The Return Of “Head Music”: Tablatronica Synth Jam

This India-inspired electronica jam features electronic tabla driving a DIY sequencer.

Details on the patching and performance controls below.

via behanger:

My electronic tabla (it says “proffessional”) controls my home built 32 step sequencer, of which 20 positions are used for this rhythm. The Sool rhythm has 10 beats per cycle.

The sequencer not only plays these voltages up or down, but it can also derive other patterns. I worked these out and implemented these in hardware. I would have to look up how I did this. I do not think of it anymore, as each of the patters is useful. So in a live situation, I just choose a different one at random.

The output of the sequencer is analog, and sends out 0-10 volt. This is then converted to midi by my new miduino, a circuit by Tom Scarff. The software was partley rewritten by me. to make it play in the key of my choice. Using a very secrative math trick called rounding, I made the sequencer play in a minor key, rather than in the 12 tone system. This allows for live tweaking of the knobs without ever being out of key. Freedom!

Then there’s my Arcade joystick, which has an home baked circuit that converts the 4 switches and the fire button to 15 different notes, and connects right onto the keyboard matrix of an old casio childrens keyboard which cooks midi note messages. I would do this in the miduino too if I needed to do it again. A series of if/else statements is much easier and more flexible than soldering and debugging a circuit with 8 logic IC’s and a over a meter of wire.

Then there’s the large joystick. It has a doepfer midiconvertor on board. The miduino has enough pins to do it all together, but I like the fact that it is a funtional unit on it’s own. It controls all the effects of the Arcade channel.

The pitch of the tabla can be controlled by the sequencer as well as by the Atari paddle. I made this input on the tabla when I replaced the tuning pot with a precise ten-turn pot. It works with two vactrols.

Sound sources are: cymbals, a Raagini shruti box, the tabla box, a Waldorf Blofeld running 2 patches amplified by a 40 year old Italian tube amp.

I recorded it with my photocamera, which has a rediculously low audio sampling rate. They all have. It’s just not a number the camera’s are sold by. I should have checked weather I was in the image myself. Now I am a pair of hands on youtube too, looking like the Lorax of Dr. Seuss. A well. It’s just a test drive to check if my work is getting somewhere.

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