New Edit/Update (07/10/05):
(even if you have only one keyboard, you can still do these realtime glissandos.. see the added posts later in this thread )
If you have Cubase SX2 or SX3, a second MIDI keyboard (ideally, 5-octave) or some other controller device capable of sending out MIDI note-on data, then you can now manicure your fingernails on the white keys of your main MIDI keyboard, while setting the glissando on the other device
Simply download this special Cubase SX MIDI track, open an SX Project of your choice, with one track set up to play GPO from your main keyboard (GPO loaded with one of the Glissando Harps, of course!), import the downloaded track, using File menu> Import> "Track Archive", set the input of that track to be from your 2nd keyboard/MIDI controller, and leave its output "Not Connected". The only other thing you need to do is to open the "Sends" section of the Inspector for this new track, and set the output for each Transformer FX to GPO, on the same channel as the basic GPO track. (Btw, if, upon importing, Cubase SX shows the "Pending Connections" alert, it is merely looking for the GPO plugin, so you can simply dismiss the alert box and follow the above instructions).
It is set up at the moment so that the lowest octave of a 61-note keyboard (MIDI notes 36-47) sets the 12 major scales...
C1-B1 (MIDI notes 36-47) = major scales
C2-B2 (MIDI notes 48-59) = pentatonic scales (one can usually get away with using these for major chords, especially if you also program the sound of someone coughing at the same time! )
C3-B3 (MIDI notes 60-71) = dominant 9th
C4-B4 (MIDI notes 72-83) = harmonic minor scales
C5-D5 (MIDI notes 84-86) = diminished
Eb5-E5 (MIDI notes 87-88) = whole tone
N.B. It is important that both MIDI tracks be record enabled when playing/recording.
So, if for example you want a scale of D major, just hit D1 (MIDI note #38) on your 2nd keyboard (or program a button on your controller device to send out "MIDI Note-On #38"), and then play all the white notes on your main keyboard, preferably starting at a "D". It is set up so that every available scale starts on the white note with the corresponding letter, thus if you select C# on your second keyboard, the corresponding C# scale starts on C. Likewise, Eb starts from E on your main keyboard. I think I have maintained the (arbitrary!) rule, that on the 2nd keyboard, C#=C# (rather than Db), D#=Eb (rather than D#), F#=F#, G#=Ab, and A#=Bb.
Here is a downloadable ReadMe file (mainly a repetition of this post!).
It is also a good idea to download the following Presets.xml files Here, and copy them into the appropriate Cubase SX folders, as described in the ReadMe document included in the download.
It is even also quite easy to customize your own glissandos within the Cubase project, particularly if you are already familiar with the Chorder MIDI FX. I'll be happy to describe how to do that if anyone is sufficiently interested!
Btw, I would expect that it is quite possible to create something similar in Logic.
Just an update note, mainly for the benefit of anyone who had already read my original (non-edited) post above, and was maybe frightened off by the thought of having to use MIDi Yoke or IAC Bus.. I have redone the Cubase SX Project, in a way that makes initial setting up much easier... no need for MIDI Yoke or IAC Bus any more... basically, just download the Cubase file above, import it into your project, play the white notes on your main keyboard, while selecting the glissando type/key on your second keyboard or other controller device
The ability to do real-time harp glisses in real-time is a great benefit to users. This is a more elegant solution since it can be done on-the-fly. We'll explore ways this can be done on the same keyboard.
Actually, it's very easy to do it from the same keyboard, if your keyboard can quickly switch MIDI channels (e.g. ch#1 plays the actual glissando, change to ch#2, strike a note (which sets the next glissando), then switch back to ch #1 to play the new glissando... it just needs the addition of a filter in the Input Transformer to each of the two tracks... I'll post more specific details in a little while... I'm also investigating the possibility of switching via the modwheel (no idea where that will take me yet!:-))
Modwheel switching would be cool. Let us know how it works.
Interim report: I've got it working already ... modwheel at zero = play keyboard normally, modwheel greater than zero=strike a note to set the next glissando, then modwheel back to zero to actually play it, but so far it will only work in SX3 (needs a special event type in the Input Transformer, which was only added in SX3)... maybe after a night's sleep something will suddenly click!:-). Oddly enough, this version may take a little extra initial setting up (I'm just checking that now)..
EDIT: still very easy(in SX3) .. this "Modwheel version" will import two tracks (one for playing, and one for triggering.. both to be record-enabled simultaneously.. you don't need to keep swapping tracks to use this).. the only new additional step is that you'll have to manually switch on the Input Transformer for each of these tracks (but the Input Transformers themselves load up ready-parametered)
I'll upload the necessary files (and update my earlier post) hopefully sometime tomorrow
I'd appreciate peoples' opinions please (if still using SX2)..
There's another way of toggling between normal playing and triggering a new glissando from the same keyboard, which works even in SX2, but this involves either using a Key Command from your computer keyboard (simply toggles Record-Enable between the two tracks), or makes use of a Generic Remote Device (whose reliability only moderately convinces me in SX2..seems fine in SX3), and most importantly, a continuous controller, such as the modwheel, is completely unsuitable for toggling between two tracks (this is different from the method used in SX3, where the mod wheel works well). So the question is.. what should be used to toggle the function? Any switch-type controller should work (the sustain pedal is an obvious candidate for this, but would of course conflict with its other more conventional uses), or a note-on could be used as a keyswitch (but which note are you willing to lose in order to achieve this?... bottom A on an 88-note keyboard would be totally harmless for a harp, but what if you only have a 5-octave keyboard?). I'm totally open to suggestions on this .
While trying out various things, using just one keyboard, that work well, and others that work less well, I'm arriving at a couple of conclusions from the "user experience" aspect..
1) Directly triggering the glissando-types from a second keyboard is a much more immediate and intuitive method... if you are keen to do realtime glissandos, give serious consideration to purchasing even a cheap second-hand extra keyboard.
2) O.K. so this brilliant idea isn't worth spending a hundred bucks on ( ), so what's the next best solution with only one keyboard? Playing with various versions of this, I find that it's not too bad having to press a button/keyswitch/move a modwheel in order to acces the notes that set the gliss-type, but what quickly becomes counter-intuitive is having to press/move that same controller again afterwards in order to get back to the main playing mode... the worst of the options being a note-on as a keyswitch... think about it for a sec.. you've just played one glissando and you now want to play a different one.. you have to first play one note to activate trigger mode, then press a second note in order to select the gliss-type, then once again play that first note in order to get back to play mode, and only then can you start to play your new glissando. On the other hand, a controller switch, or even better (and it's the simplest solution if still using SX2), a key command from the computer keyboard, turns out to be much less of a "head twister". In SX3, the use of the modwheel isn't too painful either, but there is much better/more immediate/logical to be achieved via the use of the sustain pedal...1) As far as I can tell, it isn't being otherwise employed in any of the Harp Glissando presets (am I right in thinking that?), and 2) it "feels" logical.. you just play your glissandos normally (without the sustain pedal), then to change glissandos you simply press the sustain pedal and hold it down while selecting the new glissando-type, then as soon as you release the sustain pedal, you're automatically back in play mode!. (unfortunately the same is not true in SX2, you still have to press the sustain pedal a 2nd time, so no advantage there [although I haven't quite given up on it yet ] )
There *are* other ways of getting this to automatically revert to play mode after hitting the trigger note, but very cumbersome to set up... needs MIDI Yoke in Windows, or IAC Bus on Mac, and two extra instances of the Generic Remote Device.. I'd consider that not really worth the effort.
I'd appreciate some opinions on all this, before posting lots of different versions, which I'm sure would end up getting rather confusing.