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The T-Board keyboard. And my first PCB! (Designed with OsmondPCB.)

A unique Stylophone-type keyboard that I designed for my electronic musical adventures.

Delta Prime

Jul 29, 2020
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Why do you call it a T board (just kidding) is it possible for a demonstration? In no way do I mean to put you on the spot. I couldn't carry a tune to save my life. It does look slick. congratulations!
 

hevans1944

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@Explorer: Jacki, I have been reading your other posts here on Maker Pro about your efforts to build a bagpipe synthesizer. Great documentation on MediaFire!

Have you considered using a commercial keyboard that has a MIDI (Musical Instrument Data Interface) serial data port that you interface to your bagpipe synth electronics? Or, how about instrumenting a REAL bagpipe, removing the reeds that produce the unique bagpipe chanter and drone sounds, and replacing the melody-producing mechanism (the chanter) with a sensor-instrumented stick, controlled by one or more fingers covering what would normally be fingering holes on the real chanter. You would still "play" this modified bagpipe by inflating the bag and fingering the "chanter," but the sound would now be electronically synthesized. Pressure sensors in the drone pipes would allow you to control how they sound according to how and where you squeeze the bagpipe.

This doesn't have to be an exclusive-or proposition: you can play the modified bagpipe with either the instrumented "chanter" or with the MIDI keyboard or both.

You might want to add a small low-pressure air pump (foot operated?) to inflate the bag on demand. Such a mod would of course prevent you from participating in a bagpipe marching band, but so would a keyboard and associated musical note-synthesis electronics... or maybe not. I see huge tubas and drums being carried by individuals in marching bands, with or without bagpipes, so miniaturization is definitely one possibility.

I mention an external air pump because I read that playing a bagpipe "professionally" requires sustained blowing, up to several minutes, to keep the bag properly inflated. This seriously limits the ability of people with breathing difficulties, such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), from playing a real bagpipe.
 
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Delta Prime

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This seriously limits the ability of people with breathing difficulties, such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), from playing a real bagpipe.
Well at least something's are able to breathe under that kilt!
 

hevans1944

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Well at least something's are able to breathe under that kilt!
I don't do marching bands at my age, so the kilt doesn't apply. Play naked. It's a heck of lot more fun!
Actually, I never did march in a band or learn to play any musical instrument except for a rubber comb with waxed paper wrapped around it. You sort of bite down on the waxed paper and hum into said contraption if you cannot afford to buy a Jew's Harp, but I would consider the resulting sound to only superficially resemble music. The only music I can play well is something someone else has recorded for my listening pleasure... like Juice Newton singing "Queen of Hearts" or the Animals singing "House of the Rising Sun" or a military band playing "National Emblem March." That kind of stuff played REALLY LOUD is my way of playing music.
 
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Delta Prime

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I don't think I understand!
You can play the Jewish harp underneath your kilt?
 

Explorer

Mar 28, 2014
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@Explorer: Jacki, I have been reading your other posts here on Maker Pro about your efforts to build a bagpipe synthesizer. Great documentation on MediaFire!

Have you considered using a commercial keyboard that has a MIDI (Musical Instrument Data Interface) serial data port that you interface to your bagpipe synth electronics? Or, how about instrumenting a REAL bagpipe, removing the reeds that produce the unique bagpipe chanter and drone sounds, and replacing the melody-producing mechanism (the chanter) with a sensor-instrumented stick, controlled by one or more fingers covering what would normally be fingering holes on the real chanter. You would still "play" this modified bagpipe by inflating the bag and fingering the "chanter," but the sound would now be electronically synthesized. Pressure sensors in the drone pipes would allow you to control how they sound according to how and where you squeeze the bagpipe. ...
—-
No, I haven’t considered any of that stuff. I’m working with electronics because I don’t want to blow into anything. And Jeez! I have trouble with this site. I didn’t actually start this thread and have received no emails about the conversation here. Hevans1944, I thought I just replied to your nice post about your own musical adventures and your encouragement to me, elsewhere, but when I go back to that page, I don’t see the reply. If you do get that reply, apologies, I hadn’t seen this page and didn’t have any idea that you’ve been following me closely. And Delta Prime, you’re not the ‘troll’ I ran into on Reddit, are you, who got pissed at me when I didn’t understand your joke about AI? Who finally admitted, after a long conversation: “Yeah, you’re probably right, I am a troll.” ;)

Re: a demonstration: My electronics have only changed twice. So, this is just a different input device for my second ‘bagpipe’ device, for which there are 2 audio clips on my mediafire page (in a folder, I think). And those were played on a keyboard I constructed that was also place Stylophone-like with contact devices. The T-Board is just much easier to play, all the keys being on one level and sharps & flats accessible in 2 places.

Again, apologies, apologies, if I’m not playing ball well. This site is labyrinthine to me, and it doesn’t work well with my old not-up-to-date iPad. And to be honest, if I don’t get an email alert or message, I’m unlikely to check in.


 

Explorer

Mar 28, 2014
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That might be a long time coming, Bidrohini. I’ve been attending to other things lately. Like crawling around on my belly under a front deck, trying to make repairs. If I can figure out a way to prop up my iPad to take in the keyboard, be able to hit the button on the screen, and capture good audio at the same time, perhaps. But, it sounds like a Rube Goldberg machine to me!
 

Explorer

Mar 28, 2014
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BTW, sorry about the typo above. That should’ve been “that was also played Stylophone-like with contact devices.”
 

hevans1944

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Jun 21, 2012
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@Explorer: This website has three ways to create and respond to threads. If you select a discussion thread in one of the forums, that is the usual way. You may also be invited to participate in a (private) conversation, or you can create one yourself. The third way is to create a project, which will have three pages of information: OVERVIEW, GALLERY, and DISCUSSION. This particular thread is an example of the DISCUSSION thread for The T-Board keyboard. And my first PCB! (Designed with OsmondPCB.) Project.

