Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Progress on New Kind of Harp with Lasers and Strings! ;-)

I am just about ready to start cutting out the beautiful Cherry Wood that I will use for this harp.

And meanwhile I have been ordering in the six green lasers, and other electronics that will be installed in this harp. We have also been working on which external manual midi controller to use with this harp, to allow the harpist to change program settings and all.

Usually my Laser Harp installations are set up with some kind of button array, to allow the Museum patrons ( or just the staff), to push a button to change the programing of all of the Laser beams. But in this case, with this new kind of Laser Harps, with playable strings, which is designed for stage performance, we needed a different set up.

After much thought, We have decided to use the "Behringer FCB1010 MIDI Foot Controller", which has these features:

It has 10 banks of 10 presets, with plenty of storage space. Each preset can send 5 MIDI program change commands and 2 MIDI control commands simultaneously so one can configure an entire synth rack with one stomp.

2 expression pedals independently control any MIDI channel, controller number, and range. The footswitches can also be configured to send MIDI note numbers, perfect for tap-tempo functions. 2 programmable, relay-controlled footswitch jacks are great for switching guitar amp channels via MIDI!

Behringer FCB1010 MIDI Foot Controller Features:

* 10 banks of presets
* 2 expression pedals with freely assignable MIDI channel, controller number, and range
* Simultaneous transmission of five MIDI program change commands and two MIDI control commands per preset
* MIDI note-on commands for trigger and tap-tempo applications
* 2 programmable, relay-controlled switch jacks
* MIDI merge function allows for "soft through" and merging of controller and input data

Among other things this midi foot pedal controller can do with this new type of harp, is to allow the harpist to play a whole series of harp chords and melody patterns with a pedal engaged, and then to send it through the laptop computer, into the software, out the Laser midi controller to allow her to then trigger one of the lasers to play the music she just created, as a continuous background loop to go with the additional harp music she is playing with it. She will also be able to trigger background sampled nature sounds such as ocean waves and bird song, along with videos projected from her LCD projector.

The harpist I am building this harp for will be taking it to Ireland in May. So if you are reading this blog in Ireland, please look for this harp being played by Talia Rose sometime in May of this year! :-)

Laser Harpingly yours, Glenn

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Ultra-Sonic triggering to be added to my Laser Harp installation possibilities

I am going to be experimenting with another new to me technology, using ultrasonic sound field triggering, to trigger sounds and visual imagery.

This ultrasonic field can be set to trigger from 3 to 60 feet away, and different notes or sounds can be programed to change every few feet. It can also be programed to have a 'no action zone' of whatever size you wish, so that the trigger zone is across a room from the sending/ receiving device. The actual triggering is via moving through the 'field' of sent and reflected ultrasonic sound.The exact sounds and visuals triggered can depend on just how you move your body, arms and legs, and how fast. It was first developed to use with dancers.

It is also controlled, as is my OptiMusic midi controller and software, by a compact midi controller and software that runs on a laptop computer.

This technology could be used to create a sonic field of event/sound/visual triggering, around and before a museum patron even approaches the actual laser harp installation. this would add a deeper layer of experience to the children and adults who interact with an installation, as well as being an way to teach about both Lasers and Ultrasound.

I may seek to use it for the first time in my local Science Museum, Science Works, in a project for 2010.

But first I will buy a set up to experiment with in my Lab/ workshop! :-)


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

King David Laser Harp on Hold again, perhaps latter in March to start !

My King David Project for a Museum in New York is on hold again, but it is under contract, and should happen perhaps latter in March or early April. along with my other Laser Harp projects this harp will be using the OptiMusic midi controller and software.

Mean while it`s back to the work shop ! ;-) I have five custom harps a-building on my workbench right now !