1. Doing some prototyping+testing for the next MIDI-enabled gurdy board:

    My current approach is an Arduino (Genuino) Uno with a custom made board with a line of hall effect sensors, and the various other boards plugged into the Arduino. It works, but there are various problems — wiring the whole thing together is a hassle; the limited I/O on the Uno requires me to multiplex the sensors, introducing delays; hand-soldering through-hole sensors means they’re all in slightly different positions; and a single line of sensors isn’t enough to cover the whole throw of a key, resulting in notes turning off when they’re bent too far.

    I heard about emsproto.com and was initially considering designing a board containing the sensors and microcontroller myself, and having it built, but after drafting up a very simple one-component test board and seeing that there’s a base cost of €200 per board for PCB and assembly, I decided on another approach.

    The next version of the board will be a custom designed sensor and breakout board with two rows of surface-mounted hall effect sensors, into which I can plug a Teensy 3.5, removing the need for multiplexing, vastly increasing the speed at which the system can run, and opening up various possibilities like easy-to-implement USB-MIDI support.

  2. FOR SALE: Two newly built Hurdy Gurdies

    The first two instruments from this winter’s series are now for sale. The new design is an evolution of my previous instruments, aiming to be more compact whilst having a loud, mellow, balanced sound. The instruments fit nicely in Ritter Alto/Tenor sax bags (I’ve flown several times with this model as hand luggage without any problems).

    Vio #4 for €2700 + P&P from Germany

    https://youtu.be/BLZDyc99MXw

    This instrument can be seen played together with a violin in this video from Folk Marathon 2016.

    2x melody strings (G and g)
    2x drones (C and G)
    2x trompettes (C and G)
    Fully chromatic two octave keyboard (including F# in the upper octave)
    Height-adjustable melody string bridge
    Adjustable drone bridges

    Fitting capos and/or an amplification system is also possible.

    Vio #5 for €3150 + P&P from Germany

    https://youtu.be/ddGXaQiN97E

    2x melody strings (G and g)
    2x drones (C and G)
    2x trompettes (C and G)
    4x sympathetic strings (C, G, D, A)
    4x capos (one for each drone and trompette string)
    Three channel active amplification system
    Fully chromatic two octave keyboard (including F# in the upper octave)
    Height-adjustable melody string bridge
    Adjustable drone bridges

    Some more photos:

    Interested? Questions? Contact me at barnaby@waterpigs.co.uk for more information.

  3. Aaron Parecki: What!! This is amazing! Do the keys send midi messages? What else is acting as midi input?

    @aaronpk thanks! Drone and trompette (buzzing) sound are acoustic, the melody is just the synth. Magnets in the keys + hall effect sensors on a board underneath, a magnetic rotary encoder on the shaft controlling noteon/off and expression, and an arduino inside the keybox putting it all together and sending MIDI signal out. The whole thing is built into the instrument, which also works great acoustic or amplified. There are a lot of improvements to make, but I think this is a good start!

  4. Quinn's internet  👻: will think on this, thankshttps://twitter.com/teirdes/status/834892646430687232

    @quinnnorton I have observed this too on varying scales, call it the “pendulum effect”. Pushing a society/group/individual really quickly to one extreme of an axis seems to result in it “swinging” to the other extreme, and (in theory?) back and forth. GDR and aftermath is one good example of this. Usual disclaimer: not an expert/historian, someone else probably figured this out in much more detail than me already.

  5. New singing goal: be able to sing all of Moondog 2, which just blew my mind

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwBGtgoVPLs

    I couldn’t find the lyrics for all of the tracks collected together in one place, so here are as many as I can find or figure out.

    00:00
    Bells are ringing dinga linga linga linga ling-a linga linga linga ling
    dinga linga linga linga ling-a linga linga linga ling
    dig all the kids who carry bells, merry bells
    who are they?
    why they're the
    hippies

    01:21
    Voices of spring were in chorus
    each voice was singing a song
    I could not sing in that chorus until I wrote me a song
    I wrote my song and joined the throng (source)

    03:10
    What’s the most exciting thing about life?
    tell me or I’ll tell you
    come on come on
    I know you know what I know it’s in your eyes
    I’ll have to tell you, I can’t wait
    it’s L O V E it’s love
    and I’m in love; I’m so happy
    it’s L O V E it’s love
    I’m incoherent my dear
    oh happy happiness
    in love
    in love
    in love
    oh happy happiness, happiness
    Darling the answer is love (source)

    05:43
    All is loneliness before me
    loneliness before me
    loneliness

    07:12
    My tiny butterfly butters my bread
    my briny flutterby keeps me well fed
    why should I mutter?

