Saturday, July 4, 2015

MidiGurdy - information about price and availability

posted on facebook:

**READ HERE for information about price and availability**
German translation:
If you are only interested in the price and availability, please skip right to the end of this post.
Please bear with me, this is going to be a long text. But I want to compile all the information that I've given out over the last months in a single place, so you get a good idea of what the MidiGurdy is, what you can do with it and what you can expect when ordering an instrument.

The MidiGurdy is an electronic hurdy gurdy. That means that it has no acoustic sound production, no vibrating strings, no buzzing bridge. Mechanically it works similar to a normal hurdy gurdy: it has a crank and a two octave keyboard (actually 24 keys). It features a small and fairly heavy wheel inside, but the wheel is only used to give the player the sensation of turning a real and larger wheel. It adds the much needed innertia of a gurdy wheel and also acts as friction brake so you can feel the "string tension" when turning the crank. The brake is adjustable, so you can match it to your real gurdy or adjust it so that is feels comfortable. It even has a "string" inside the keybox, to give you the feeling of pressing the keys against a real string. The tension of the "string" can be adjusted to your liking, but the string doesn't vibrate and will never need tuning, of course.
There are a number of sensors in the instrument that detect which keys are pressed (and how hard), how fast the wheel is turning and also the exact position of the wheel at any moment. This information is fed into a built-in processor which uses those values to model the sound of a hurdy gurdy. The instrument outputs that sound via a headphone jack, enabling you to plug in headphones and practice in silence or plug in an amplifier and play as loud as you want to. And it also outputs standard MIDI messages (hence the name MidiGurdy.) via a USB-MIDI connector ready to be fed into an external synthesizer or computer.
**Practice and Teaching**
First and foremost, the MidiGurdy is a tool for practicing the hurdy gurdy. I've worked hard to make it feel as natural as possible. You can practice on the MidiGurdy with headphones - even late at night, in a hotel room or during a lunch break at work - and later transfer your new skills to your real gurdy. If you want to practice more but you don't - either because of the neighbours, of your family or even because of the constant need for tuning and maintenance - then the MidiGurdy might be the tool you are looking for. You can pick it up and start playing within seconds! And it is smaller than most hurdy gurdies which means you can take it along wherever you go.
As the MidiGurdy is purely electronic, playing in different keys or tunings is only a button click away. Maybe you own various hurdy gurdies in different tunings. And maybe you have to carry them all to band rehearsal on a regular basis. With the MidiGurdy, you would only need to take a single instrument and could play in any key that your fellow musicians throw at you.
The right hand technique, playing the "trompette" or "buzzer" or "coup", is something that we gurdy players invest a lot of time in. Gettings those impulses to sound at exactly the right time and place on the wheel is hard and requires a lot of practice. I have put in extra effort to make the trompette sound and feel as natural as possible, so you can practice your coups on the MidiGurdy for hours on end without driving your family crazy. And the numerous and very positive feedback from players I got so far has shown me that I am on the right track.
As the instrument knows the exact position of your crank at all times, it can even show you where you put your impulses! Attach the MidiGurdy to your computer via USB, start the visualization program that comes with the instrument and see your impulses in real time on your computer monitor. Use it to check if your impulses are spaced evenly on the wheel or to understand why you can't fit in the last coup of a coup-de-six. Or if you teach the hurdy gurdy, use the visualization to show your students where they should be putting their impulses.
**Music Notation**
Do you compose music on your hurdy gurdy? Nearly all notation software packages allow you to input notes in real time via MIDI. Connect the MidiGurdy to your computer, start the notation program, play your new composition on the instrument and watch those notes magically appear as written notation.
**Live Performance**
Of course, the MidiGurdy can also be used for live performance. You can connect it to an amplifier or a large sound system and rock away! Being purely electronic means you won't have to worry about feedback anymore. Hot and humid stage environments that are a major headache for acoustic gurdies have no effect on the MidiGurdy. No need to tune between songs and the ability to save and load configuration presets enable quick changes in instrument sound and setup.
However, as I have mainly focused on making the MidiGurdy a fantastic practice instrument, realistic sound and level of expression are two areas that still need some extra attention. It already sounds good, but playing on stage is a different matter. But you can expect that it gets better with every software update - which you will always be able to download for free, by the way!
