Not the most notable, but possibly my favourite #CityNatureChallenge 2022 sighting: a dancing caterpillar!
Sadly, this isn’t an extremely rare musical species which will revolutionise animal rhythmic entrainment research! It’s a defensive behaviour triggered in this case by the fly which I was actually trying to photograph.
Easily one of the worst front-end web failure modes I’ve ever seen, apparently caused by Ghostery blocking access to gapi, which is completely unnecessary for reading the article
Some more hamster activity today! Anyone have any idea what the behaviour at 0:57 is? Looks like it’s trying to flatten grass, but I imagine it’d rather rest in its hole than on the surface.
Update: based on discussion in this thread, looks like it’s probably scent-marking after a territorial dispute with another male.
New video: Ai Wo Mitsuketa Basho (愛を見つけた場所) by Oku Hanako and Akito Matsuda. I adapted the brass duet arrangement from Sound! Euphonium for hurdy gurdy, and played both parts on gurdy #10 before shipping it to its new owner.
Nobody’s likely to make an anime about hurdy gurdy players any time soon, so this will have to do for the moment.
Happy 237th Halibut Day, everyone!
Watching the colours mix and flow is almost as beautiful as the painting itself
New video: How to build a Chien (hurdy gurdy buzzing bridge)
The article I wrote a few years ago is now available for your viewing pleasure.
A quick video to demonstrate the 8th hurdy gurdy I built, which was back in the workshop for a tune-up before heading off to its new owner. I was happy with the sound when it was built, and two years later it’s developed very nicely. The video doesn’t really do it justice, but gives a fair impression.
As I can’t currently commit to building a new series of gurdies due to my living situation, I’ve been keeping myself busy developing the MIDI system for my instruments, to develop new extended, augmented playing techniques.
This video is the first demonstration of some hybrid electronic-acoustic experiments using the prototype MIDI system installed on my hurdy gurdy.
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
This one is a beautiful polonaise found in the Wittenberger Apothekenhandschrift, a hand written dance manuscript found in the Giftschrank (poisonous substance cabinet) in an old pharmacy in Wittenberge, Germany.
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).
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:
Both instruments are now sold, but I may be available for new builds over the next year, Contact me at email@example.com if you’re interested.