I am currently doing a university project building a MIDI wind controller for harmonica players, similar concept to that the of the yamaha wx5. i am just doing some primary research as to find out from harmonica players if they would ever be interested in such a product. benefits of this would include; ability to play in any key, ability to assign any hole to any note, easy amplification, variety of tones/fx, access to other sounds e.g. you could play a hammond organ solo on a harmonica.
MIDI or electric instruments can often be unnatural to play and require the user to adapt their playing styles. one of the most difficult aspects of this project is replicating the acoustics of note bending. this seems almost impossible to acheive without compromising dyamic control.
would the idea of a pitch control button work for anyone. for example the harder you press, the further the pitch will bend. or would natural pitch bending prioritise
a final note; would the benefits described in the first paragraph outweigh the ability to pitch bend naturally.
Are you familiar with Walt miller's millioniser? and turbodog's experiments with electric harp? All interesting stuff. I for one would love a midi controller that worked just like a harp - from what I've read about it (never played one) it is a step in the right direction, but still not exactly like a harp.
This is a great idea! It needs to bypass the reed need as that is where all the fatigue, the gunk, and the breakage takes place. There will probably be some who will never accept it as a viable alternative, as there are those who will never accept an electric guitar, mandolin, violin, etc. as a pure instrument the same as the acoustic. You bet! Who wouldn't want one item that could do it all with just a dial or setting. Now, if you can keep the cost down to the original item, because that's one of the biggest draws to the instrument and its marketablility...
Sounds like a great idea to me. I like the idea of being able to program any set of notes you want at any given time. So, I could change key at the press of a button, or as you suggest, play the harp for one verse while filling with a hammond organ for the chorus. But could I still bend the notes by adjusting my ombuchure?? I suppose you would need to get used to how the electronic wind device worked and played the electronic note. Hmmmmm! Could you have both, reed and electronic wind device.
Actually, an electronic harmonica / midi controller already exists. It's currently in development. The first proof of concept was completed last year, and a prototype is being played. It was conceived by Wayne Read, and I've been developing it for him. You can see it at www.xharp.com
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