**Experimental Music**
If you are into experimental music and your main instrument is the hurdy gurdy, then you might like the external MIDI connection of the MidiGurdy. It outputs standard MIDI messages on three channels that you can use to trigger all kinds of sounds. You could even use a computer to trigger sound and lighting effects at the same time. The built-in sound system is a sample-based synthesizer and the sounds can be easily changed by the user. If you want to play hammond organ directly on the MidiGurdy, there is nothing stopping you!
And the MidiGurdy software will be open source and "hacker friendly": if you want to change the way the instrument works and extend the musical possibilities of the MidiGurdy, you can grab the source code and make those changes (if you know C programming).
The MidiGurdy will be initially only available in white or black. Custom colors are possible but will probably take longer to produce and might incur a surcharge. Please contact me for details if you are interested in a custom color.
- Three different channels: melody, drone and trompette
- Each channel can play 3 different sounds simultaneously
- For each channel sound, you can control sound, pitch, volume, left-right panning individually
- Built-in sample-based synthesizer
- Sounds can be changed and customized by the user
- Polyphonic mode for keyboard (playing chords)
- Adjustable sensitivity and "weight" of buzzing bridge
- Adjustable volume response of wheel
- Built-in metronome (to be implemented)
- Recording and playback (to be implemented)
- 10cm cast iron flywheel provides a realistic feeling of innertia
- Adjustable wheel brake
- Incremental encoder wheel for menu navigation and changing of values
- 2 extra function buttons for quick menu navigation
- 5 buttons in keybox lid for muting/unmuting the 9 "strings" while playing
- Dimensions: 52cm long (excluding crank), 19cm wide, 13cm high
- Weight: ca. 2.7kg
- 24 keys, modelled after a 34.5 cm string length
- Width of keys: 27cm (from start of lowest key to end of highest key)
- Distance from crank: 18.5cm (crank thread to highest key)
- Power supply: battery (lifetime 12+ hours) or external power via Mini USB
- Crank thread size: M6
- Mini USB 2.0 (used for charging, MIDI-USB out, software upgrades)
- Headphone stereo output via 6.3mm jack
- 16x2 character OLED display
- Built-in (replacable) LiPo battery
After presenting the instrument publicly beginning of July, I will start to produce a beta-series of a few instruments, ready to be be delivered in October/November 2015. Those instruments will go to early supporters and players close to Hamburg.
After November 2015 I will begin producing the instruments in larger quantities. Delivery of the first instruments will start early next year. Instruments will be shipped out in the order of the waiting list.
So if you order your MidiGurdy and make the deposit, you will receive a place on the waiting list and be notified on the expected delivery date of your instrument.
I will ship the instrument world-wide, but the first instruments will go out to European customers as I still have to figure out all the legal and financial issues involved with international shipping. Shipping costs are still to be determined (DHL quotes 35 Euro for delivery to the USA, for example).
The price of the MidiGurdy in white or black is 1795 Euro (including 19% VAT) + shipping. A deposit of 750 Euro will be required upon ordering.
- MidiGurdy instrument
- Instrument strap
- Small hex key for removing the crank
- Instructions on how to use your MidiGurdy
- 2 year warranty
- Free software and sound upgrades
I am still searching for a suitable instrument case or bag for the MidiGurdy. Details about the case will be given at a later time.
If you would like to place an order for a MidiGurdy, please send the following information via email to
- full name
- contact email address
- the invoice and delivery address
- telephone number
- your colour choice (white or black)
I will contact you in the next few weeks and ask you to make the deposit payment. As soon as the deposit is made, you have secured your place on the waiting list.
**That's all folks...**
Please excuse this very long post, but I wanted to give as much information as possible so everybody can get a good idea of what they can expect from the MidiGurdy. Thank you for your wonderful support over the last year! Without your encouragement via email, here on Facebook and in person, I would probably have given up many times already... you are great!
All the best from (finally!) hot and sunny Hamburg, Germany,

(facebook) MidiGurdy - **READ HERE for information about price and...:
**READ HERE for information about price and availability**German translation:...
Posted by MidiGurdy on Friday, July 3, 2015

MidiGurdy -
An electronic hurdy gurdy: plug in headphones or an amplifier or connect it to your iOS device, your notebook or your netbook.

will be at ---
11-14 JULY; Château d'Ars, Lourouer-Saint-Laurent, FR: Le Son Continu

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