be triggering one string section sample, but like 16 simultaneous different samples of solo violins, each of which has got some slight randomised pitch and amplitude offsets from my played note. Now that would really feel like a real string section was following the lead of my playing!

And what's more, I'd like to do this live but without a laptop (i.e. pedal or rack unit).

Is any of this possible or am I completely unrealistic?

I'm a University lecturer, not in music technology, but I can talk to people who are. I wonder how easy it might be to implement something like this in something like https://supercollider.github.io/ running on a Raspberry Pi or something? If it's feasible, could be a great project to get a student to do.

Thanks a lot for any ideas!
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Re: Complex triggering of samples with analogue trigger (electric violin)

Postby MarkOne » Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:47 am

I don't know about retrofit bridge systems for acoustic instruments, but some of the latest offerings from Cantini and Fourness look like they are capable of some very nuanced triggering, that seem to be accurate in tracking your pitch and volume, managing to handle vibrato, glides and so forth pretty well.

Once you have that in the midi domain then you can of course use a DAW of your choice to trigger any of the popular orchestral libraries
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Re: Complex triggering of samples with analogue trigger (electric violin)

Postby The Red Bladder » Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:20 pm

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Re: Complex triggering of samples with analogue trigger (electric violin)

Postby amorphia78 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:50 pm

Thanks for your suggestions folks!

One thing that had scared me about the route of just using a standard sound to Midi converter is that the nuance of pitch bend is so integral to the fiddle sound. I might want to slide into a note by a quarter tone, or I might want a note to slide up an octave. After reading this:

https://dsp.stackexchange.com/questions ... itch-value

I realise the Midi standard can in principle cope with this fine, but I wonder whether the hardware like the Sonuus G2M would work in practice, given that it's probably designed with instruments like guitars in mind that don't bend like this?

I have a Sonic violin (acoustic with integral pick-up that's more feedback resistant than most acoustics with pickups). That's what I'd have to use.
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Re: Complex triggering of samples with analogue trigger (electric violin)

Postby ore_terra » Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:58 am

I used to play with a sax guy that used a harmonizer to sound like a whole brass section. in his case a voicelive using a clip on mic.

I guess you could get something similar with a harmonizer pedal fed from a simple piezo pickyp, or even a poliphonic octaver if you're looking for just the same key.

It would not be the same than "real" samples, but in the other hand you wouldn't have the problem with the vibrato, etc tracking.
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Re: Complex triggering of samples with analogue trigger (electric violin)

Postby The Red Bladder » Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:53 am

amorphia78 wrote: I wonder whether the hardware like the Sonuus G2M would work in practice, given that it's probably designed with instruments like guitars in mind that don't bend like this?

I have a Sonic violin (acoustic with integral pick-up that's more feedback resistant than most acoustics with pickups). That's what I'd have to use.
Well, guitars do pitch-bend, either by pushing the string or by using the tremolo arm. The Sonus boxes can be switched from automatic pitch correct to follow-pitch.

All Pitch-to-MIDI or Pitch-to-CV (control voltage) take some getting used to and any harmonies lead to warbling chaos, as they can be monophonic only. The original Korg MS20 had a fantastic pitch-control function and the triggering could also be tapped-off for other event controls, but of course back then (70s) no MIDI.
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Re: Complex triggering of samples with analogue trigger (electric violin)

Postby BJG145 » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:01 pm

amorphia78 wrote:I'm interested in building a much more nuanced sample-triggering system.

I recently came across this concept from Keith McMillen. Doesn't look like it's going anywhere though...

https://www.keithmcmillen.com/labs/k-bow/
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