It is currently Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:09 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 31 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 
 Post subject: Foot operated drone
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:06 pm 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:21 pm
Posts: 11800
Location: Unimportant island off the great mainland of Europe
I'm looking for something that I suspect might not exist, even though it seems to me as if it would be useful. I want to be able to operate a series of drones, that is, with a choice of notes, although it doesn't have to be a particularly wide choice, with my feet, so that I can have them playing while I'm playing either flute or fiddle. I'm looking for this for performance purposes, so it would have to work reasonably well.

I though that maybe there might be some sort of harmonium, with a pedal for the air and a sort of organ foot keyboard for the notes. Is such a thing available? does anyone know?

By the way, I'm not stuck on the idea of this thing, whatever it is, being a harmonium - anything that could produce drone notes through being operated by the feet would do, although I would prefer if it was not electronic.

_________________
"Only connect!"

https://youtu.be/ezbWVysJAOY
https://tapm.bandcamp.com/


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foot operated drone
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:18 pm 
Offline
Moderatorer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 33462
Location: Minneapolis
Despite your preference that it not be electronic, I think a bass pedal board might still be your best bet for simplicity, although I get why you wouldn't want to go there. On the opposite end, you could build a busy, fantastical Steampunk contraption, complete with ornate brasswork, a big jolly red bellows, and mice in running wheels. Transport might be an issue, though...

_________________
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foot operated drone
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:39 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:06 pm
Posts: 1394
Location: just outside Xanadu
You might contact The Shruti Box Co. https://www.shrutibox.co.uk/
See if they might be able to accommodate you.

Bob

_________________
Not everything you can count, counts. And not everything that counts, can be counted

The Expert's Mind has few possibilities.
The Beginner's mind has endless possibilities.
Shunryu Suzuki, Roshi


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foot operated drone
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:52 pm 
Offline
Moderatorer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 33462
Location: Minneapolis
an seanduine wrote:
You might contact The Shruti Box Co. https://www.shrutibox.co.uk/
See if they might be able to accommodate you.

Actually, that sounds like a very good idea. They might have to build something totally new, but if anyone could be up to it, it would probably be them.

_________________
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foot operated drone
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:21 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:12 pm
Posts: 82
Location: Pacific Northwest USA
A shruti box with a foot pedal is the first thing I thought of. With just one, you'd have to think of it as a piper's drone, staying within just a couple of keys/modes for tunes. I don't know if there are multi-note versions of this kind of thing, but if there are, I'm sure we'll hear about it shortly.

A midi pedal (or full organ-type midi pedals) hooked up to a synth/sampler would give you far more flexibility. But now you're dragging around a lot of gear, plus a need for a PA or small "acoustic" amp. The shruti drone is an attractive idea, because you're still remaining in the realm of acoustic instruments.

A cautionary note about this kind of thing:

At one point when I was playing in a duo on mandolin with a guitar player, I briefly fooled around with foot percussion with a "Porchboard Bass" plugged into the PA. This gadget is a wooden bar with a pickup, and EQ'd to take out all but the low thump. We were looking for something to add a little interest in the set, without having to hire another player in the group (cheapskates, us!). I've seen a few people use this kind of thing. One time was at the tail end set of a Solas performance, where the band was rocking and it added a bit of low-end "oomph" to the sound. In this case, I think it was one of the electronic floor pedals you can get that do something similar.

The main problem I ran into, is that once you introduce this kind of effect, the audience gets used to it and expects it on all your remaining material. It's not easy to just climb back off it and stop, without it sounding like a band member walked offstage. Probably why it was only used at the last set or two of that Solas concert. This is one reason I stopped using the amplified foot tap thingie -- it was too hard to integrate in our sets without making it a constant presence, and it just didn't work for everything.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foot operated drone
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:39 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:43 pm
Posts: 15
Location: Oakland, California
Interesting idea, I wish you luck.
A bit of googling and you can find a craftsperson who can make your dream a reality.
I just googled "homemade wooden organ" and then clicked this picture of a homemade foot powered keyboard.
It's not what you're looking for, but I found it inspiring for this type of endeavor.

https://img.wonderhowto.com/img/66/75/6 ... .w1456.jpg
Here's the article:
https://woodworking.wonderhowto.com/news/creator-spotlight-matthias-wandel-prolific-woodworking-machinist-0126797/

Video of the thing in action:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... 5baNcgIA8o


You might simply hook up a melodica with a foot bellows (adapted from uillean pipes).
Glue tabs onto the melodica keys to enlarge them, and attach a "pointer" to my shoe, to press the keys with.

Or hack into an accordion and remove the bellows, and hook the foot pump up to the intake hole of the accordion, and adapt the keyboard as above.

I've also seen a device attach to a flute called a "cheater", which blows air over the embouchure, so a fully keyed flute, like a boehm, could be modified to be operated by the feet, and powered by a bellows. This would give you a flute sound, rather than a reed, and allow you to play the flute with your foot. Hmm...


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foot operated drone
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:41 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 4:03 pm
Posts: 31
I have the low G shrutibox that was linked above and it is awesome. I have the foot pedal attachment and use it with whistles, mandolin, guitar, when I'm singing - it works with many things. No so easy if you intend to change noted while playing - that's only if you are using it hand held. It has a great sound.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foot operated drone
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:55 pm 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:21 pm
Posts: 11800
Location: Unimportant island off the great mainland of Europe
an seanduine wrote:
You might contact The Shruti Box Co. https://www.shrutibox.co.uk/
See if they might be able to accommodate you.

