This video, via Mark Steiner, demos his DIY Martenot-style controller.
The Ondes Martenot, an early electronic instrument designed by Maurice Martenot in the 1920′s, offers a standard keyboard for discrete pitch control and a ring-on-a-string controller for continuous pitch control.
Here’s what Steiner has to say about his creation:
I decided to expose the pulley loop fully. I find it’s pretty interesting/fun to watch the loop and hear the pitch change accordingly. I’ve had a few ideas about maybe attacking LED’s to the pulleys to mix some light up real time. Could be fun.
Usually these kind of instruments (silimart to the Ondes Martenot) use a left hand pressure key for volume/filter brightness. On mine, I am using a Nyle Steiner breath controller, which really makes for smooth dynamics and fast articulation. There are even some parts showing multiple tonguing techniques often used by trumpet and other wind players to tongue fast by saying Tu Ku Tu Ku or Tu Tu Ka.
Special thanks to Nyle Steiner for the great sounding synth oscillators and filters used in this demo. Also thanks to Dana Countryman and Mike Beauchamp for their own expertise and inspiration in relation to instruments like this.