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Electronic Concertina Midi Controller


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#1 gwhlevy

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Posted 15 September 2003 - 12:50 AM

Have any of you ever tried putting together an electronic Concertina? In other words a MIDI controller which is a concertina style? I have a URL for a device the designer calls "the Gadget". It's a Hayden style keyboard with no bellows. So, it plays with no volume control, like an organ.

I thought of building this device with a bellows, using the bellows with a wind sensor to control the volume (CC11), or if using a Yamaha BX (breath control) enabled sound module, as a "breath controlled" MIDI controller.

The URL I'm basing this on is http://home.stny.rr....ett/gadget.html

Does this make sense? Any ideas?

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Edited by gwhlevy, 15 September 2003 - 12:52 AM.


#2 David Barnert

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Posted 15 September 2003 - 10:35 AM

The device pictured was made by Paul Everett of Endicott, NY, and the fingers in the picture are mine (at the NE Squeeze-In 2 years ago). I really have nothing to add to what's on Paul's web page (cited in Grant's message, above). He brought an earlier version of it to my house and we had some fun with it.

It was a fun toy, but I think the most telling line on the web page is:

>When mine [Stagi Hayden, unavailable until after the gadget was
>built] arrived I boxed the Gadget, shelved it, and never touched
>it again. (Engineers hear that and go nuts -- musicians'
>reaction is "Well, yeah...")

#3 caj

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Posted 16 September 2003 - 11:39 PM

I built a MIDI Stagi, about 95% of the way, but it's on a shelf until I finish my dissertation.

I used a PIC16F84 to do pretty much all the heavy lifting. A pair of pressure sensors, one in each direction, feed into a dual-ported ADC, from which I clock out the bellows pressure and direction. This is noisy, and I'll probably experiment with ways to improve the readings.

As for the buttons, I was lucky to find a bag of 50 SPST push buttons, cheap, at a surplus store. They are perfectly suited to the Stagi button holes: the button housings have screw threads, and screw tightly into the plywood. I use SSI chips to divvy the buttons into banks; I enable one bank at a time, and read all its buttons at once into a buffer. Translation from button values to notes is via lookup table.

Part of the reason I'm putting this off is that I'm always thinking how I can make a better one, e.g. with real buttons, aftertouch, modes to switch between fingerings, and so forth. Such dreaming is a great way to get absolutely nothing done.

Caj

#4 gwhlevy

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 04:25 AM

caj, have you thought of using "wind sensors" or "breath sensors" (they sense airflow) instead of pressure sensors? I thought they could be used to drive the CC11 value.

#5 gwhlevy

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Posted 01 October 2003 - 01:18 AM

Dave,

Thanks for your reply to my posting.

Do you have any further info on this? I'd really like to build this thing. I do a lot of MIDI work and this would be ideal for me for playing strings in a realistic manner, as well as woodwinds.

Do you have any contact with Paul Everett or any way I might contact him? His email is dead on the "Gadget" website.

Thanks.

Edited by gwhlevy, 01 October 2003 - 01:20 AM.


#6 David Barnert

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Posted 01 October 2003 - 08:28 AM

Do you have any contact with Paul Everett or any way I might contact him? His email is dead on the "Gadget" website.

Paul's the engineer, I was just the player. As I said above, I have nothing to add.

The e-mail thing must have been an abberation. I saw Paul at the Squeeze-In a couple of weeks ago and have since (as recently as Sept 21) received e-mail from him at the peverett "at" stny.rr.com address. I will e-mail you privately his phone number.

#7 peverett

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 05:30 PM

Good day all!

I've struck out trying to get back to Mr Levy. Maybe this would be a good forum for discussing the subject! :)

What can I do for you?

Cheers, Paul E

#8 peverett

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 07:58 AM

An off-the-shelf solution

The "MIDI Gadget" was a small first step toward a Hayden-form-factor controller. That site links to Jordan Petkov's practical MIDI electronics packages.

Grant Levy recently took that link, and reports that Jordan is now sells an off-the-shelf solution at http://geocities.com/midiboutique/ called an "MBE bandoneon (or accordion) MIDI encoder", with a bi-di pressure sensor and contacts for 88 buttons split across two printed circuit boards.

Firmware isn't discussed, but features shown seem to support concertinas and smaller accordions.

I hope experimenters will post here.

#9 Doug Barr

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 10:59 PM

[quote name='peverett' date='Oct 15 2003, 07:58 AM']An off-the-shelf solution

The "MIDI Gadget" was a small first step toward a Hayden-form-factor controller.  That site links to Jordan Petkov's practical MIDI electronics packages. 

