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How do I make my own musical instrument?

goutham gumm

Mar 4, 2018
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I plan on making a compact version of a musical instrument called Mridangam (an Indian musical instrument). The original instrument is pretty huge and there are different variants of it to produce different kinds of sounds. Hence, I want to make a miniature version of it and also want to change the functionality of the instrument from one variant to another by using a switch. I want to be able to control the sound of the instrument based on the force exerted. I plan on using an stm32 microcontroller. Can anyone give me an idea of how i can go about implementing this project? How can I produce the different sounds of this instrument and how to go about doing the signal processing?
 

BobK

Jan 5, 2010
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Sampling is the best method to duplicate realistic sounds. You would need to sample all the sounds of the real instrument at various notes and various forces, and interpolate in between.

You best bet might be to buy a sampling synthesizer that allows you to sample new sounds yourself.

Bob
 

hevans1944

Hop - AC8NS
Jun 21, 2012
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I plan on making a compact version of a musical instrument called Mridangam (an Indian musical instrument). The original instrument is pretty huge and there are different variants of it to produce different kinds of sounds. Hence, I want to make a miniature version of it and also want to change the functionality of the instrument from one variant to another by using a switch. I want to be able to control the sound of the instrument based on the force exerted. I plan on using an stm32 microcontroller. Can anyone give me an idea of how i can go about implementing this project? How can I produce the different sounds of this instrument and how to go about doing the signal processing?
You should start by making friends with a search engine called Google. Try visiting some of the links on this result page which popped up when I used the search string "electronic percussion instruments." Oh, and by the way, you failed to mention that a Mridangam is basically a double-ended drum:

91A9N2H%2BR7L._SX522_.jpg


So that begs the question: what will an electronic version look like? How does one play the electronic version? It appears that the drum heads are slapped by the open palm, or maybe hit with a closed fist, in the original version. An electronic version will likely require two (or more) percussion pad sensors, which are available in many types. If this were my project, I would start there and select a sensor before diving into electronic synthesis circuits.

Are you even qualified to design the electronic version of a Mridangam? Perhaps an electronic version of an Australian didgeridoo would be a better place to start.

More information on the Mridangam, for those of us here on EP not familiar with the instrument or the culture from which it is derived, can be found on this Wikipedia link.
 
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Audioguru

Sep 24, 2016
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Most of us on this Western website forum know nothing about a Mridangam that is played in India. Wouldn't an electronic version be a project on a website forum in India?
 

tedstruk

Jan 7, 2012
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electronic instruments use a myriad of controls, but they all have the same problem...
everytime you throw a switch, or move a knob--it creates a blot of noise... I just posted a clarification on S:N in General Thread
signal to noise ratio...
The e-point is...
the highest signal is a reference(you go bots probably know this as "AO" pin) and the lowest signal is a reference(so too the "A1" pin, wow you are catching on...) the "S:N" ie. signal to noise ratio, must be maintained between the A1 and A0, otherwise there is no way to reproduce it.
Even in the most advanced circuitry, any noise, alters the signal and pretty soon all the noises sound the same as the signal.

Right now, All electronic sounds are considered noise.... but synthesized sounds use noise as a filter.
Try waveforms and transwaveforms if you are looking for synthesized sounds. Personally, I would use speciallized speakers, digital pots, and stay away from swipers
I would say if you succeed in building this in a small version, that you deserve all the kudos.
They sell pressure sensitive pads, triggers and such, and most of the drum sounds have been already mapped by MIDI equipment builders of the 80's check out the Alesis D4 drum trigger. It uses phone plugs(1/4" mono with ground) as sends for 12 different triggers including cymbals, highhats, bass drums, tomtoms and sounds quite similar if you don't have the actual instrument to compare with....
 

goutham gumm

Mar 4, 2018
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Okay. Thanks everyone for trying to help me out.I have done a bit of research about this topic and I thought I could use a lot of piezoelectric sensors to produce different notes of the instrument and interface it with a microcontroller. piezoelectric sensors produce voltage based on the force which you apply on it. I can use this voltage to control the volume of each note of the instrument. I have come across a protocol called MIDI. If any of you guys know anything about MIDI, may I ask you whether the MIDI synthesizer can be used to produce sounds of a mridangam ?
 

hevans1944

Hop - AC8NS
Jun 21, 2012
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I have come across a protocol called MIDI. If any of you guys know anything about MIDI, may I ask you whether the MIDI synthesizer can be used to produce sounds of a mridangam ?
MIDI = Musical Instrument Digital Interface
This is a serial communications protocol and connector definition specification that is typically used by a keyboard to control a synthesizer. There are other interface devices that could also be interfaced to MIDI, such as drum pads, but the MIDI interface does not produce any sounds, it merely conveys information related to how notes are sounded. It is the responsibility of the synthesizer to act upon that information to actually produce (synthesize) the sound.

You would have to do a LOT of research to find an analog or a digital synthesizer that could accurately reproduce the sounds of a mridangam, and there is no guarantee of success. OTOH, if you analyze the sounds produced by a real mridangam played by an experienced player, perhaps you can build a synthesizer to accurately duplicate those sounds and use a MIDI interface to a drum pad to play them. Your idea of using piezo sensors to measure how the drum pad is activated is a first step to creating a MIDI interface for your device.

Personally, unless you have an overwhelming reason for making your own drum pad, I would just purchase one and then look for a commercial synthesizer that can accept samples and reproduce them. Start your search at this Google results page.
 

kellys_eye

Jun 25, 2010
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Got to admire the OP's determination here. The Mridangam is obviously one of the true sounds of Indian music and, as such, would be a popular (and profitable!) if it could be successfully synthesized.

It's obviously possible to do it via sampling but getting it done in a form that can be interfaced with is extremely difficult as the tones produced have as much to do with pressure on the drum skins as the speed at which they are hit.

e-drums are the place to start as you'd get the right pressure sensors and control signals.

If you ever get anywhere close to building one you HAVE to come back and show us the results!
 

goutham gumm

Mar 4, 2018
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