    08:26
    Why spend a dark night with you?
    what a fearful price to pay
    other nights nights would but be
    lonely dark ages for me

    09:37
    Coffee beans make the finest coffee of all
    it’s time to take
    a coffee break
    to sit a while and savour
    the rarest coffee flavor
    of bean coffee
    I make with bottled spring water
    is my day (source)

    11:50
    Down is up and so up is down because the earth is round
    there is no such thing as up or down

    12:58
    Be a hobo and go with me
    from Hoboken to the sea

    14:08
    Remember, remember, remember, memeber
    to vote the way
    the way we say
    or else
    or else what
    I won’t

    16:03
    I love you
    for your lovely still small voice
    I will love your still small voice
    till my voice
    is still

    17:14
    Nero’s expedition up the Nile
    failed
    because the water hyacinth
    had blocked the river
    denying Nero’s vessels passage through
    the Sud of Nubia

    19:08
    No, the wheel was never invented.
    no, no, no, no
    your legs are spokes of a two legged wheel
    and your hips are knobbly axles
    the world was always on wheels

    20:28
    With my wealth I wish I had lived when great genius lived
    what I would not have done
    Fool, the writings of your dying beggar reveal that he is
    by far the greatest one

    22:05
    This student of life
    has enrolled
    as that student for life
    his Alma Mater
    is all the world
    with father time as mentor

    23:31
    Some trust all
    some trust some, ho
    some trust one
    I trust none, ho
    not even myself

    25:01
    Wine, woman and song are too, too much for me
    I am contented with the latter two
    for
    woman and my song are simply
    wine enough you see

    27:25
    Sadness was so mixed with gladness
    that she wept with joy
    she was so sad
    tears filled but enhanced the smile on her face
    she was so glad

    28:48
    Maybe, maybe, maybe someday
    I’ll be recognised for what I am
    before I’m dead and gone
    or if not before then after it all

    30:53
    Each today is yesterday’s tomorrow which is now
    now is all I have
    now is all I need
    now is all I want
    now

    32:32
    Imagine what it's like to have a long suffering
    night walker walking on you
    I’m standing there barefoot, facing the meadow
    oh, oh, something is crawling on my muddy foot
    what the, it's a wet worm
    I tell you I started walking, too
    I mean we parted company
    maybe we think it safe enough to say,
    we had quite enough of us that night

    34:51
    You, the vandal
    plunder the village as you will
    the earthworm will pillage you
    the vandal
    when you are under

    37:01
    Trees against the sky
    fields of plenty
    rivers to the sea
    this
    and more
    spreads before me

    38:22
    Behold the willow bows before me
    but not the oak I’m uprooting
    remarked the wind

    39:51
    Sparrows wake me in the morning in Gotham where I live
    except when I’m up to Tioga
    other birds wake me there
    so fair their singing

  6. Happy 2017! Here’s what Emilyn Stam (fb) and I got up to as the year changed:

    https://youtu.be/IgD1Juw6Yk0

    Emilyn Stam (5 string fiddle) and Barnaby Walters (hurdy gurdy) playing some tunes in the basement at Folk Marathon 2016 Tübingen. 2016 changed into 2017 half way through the third tune (in our timezone, at least).

    High Park Schottisch (John David Williams)
    Squat Waltz (Barnaby Walters)
    Kathryn’s Yellow Schottisch (Emilyn Stam)

  7. Not sure what to think of Heathrow Bus Station “Welcome” branding post-brexit… I find the toilet signage much more convincing

    CBS Toilet Void

    What horrors lie within? Cursed be those who poop into the toilet void

  8. Deb Chachra: Every time I re-read Terry Pratchett, I find new ways that he articulated or shaped my worldview. https://instagram.com/p/BNXJvcGB9tv/

    @debcha yes yes yes! books which keep on giving; with every re-read, they reflect or highlight something new depending on what’s happening in my life/what I’ve learned since reading them the last time. Rare works which are not only great in themselves, or a great mirror of the reader, but both simultaneously

  9. Barnaby Walters: typical Barnaby 01:00 insanity: implementing a patch browser and window manager in #puredata with weeeird semi-documented metaprogramming

    For those unfamiliar with , the equivalent in python would be creating a script which, in order to get user input, writes another python script containing a reference to the first, which, when run by the user, sends its output back to the first script. Which then launches another python process (based on the results of the first sub-script), and manages it’s status.

    It’s a programming paradigm which makes absolutely no sense in any other environment, but in puredata is surprisingly elegant — a pleasant side-effect of the programming environment and end-user environment being effectively the same.

    Btw, this is the first experimental step towards the most exciting project idea I’ve had in quite some time… watch this space!

  10. Aaron Parecki: What happened to the old one?

    @aaronpk classic case of uneducated, path-of-least-resistance response to time-pressurised tech problem :/ saw key was expired, wanted to fix it, didn’t know only public keys expire not private ones, no obvious public key renewal UI flow in GPGTools UI, so made a new keypair. I suppose I’m stuck with the new one now as I revoked the old one. It’s a pity, as I actually got a few people to sign my old key, not that that seems to have a practical use case…?