Participating in a conversation means that only the conversation participants (and moderators of course) can see each other's posts. Be careful in what you post in conversations. This is the Internet; there is NO PRIVACY without encryption, and I doubt the owners of Maker Pro would even allow encrypted messages to be posted. How could they "moderate" what they could not read without decrypting?
 

Explorer

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Alright, @bidrohini & @Delta Prime, I’ve done my best on a video. 14MB file—larger than I would’ve liked—on my mediafire page: https://www.mediafire.com/folder/q4ave4tjk87ns/Bagpipe_Project

It’s labeled T-Board.mov. I’m like a toddler, trying to figure this stuff out. I should’ve had the video camera on my iPad on a lower capture setting. Mediafire saw it as a 117MB file originally, before I managed to run it through my email program, where it was labeled as 6.5MB, but then mediafire saw it and uploaded it as 14MB. I don’t know how, why. The visual quality has ended up degraded. (I’m also working with a dodgy Wifi connection and a limited data plan.)

I had to build a bracket this morning, to hold my iPad on a tripod. I messed up, playing a verse of “Summertime” midway through. But, I don’t want to spend more time on it.

If someone is able to let me know if they’re able to download it and play it, I would appreciate it. THANKS!!!

And, a reminder, I have a few extra boards I’d be happy to sell. If anyone would like one, let me know; we can talk about price.
 

Explorer

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Was there something you should’ve unmuted, on your device? My nephew replied with “Bravo!” I’m thinking he must’ve heard my poor playing. But, I have another friend (who’s more of a Luddite than I am) who tells me he has not been able to access anything on my mediafire page. I’ll download it myself...
 

Explorer

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It downloaded fine for me. The only thing that I lost, in the process of getting it uploaded to my MF page, was visual quality. It’s not as sharp as the original. But, that should make no difference to the people who asked to see it being played.
 

hevans1944

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Jun 21, 2012
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Was there something you should’ve unmuted, on your device?
Hmmm. It might have been that I didn't turn on my JBL Charge 4 external speakers. I just now tried playing the video again and the sound is there as long as I have the JBL speakers powered up. My bad. The video quality is also good. Fourteen megabytes is a small file these days, but I understand most people still do not have access to broadband Internet.

That's a pretty spiffy T-Board you have there, but the music it produces doesn't sound much like a bagpipe... here is what I was listening to on the external speakers. I didn't realize that the JBL "automagically" turned itself off after awhile with no audio input!

Actually, my wife purchased two JBL speakers when we upgraded our iPhones a few years ago. The Charge 4 model she gave to me, but she allows me to use her JBL Xtreme 2, which is about twice the size of the JBL Charge 4. It requires a much larger power supply to charge its internal battery.

We have acquired (free!) a used desk from a couple across the street who moved away recently. That means I had to move my laptop from my wife's living room desk to this "new" desk, now in the master bedroom. I still have my 3 GHz Intel Core i7-based desktop PC in my office, and it has a modest set of stereo speakers and a small Radio Shack audio amplifier to drive them. The office rig is LOUD but the JBL speakers are LOUDER.

Your project has revived my interest in music, although there is still no evidence that I have any talent for actually making music that anyone wants to listen to. I have a subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited that gives me access to almost anything musical that has been recorded. I can also download the music clips for offline listening, so lately I've been listening to Sousa marches, played mainly by the US Marine Corps band, but also lots of bagpipes. My favorite bagpipe clip is the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards rendition of Amazing Grace. It starts out "small" and builds to a deep crescendo with a hint of pipe-organ (but actually bagpipes) near the end. You can also find a lot of music on YouTube.

I didn't notice it before, but your T-board is only capable of a single note at a time! If you ever get the bagpipe sound perfected, you will need to be able to play multiple notes simultaneously. Still, yours is a remarkable accomplishment. Thanks for posting here!
 
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Delta Prime

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I’ve done my best on a video
Outstanding thank you I could never attempt that. I shall now live vicariously through you...thanks again. :DNow if I can just get that other gentleman to play the Jewish harp. :p
 

Delta Prime

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And Delta Prime, you’re not the ‘troll’ I ran into on Reddit, are you, who got pissed at me when I didn’t understand your joke about AI? Who finally admitted, after a long conversation: “Yeah, you’re probably right, I am a troll.” ;)
Just call me Billy goat gruff, you have to pay toll to the troll!
Never been on Reddit!
Looky here I have my moments. I am what you call gifted. For my age.

Screenshot_20230605_120734.jpg
 

Delta Prime

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Also... I take no offense by you thinking I am a troll, I am shameless and if you'd like to dig up my past,I would be the first to hand you a shovel.
;)
 

Explorer

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Sorry, Delta Prime!

And, Hevans1944, you are correct, the 2nd device doesn’t sound very bagpipey. I revisited my first device recently and was pleasantly surprised by it. (I changed the chanter circuitry in the second device slightly, so the devices do indeed sound different.) But, I still think my T-Board is a neat invention and the scale is just big enough to accommodate a lot of music. Also, I’m very proud of myself and amazed at having learned some new software and actually getting a PCB fabricated. The latter seemed a daunting task to me, in and of itself. Not exactly like just ordering something from Amazon.

As I keep saying, the whole thing is very much a work in progress. I’m playing, on and off now, with piezos and noise box-type stuff, trying to find something unique to replace my meh drones sound. No doubt, it will end up being merely bagpipe-inspired.
 
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