Bob

Don't know why I didn't think of these people. I could even go and see them. They're quite a long drive away from me - probably 5 or 6 hours - but might be worth it.

BlueSalmon wrote:
You might simply hook up a melodica with a foot bellows (adapted from uillean pipes). Glue tabs onto the melodica keys to enlarge them, and attach a "pointer" to my shoe, to press the keys with.

I like this idea too.

Conical bore wrote:
The main problem I ran into, is that once you introduce this kind of effect, the audience gets used to it and expects it on all your remaining material.

Very useful cautionary note. I will continue to muse on this. I think we'd be OK, because the circumstances are that I'd be playing with a piper, who sometimes has his drones off and sometimes on. The point about getting the foot powered drone is to be able to get a drone one notes other than D.

I think overall the shruti box seems like a very good idea. I'm going to give them a call.

Any other ideas welcome. I really want to go ahead with this. Now ... I wonder if I could combine this with one of my other long term fascination - I wonder if one could rig up a theremin to do this (I know that goes against my rule of no electronic instruments, but I'm not totally rigid on this point.)

_________________
"Only connect!"

https://youtu.be/ezbWVysJAOY
https://tapm.bandcamp.com/


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foot operated drone
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 12:24 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 3832
Location: Los Angeles
Grey Larsen has used a Shruti Box (or is it a harmonium?) in his flute concerts for ages. Sets a weighted bar on the note(s) to be droned.

Here's a video of Billy Miller:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VduVuATcAm8

_________________
International Traditional Music Society, Inc.
A non-profit 501c3 charity/educational public benefit corporation
Wooden Flute Obsession CDs (3 volumes, 6 discs, 7 hours, 120 players/tracks)
http://www.worldtrad.org


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foot operated drone
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:02 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:23 am
Posts: 325
Location: Europe and Japan
I've been on too many tech sites lately. When I started reading I thought you wanted to operate some remote controlled flying 'copters with your feet while playing.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foot operated drone
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:13 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:31 am
Posts: 4367
Location: the Back of Beyond
My first thought was either a shruti box or a Foot Bass. Foot basses were popular at one time with accordion players and during the seventies I used to see them in fleemarkets occasionally, at a price I couldn't afford at the time (although looking back it wasn't very high).

I have seen electric foot bass/keyboard like contraptions as well, again during the seventies I saw Richard and Linda Thompson using one, very effectively too.

There are other electronic options as well, I have, for example, seen Andy Irvine use pedals that produce a hum to fill out his sound when playing solo.

_________________
My brain hurts



Image


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foot operated drone
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:15 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:12 pm
Posts: 82
Location: Pacific Northwest USA
Mr.Gumby wrote:
There are other electronic options as well, I have, for example, seen Andy Irvine use pedals that produce a hum to fill out his sound when playing solo.

Just did a quick search and yeah, it looks like EDM and "ambient guitar" styles have made a market for drone pedals. I had no idea this stuff was out there. It's been a long time since I paid attention to electric guitar FX.

Here's one example, the "Electro Faustus Drone Thing." Skip ahead to 5:00 to start hearing what it does: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnuNWD2uevQ

Among several drone pedals I skimmed through on a quick search, that sounded the most like a set of pipe drones on some of the less extreme settings. It's an independent sound source, not an inline effect that requires an instrument input. Too fussy to adjust during a performance, but you could get two or three pedals and tune each one to a different fundamental pitch for playing in different keys/modes. Then run 'em through a switch box, put it all on a pedal board and you're set.

Since you're playing with a piper, another cheap, dirt-simple idea would be to record the drone from your piper, then run it through an audio editor to change the pitch. Output audio files at the pitches you want, then play that as a loop through the PA.

Me, I'd still go for a shruti box, for the "authentic acoustic" vibe and looks. Something else I discovered back when I was fooling around with a looper, was that an audience likes to see what's producing the sounds. "Hidden" effects like loops or pre-recorded sounds don't go over as well as when the audience sees you working an instrument to produce the sounds. With a shruti box, they can see what's happening.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foot operated drone
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:25 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 3832
Location: Los Angeles
A non-foot operated option would be to use one of Michael Eskin's phone apps, which use real recorded pipes.

_________________
International Traditional Music Society, Inc.
A non-profit 501c3 charity/educational public benefit corporation
Wooden Flute Obsession CDs (3 volumes, 6 discs, 7 hours, 120 players/tracks)
http://www.worldtrad.org


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foot operated drone
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:54 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:59 pm
Posts: 821
Location: Southwestern Ontario
Conical bore wrote:
Something else I discovered back when I was fooling around with a looper, was that an audience likes to see what's producing the sounds. "Hidden" effects like loops or pre-recorded sounds don't go over as well as when the audience sees you working an instrument to produce the sounds. With a shruti box, they can see what's happening.
Interesting point. I'd agree with that. At a pop concert many years ago, my companion was convinced the audible string accompaniment was synthesized, until the back curtain rose to reveal a full chamber orchestra.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foot operated drone
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:14 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:43 pm
Posts: 15
Location: Oakland, California
I thought a shruti couldn't be "played" like a harmonium, i.e. you have to adjust the key by moving a small lever, rather than pressing keys?

A harmonium might be easier to operate, if you could somehow enlarge the key surface. An idea for how to do this could come from looking at african marimbas, which have a large tab for a relatively small key.

On the other hand, a similar idea might be used to enlarge the levers on the shruti. I don't know which would be easier, but my impression of shruti was much less easy to change notes. (swivelling plates, not keys)


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 31 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.119s | 11 Queries | GZIP : On ]
(dh)