Grant Levy recently took that link, and reports that Jordan is now sells an off-the-shelf solution at http://geocities.com/midiboutique/ called an "MBE bandoneon (or accordion) MIDI encoder", with a bi-di pressure sensor and contacts for 88 buttons split across two printed circuit boards.

Firmware isn't discussed, but features shown seem to support concertinas and smaller accordions.

I hope experimenters will post here.[/quote]
[QUOTE] will this work in an anglo concertina? I don't know if a bandoneon has a different note on the press and draw. Doug Barr

#10 gwhlevy

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 01:52 AM

I don't know if it can be set to be "uni-sonic" or not. I believe that it probably plays the same note on the press and the draw. It only has one wind sensor that senses airflow both directions. In order to be "uni-sonic" it would probably have to have 2 wind sensors, one for each air direction.

I have not heard from Jordan on this, yet.

Grant

#11 gwhlevy

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 02:02 AM

Actually, upon looking at Jordan's 'site again, the info on the MBE says that it has a: "bi-directional differential air pressure sensor, sensing the pressure value and bellows movement direction".

He says that it also has a: "selectable air-pressure MIDI parameter (Expression / Channel Pressure / Breath / Velocity).

I'm not sure how he'd set "Velocity" as a MIDI parameter using the pressure sensor. The others are CC's (continous controllers). Velocity is usually sensed by the time it takes 2 contacts under the key to close in succession. The the shorter the time between the closing of the 2 contacts, the higher the "Velocity" that is sensed.

I hope to be purchasing an "MBE" from him soon, maybe then I'll find out, eh?

Grant :^)

#12 gwhlevy

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 04:05 PM

Per Jordan, the MBE is set up to work for a MIDI Bandoneon. So, if I understand this correctly, it will play a different note on the press and the draw, like a Bandoneon would.

I have an inquirey in to him to see if the MBE can be set up to be the same note on the press and the draw. Hopefully, it can be.

Grant :^)

#13 gwhlevy

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 02:22 AM

I received an email from Jordan this evening. The MBE can be configured to play the same note on the press and the draw. This will be great for building an English or Hayden (or other duet) concertina.

I look forward to purchasing an MBE very soon!

Grant Levy :D

#14 caj

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Posted 17 November 2003 - 02:29 AM

I received an email from Jordan this evening.  The MBE can be configured to play the same note on the press and the draw.  This will be great for building an English or Hayden (or other duet) concertina.

Hi,

Judging from the description, the MBE looks like a nice all-in-one solution for the MIDI concertina. My own home-brewed MIDI circuit is pretty much the same thing, only not so tidy. I have a PIC microcontroller polling a pair of pressure sensors (in the MBE picture, the pressure sensor is the oblong black hunk in the upper left corner) and scanning banks of buttons.

Here's a warning for you: this MBE gadget (and many others, including my own project) are designed on the assumption that your buttons are just electrical connections that are either open or closed---standard pushbutton switches, for example. You might instead opt for hall effect switches---these are sensors placed under the buttons or pads, which detect the presence of a magnet connected to the button. These have the advantage of being mechanically reliable (no contacts that may or may not contact, and no bounce,) and allowing you to make your own buttons.

The problem is that most hall-effect switches have TTL outputs, meaning that instead of being a connection that's either open or closed, the switch outputs a voltage that is either high or low. This is actually quite convenient if you design for it, but some effort is needed to interface a TTL output to a device what expects to see a closed/open switch. Your MBE will have multiple banks of buttons connected along the same wires; bad things can happen if they are not correctly isolated from one another. Bad, burny things.

In the end you can wing this with a diode or transistor on each sensor, but no matter what it will be more parts and effort than pushbuttons, which can just be plugged right in with no fuss or muss.

Caj

#15 gwhlevy

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Posted 17 November 2003 - 03:59 AM

Hi Caj,

I'm opting for the simple switches unless I find that it's all too "bouncey". I want to keep it simple at first until I see otherwise, for now.

Thanks for the advice/info.

Grant

#16 caj

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Posted 19 November 2003 - 05:41 PM

Hi Caj,

I'm opting for the simple switches unless I find that it's all too "bouncey".  I want to keep it simple at first until I see otherwise, for now.

Thanks for the advice/info.

Grant

Ok --- let me know how it goes. You've rekindled my interest in my own MIDI box, and I'll be trying to finish it over the next few weeks. It'll take at least that long because my PIC programmer is back in IL, and I won't be back there until Thanksgiving.

Caj

#17 gwhlevy

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 03:43 AM

Keep me posted on your project, okay? Thanks, Caj.

Grant :^)

Edited by gwhlevy, 20 November 2003 - 03:44 AM.


#18 David Barnert

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 12:11 AM

Keep us *all* posted.




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