Hackers in Residence - The ElectricBone
Before I begin, I'd like to thank SparkFun for having me here and all the nice people that made this Hacker-in-Residence such a great experience. In particular, I'd like to thank Toni Klopfenstein for being there all the time and getting everything I needed for the project. Also, many thanks to Byron Jacquot for all the advice, help and "crash course" on PureData; to Shawn Hymel for introducing me to the RaspberryPi; to Jiffer Harriman (CU) for helping me with PD logic; and of course to Evan Spitler, mech shop wizard, for patiently helping me build my crazy trombone.
My idea for this project was to use electronics to create a musical instrument that someone could play like a trombone but would produce synthetic sounds. Like any other brass instruments, a trombone is a long open pipe that is played by buzzing one's lips inside it, through a mouthpiece. The instrument then resonates in response, amplifying and modifying the sound. The length of the pipe determines the pitches that can be produced. These are basically harmonic partials starting from a fundamental frequency for each pipe length. What makes the trombone unique among the other brass instruments is that it uses a slide to change the length of the pipe and reach all possible notes. Thus, in order to implement my "trombone interface", I needed to keep track of two things: lip vibration and slide movement.
Covered in this Tutorial
In this tutorial we will go over:
- What electronic hardware worked best for this application
- How to replicate a trombone with mechanical parts
- How to connect everything together with software and embedded firmware
- How to put everything together in one complete package
If you plan on following along at home, make sure you are familiar with the following concepts before continuing.