Using a simple piezo disc and a sheet of metal you can produce your own reverb unit.
As detailed in Nick Collins book ‘Handmade Electronic Music – The Art of Hardware Hacking’ here is my first attempt at building a simple synthesis circuit.
The materials I used were:
Plastic prototyping board
1 CMOS Hex Schmitt Trigger Integrated Circuit
2 x 470nK capacitors
1 x 100k resistor
2 x 536k resistors
2 x 100k Ohm potentiometers
1 x 1M Ohm Potentiometer
1 x 77k – 340k LDR
Solidcore hook up wire
3.5mm female mono headphone jack
9 volt battery.
Circuit bending and Hardware hacking – When I saw this as a module choice for year 2 of my Creative Music Technology degree I knew immediately that it would be my 1st choice. It sounds fun and let me tell you … it is!! A lot of fun!!
So the general idea is that you go and buy an electronic, sound generating toy (battery powered only!) and then rewire the circuit board, adding switches, body contacts, potentiometers, buttons etc. to change the way it sounds.
I managed to find a Texas Instruments ‘Speak and Spell’ going cheap on ebay and having had one myself as a kid I thought it would be an ideal choice (also I know that this toy offers many opportunities to mess with the sound.) Reed Ghazala (the father of circuit bending) has hacked many of these and created instruments he calls ‘Incantors’.
Here’s a picture of the hacked ‘Speak and Spell’
And here’s some of the noises it creates!
Read on for a description of how I did it, including photos should you want to do it yourself.
The website http://processing.org/ describes it as such: ‘Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to create images, animations, and interactions.’
Although I did not attend the lecture in which this task was undertaken, I did see Julio briefly to see what the task entailed. After downloading the files and importing them into Logic I set about trying to reproduce the introduction section of the Batman theme. Playing the original through the Right speaker (as recommended by Sammy Vere, Sol Bateman and other students) and listening to my own attempts alongside this through the Left speaker helped in completing this exercise.
By listening to and trying to replicate the theme I determined that the main motif for the theme is a simple 5 note melody playing B, C#, D, G, F#, indicating to me a scale of B Minor. Working through the first 40 seconds I managed to produce the following audio.
First lecture back at uni after christmas and new year and i’m really quite excited about this module. In Music in Context last semester we looked into music and film – one of the task being to produce a soundtrack to a short piece of film of our choosing (I choose a section from David Attenboroughs ‘Creatures of the Deep’). I really enjoyed the task and it seems that this module will greatly expand on this area of music, starting next week looking into composers such as Danny Elfman (Beetlejuice, Batman, Men in Black amongst many others) and John Williams (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Minority Report and almost all of Steven Spielberg’s films). Also the module is set to look into creating music for computer games, an area I am am extremely interested in. Being an avid gamer I find that the music is just as integral to the enjoyment of the game as the graphics and gameplay. Soundtracks from games such as ‘Splinter Cell – Chaos Theory’ (by Amon Tobin and also released as an album ) and the ‘Ratchet and Clank’ series (by David Bergeaud) have really impressed me and I think that writing game music is a direction I would very much like to take.
So work to do this week involves watching ‘Minority Report’ and ‘Batman’ then doing some research into Danny Elfman and John Williams. I’ll probably be playing some games too (but can get away with saying that i’m doing research of game music!!!!)
Here’s some more of my latest projects using the glitch plugins that I have recently acquired (and blogged about previously). Sit back, have a listen and I hope you enjoy.
(Kudos to anyone who can descramble the names. Some of the titles of tracks I have recently uploaded are anagrams. The tracks are “Arch Plight”, “Cith Spell”, “Tech Cult Vigil” and Polarity Bib” I’ve been writing them with the album title “Ax Clod Twitch Frig” in mind (also an anagram)