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Re: [TCML] tcs as musical instruments...

Jim, all

I almost choked on my porridge this morning as I read this mail of yours,
and my first thought was: "Where have you been these last 8 years?"

The idea of using a DRSSTC as a musical instrument was originally mine,
as you ought to know, and I presented it to Steve Conner at breakfast at
the Derby Teslathon back in 1994. He liked the idea, and modified a
Roland synth. so that it would act as a combined MIDI interpreter and TC
controller for all 6 channels.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9Jjsv2zr-c [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9Jjsv2zr-c]
I went on to create 6 identical DRSSTC's and the rest is history.

This was a time where both Daniel MCauley and Stephen Ward went public
with comments like "We don't think there will be any interest in the
harsh sound from a pulsed TC"

Meanwhile, the Bach video was recorded, with a cheap snapshot digital
camera, so although the microphones clipped, and the echo in the
industrial hall was total, the sound was awesome.
Here you have _real_ 6 note polyphony, 1995 style, never done before or,
for that matter, by anyone after:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOXygoQkXsQ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOXygoQkXsQ]

You brushed up on the lack of volume at low frequencies, here is Thumper
@68Hz. the key to volume lies in input voltage, a parameter it should not
be too hard to controll.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-FAdM_5E-s [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-FAdM_5E-s]

Different voices are easy to produce, just sit down with the synth and
press the different instruments, some good some awfull, I particularly
like the stuff from 0:58 to 1:19 and forward
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vrtu4uolTVc [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vrtu4uolTVc]

Simple pulse trains can produce interesting sounds like this V-Twin
revving up:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0scx1WD3sU [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0scx1WD3sU]

And the sound of a MIDI saxophone is also interesting:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANiKSPtwTVc [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANiKSPtwTVc]

So you see, pulse trains, envelope curves controlling the ON-Time and
input voltage controll for macro volume changes, It's all been done, and
is just waiting for some young whizzkid to perfect.

Cheers, Finn Hammer still lurkin'

----- Original meddelelse -----

> Fra: Jim Lux <jimlux@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Til: Tesla Coil Mailing List <tesla@xxxxxxxxxx>
> Dato: Lør, 31. mar 2012 03:47
> Emne: [TCML] tcs as musical instruments...
> As I was driving to my daughter's rehearsal this afternoon, I thought
> about Bart's videos (and all the other musical TCs).. and realized
> that
> we should think about what kind of instrument a TC is, and my best
> guess
> is that it's sort of like an organ that can play only one note at a
> time.
> There's not much in the way of dynamics. You have to have enough
> "bang"
> to get a breakout, and the sound from a small spark is not a lot
> different from a big spark. So it's like a pipe organ in that way.
> You
> get big changes in volumes by adding ranks of pipes.
> Can it do polyphony.. I think so, in a limited way. You're basically
> generating a pulse stream. And I could logically "OR" two pulse
> streams, one at "C" and one at "E" for instance, and I should hear
> two
> notes. Easy to test with some .wav files
> How many octaves range does it have.. you can go pretty low, but the
> loudness will drop off. The bang size is roughly constant, so the
> acoustic power as the rep-rate goes down goes down with frequency,
> and
> Weber-Fechner law means that lower frequencies "sound" less loud for
> the
> same power. What's the top frequency, maybe a couple octaves above
> middle C?
> Can we make a TC put out a sound that's different than the sort of
> buzz
> we normally get. Perhaps, if you send closely spaced double pulses?
> What does something that is, say, bang, 1 ms, bang, 9 ms, bang, 1ms,
> bang,... sound like.. Yes, about 100Hz, but there'll be some
> interesting
> harmonic structure that would sound different. Then there's all the
> old
> techniques from early synthesizers: Two pulse trains at the same
> frequency, one with a bit of FM on it (a sort of vibrato/tremolo
> effect)
> But here's the intriguing thing.. I've always wanted to build a setup
> with multiple TCs that can do real polyphony. Originally, I had ideas
> of multiple rotary spark gaps a'la a Hammond organ and tone wheels
> (someone actually did this at the turn of the 20th century, I have
> found).
> And, because I'm a spark gap kind of guy, I started building a
> multiple
> triggered gap.
> but these days, the DRSSTC is SO much more controllable.
> If you could control the RF phase (which I would imagine you could,
> with
> clever timing), you could phase multiple coils so that sparks would
> preferentially strike between toploads.
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