This turned out to be more of a “wall of text” then first intended but anyway, here we go.
You have been warned
After reading and listening to the Norns study where an external instrument is turned into sine waves along with multiple views of @carltesta wonderful app Sway for Norns more times then I care to recall It’s gotten me more and more interested in the idea of a Hybrid instrument.
Besides the modular, my main instrument is the classical guitar and these videos has gotten me very interested in trying to incorporate the instrument more into the world of modular.
Now this can obviously mean different things to different people so just to give you guys a brief idea about what I want to be able to accomplish (if at all possible).
For quite some time I’ve thought about the modular as my partner in a “duo” (think of it as two classical guitar players for example). I can influence the modular to a great extent with patching but I always use at least a little bit of random in every patch in order to provide a little bit of the same feel like when you are playing together with another human being, I can obviously give him/her guidelines, sheet music etc but a little bit of that unique players intuition/experience/expression will always play into the performance.
This has given me many wonderful moments but one thing that’s always been nagging me is that the only way for me to capture this is to record the modular and then compose/improvise/record my guitar part over the prerecorded tracks since I need both hands to play the guitar, I can’t play both at the same time. While this approach can and have yielded good results I find myself lacking the immediacy that capturing a true live performance can give.
This brings me to my present state of thought and what inspired the post.
What if I did not have to record them separately? Would there be a way to integrate the guitar to such an extent that not only do I have to react to the modular but the modular reacts to my playing?
In an ideal world, I’d love to be able to bring my guitar, a mic or two, along with my modular and perhaps a laptop if needed anywhere I’d like to play and have one cohesive setup, one unified instrument which can cover the entire range, not unlike a grand piano if you will. An instrument which can handle precomposed music (with careful planning) as well as an instrument I can “just sit down and play” if that makes sense.
I already have Mutable instruments Ears (been using it mostly as an amplifier for running various things though my filters/distortions etc in the rack) which is great for gate extraction and basic envelope following. I’ve done some rudimentary testing by just plugging one of my electric guitars into Ears and playing around with the envelope follower and gate extractor but I found quite quickly that this led to fairly predictable results which would most likely get pretty tiring for both player and audience after a while.
I figure will probably need some other kind of interface for sending manual gates to Rene in order to change states (sequences). For more precomposed music I could sequence this via Tempi though.
So besides envelope following and gate extraction, does anyone have any suggestions for how to extract more complex CV from my guitar playing? Perhaps combining both in interesting ways through patching? Any and all ideas are much appreciated!
Edit: Here’s my case as it stands today for reference. Currently a bit redundant with both Dixie and STO and would be willing to remove one/both if that could help achieving this goal.