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Topic: Using a Guitar Controller to play GPO Violin

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  1. #1

    Using a Guitar Controller to play GPO Violin

    Just wanted to share something here that I recorded during the chat today:

    http://www.tencrazy.com/gadgets/ezeg/e-guarn.mov (1.5Mb Quicktime)

    Made with a Yamaha EZ-EG guitar controller, creative mapping of the GPO Solo Guarn sounds in SONAR, and a hunk of custom MIDI driver coding in MIDI-OX and MFX.

    Key performance factors include:

    * Setting each string to transmit on one channel each, with GPO set to receive 4 identical channels. Each Guarn slot in GPO is tweaked to add some VAR1/2 randomness and a bit of portamento.

    * The MIDI-OX script ensures a monophonic output per string. If two notes are held at once on the same string (the fretboard of the EZ-EG is a grid of linear buttons), the higher pitched one has priority.

    * Within SONAR, each string is routed to an individual MIDI track, which in turn each runs through my MFX AutoLegato plugin. Also, the strings are retuned to intervals of a 5th: this encourages reasonable fingering and intervals for emulating a violin.

    * The whammy-bar controls the "velocity" at which notes are played. In detente, Velocity is 96 (with a variance of +/-8). Pulling up on the whammy will dig in harder, pressing down will play softer.

    * While the top 4 strings of the guitar map to those of the violin, there was still an entire octave uncovered by the fretboard. As such, I also mapped string #6 to play an octave above string #1, covering the entire range of the instrument.

    Mind you, I'm not a violin player! As such, I commit a few impossibilities for a violin in the performance (e.g. skipping strings on a double-stop), and I'm still fumbling around in 5ths tuning so I'm opting to much atonal wandering (then again, that's what I do on piano often, but I'm schooled in that )

    All said, I find it a very promising path for investigation! This paltry demo at least gives a good notion of what can be done with a MIDI controller available for under $300.

    Note that if you want to follow this path yourself and have an EZ-EG or EZ-AG, you can get my MIDI-OX sysex translation script on my site (www.TenCrazy.com).

    There's a new year ahead of us, people: dream big!

    - m
    Free MFX and other plugins: http://www.TenCrazy.com/
    Markleford's music: http://www.markleford.com/music/

  2. #2
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    Re: Yamaha EZ-EG as GPO Solo Controller

    Very cool Markleford!

    Only $300 for the Yamaha EZ-EG? I will definitely be buying one.

    And the link again to ecourage all to see this virtuosos in action:
    http://www.tencrazy.com/gadgets/ezeg/e-guarn.mov

    I like how you use the strings in a"sul" manner which also allows for double/tripple/quadruple stops.

    This is going to be fantastic with the new upcoming solo strings library. Now if we can only use an e-bow on the Yamaha, :

    Thanks for sharing this,

    Gary Garritan

  3. #3

    Re: Using a Guitar Controller to play GPO Violin

    Thanks, Gary.

    The EZ-AG (acoustic guitar version) can be had for less than $200 for an even cheaper entrypoint. The only thing it's really lacking next to the EZ-EG besides accessories (power supply, USB MIDI interface, etc) is the whammy-bar, but that's just another CC that could be replaced by a pedal (or even breath controller for maximum weirdness! ) if you have one handy.

    As mentioned in the chat, it would be cool to have a ribbon controller on the back of the neck to be manipulated with the thumb. And though my project for using a Wacom digital tablet as a bowing controller has been stalled (was generating 3-D CC messages before real life boring stuff interjected), it would be fantastic to mount a small one on the body to be played with a stylus!

    And sadly no e-bowable strings on this guy: just plastic buttons! Heh, I remember the old days of doing e-bow violin sounds a la Adrian Belew...

    Looking forward to solo strings! I don't know if you have per-string full sul sample sets, but that would be very cool to get the tonal variation all the way up the neck. And I did notice in GPO that the Guarn's lowest "open" string actually has vibrato on it, which would be quite a trick!

    I guess the dream scenario would be to get Yamaha to manufacture a new "EZ-VL" model with 4-strings and some extra controllers for bow articulation for less than a mint! Believe it or not, they also have an EZ-TP trumpet controller, but it's impossible to find in the States. Perhaps you can swing by the Yamaha booth at CES and NAMM to see what's up their sleeve next.

    - m
    Free MFX and other plugins: http://www.TenCrazy.com/
    Markleford's music: http://www.markleford.com/music/

  4. #4
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    Re: Using a Guitar Controller to play GPO Violin

    Quote Originally Posted by Markleford
    Believe it or not, they also have an EZ-TP trumpet controller, but it's impossible to find in the States. Perhaps you can swing by the Yamaha booth at CES and NAMM to see what's up their sleeve next.
    Markleford,

    I'll look for that EZ-TP trumpet controller at the shows. Seemss like a cool controller. I also have contacts in Japan that may be able to find out more information.

    Gary Garritan

  5. #5

    Re: Using a Guitar Controller to play GPO Violin

    Well you'll have to tell me how well it tracks if it's there: it seems very odd to me as a long-time brass player, but you actually sing/hum into the mouthpiece (which is a microphone), which uses a pitch-detection algorithm to divide it into the nearest register, after which it applies the result of the valves pressed.

    At the very least, I suppose it would be an easy way to program brass rips. Though really, I should just sit down and code a rip MFX someday instead...

    - m
    Free MFX and other plugins: http://www.TenCrazy.com/
    Markleford's music: http://www.markleford.com/music/

  6. #6

    Re: Using a Guitar Controller to play GPO Violin

    Wow! And to think I spent $2000+ on my Ztar.

    But I still love it to death!

    http://www.starrlabs.com/

    Did I see red flashing lights on the Yamaha fingerboard?

  7. #7

    Re: Using a Guitar Controller to play GPO Violin

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty
    Did I see red flashing lights on the Yamaha fingerboard?
    Yes indeed: the frets light up when you press them! Bug or feature? You make the call!

    That's part of the "learning guitar" functionality: it will play built-in songs and light up the frets where your fingering should be on the chords. One interesting aspect of that is you can send MIDI SysEx messages to light up whatever frets you want! I haven't done it yet, but I'm sure I'll design some sort of "light show" script.

    - m
    Free MFX and other plugins: http://www.TenCrazy.com/
    Markleford's music: http://www.markleford.com/music/

  8. #8
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: Using a Guitar Controller to play GPO Violin

    Wow, this is pretty impressive! I could hear but not see. Is there a site I can go to to see this instrument?
    Styxx

  9. #9

    Re: Using a Guitar Controller to play GPO Violin

    Styxx, go to my site and check out my EZ-EG resources page: I have links to a few Yamaha official pages with big pictures.

    Or just check out Amazon.com: that's where I got mine!

    - m
    Free MFX and other plugins: http://www.TenCrazy.com/
    Markleford's music: http://www.markleford.com/music/

  10. #10
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: Using a Guitar Controller to play GPO Violin

    Thanks Mr. Mark. Fasinating guitars! Thanks for the info.
    Styxx

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