This video, via instrument designer Barnaby Walters, demonstrates his hybrid electronic-acoustic MIDI hurdy gurdy.
The hurdy-gurdy is a stringed instrument that produces sound by a hand-cranked wheel wheel that ‘bows’ strings as it turns. Instruments with designs similar to the hurdy-gurdy go back at least a thousand years.
0:22 Technique: Pitch-shifting Polyphony
Gurdy MIDI and Audio ? Apogee ONE ? Macbook running a puredata patch
Monophonic acoustic gurdy signal is pitch-shifted down in real time to play chords and harmonies. Chords and intervals on the keyboard can also be used to pitch-shift the trompette signal (0:55) or the drones. Inspired by an idea from Sébastien Tron.
1:18 Technique: Expressive MIDI Controller
Hurdy Gurdy MIDI ? DIY Hybrid Poly Synth based off Mutable Instruments Ambika
The keyboard and wheel sensors send MIDI note, expression and polyphonic aftertouch messages to a polyphonic synthesizer. In this case a split keyboard effect is used to play two sounds.
1:36 Technique: Layered Acoustic and Electronic Sound
Hurdy Gurdy Acoustic audio, Gurdy MIDI ? DIY Hybrid Poly Synth based off Mutable Instruments Ambika
1:36 The acoustic string plays a melody, the bottom half of the keyboard controls a synthesizer with a long release for subtle held chords
2:08 Using trompette technique can send MIDI messages, used here to play synthesized percussion on an Ambika voice assigned to MIDI channel 10, whilst the keyboard plays chords.
2:30 Acoustic trompette and melody string sound layered over subtle polyphonic synthesized chords
There’s also an open source MidiGurdy – which is a hurdy-gurdy style MIDI controller:
2 thoughts on “Hurdy Gurdy MIDI System – A Futuristic Take On An Ancient Instrument”
Barnaby, that’s impressive work. It could be played in the Star Wars cantina band, except its clearly a serious instrument. The MIDIGurdy is interesting, but you took the concept several clicks higher. I’d love to hear an album’s worth of MIDI Hurdy Gurdy, Eventide reverb and a couple of synth modules going at it. You should be proud; that thing is otherworldly! A+.
The MidiGurdy is amazing…..just wish I was rich so I could afford the 2400 Euro price tag.