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Re: MIDI problems ???

> >start/stops, etc. I get to change programs on my ADA MP1, quadraverb,
> >synth and even analog old pedals thru my rockman octopus - all useful,
> >timesaving stuff for what i do -
> well, here's an example: On your guitar controller, if you play an
> artificial harmonic, does the synth respond in some appropriate way? 

well, no - if i want harmonics, i mix in the straight guitar sound. Let me
start by saying (without even me reading further)- that i'm one of those
guitarists who just deals with the reality of what it is. For instance, do
you have the Buzz Feiten retrofit on all your axes?? If not, then from his
perspective, and it's many adherents, your guitars aren't really in tune,
etc, etc., and so you're limited by that. But - of course, from another
perspective, you're not limited at all. Just as a poor kid on some island
with a crappy guitar with strings a mile off the neck isn't limited if
(s)he is happy with the creative level that can be reached. I use the
technology at the level it's at - and i STILL just scratch the surface..

When you apply different types of mute techniques, does anything change in
> synth patch? 

actually, yes - on some patches - the casio is the only synth controller
i've used that is very dynamics-sensitive. So such technique tweaks
translate in various subtle ways.

What if you pick near the bridge, or use the flesh of your
> thumb instead of a pick. Or pick near the bridge. Anything? nope. Most of
> the expressive control over a sound that a guitar gives you is lost, 

You're absolutely right. But - again - i happen to be totally cool with
that. Others may not be. I TOTALLY respect that view. But for guitar-type
expressiveness, bingo - i use the straight good ol analog guitar,
processing optional.

and about all you have left is pitch and 128 volume levels. 

My casio does great bending, on non-percussive sounds, and again, beautiful
dynamic response. I create a lot of looped  percussion, where i trigger log
drums bells, etc, and i use many different volume levels, tantamount to
playing these instruments with a drumstick, etc, and being able to hit at
varying velocities - very soft, soft, med, hard, harder, etc.

Now realize: modern synthesizers are quite capable of providing huge and
subtle varieties over
> the timbre of a sound. Modern sensor tehcnology is readily able to detect
> all of the things you are doing on a guitar string. But when you try to
> send all of that information from your musical and expressive controller
> your musical and expressive synth, you totally swamp midi. 

And one could argue that - every electromagnetic nuance of a plucked string
on the best Les Paul or PRS is Not accurately reflected by even the best
pickups. It depends on the level of resolution you want to go to. It
reminds me of a recent thread on MD vs DAT vs CD vs Cassette vs Reality. It
matters not. If you're happy with what ya got - it rules!! Make music.

I'm not assuming at all that - you're like this, Kim, but invariably - when
i;m in a music store and someone's trying out a guitar synth (usually the
rolands) - they are trying to strum open chords, on a piano patch, or play
Yngwie style with a marimba patch or a Tangerine Dream type sweeping
sound..... It always sounds like crap, and they almost always put the axe
down in disgust, with them and their friends muttering about how much
gtrsynth sucks, etc. Bummer. It only means i'll always be able to get this
crap for cheap when it doesn't sell!

It can't handle> all the control data. It's incredibly slow, even by
standards at the time
> it was created in 1981. Also, it's "description language" for describing
musical events is terribly shortsighted and limited. (it was only ever
intended for a piano key trigger to start a simple synth sound). 

I'd have to say you're skipping past some significant midi advances over
the years since 1983. It does quite a bit more than that....

>>The right words just aren't there to describe most types of musical

..again, this is totally subjective. For example, i'm sure we could find a
classical guitarist, or an african kora master, or a 50 year student of the
sarod or sitar, any of whom would say that all amplified instruments are
limited, and do not accurately translate the 'soul' of the music. And -
they'd be right, from their perspective, as you are from yours. But - would
this indict the entire concept of amplified instruments??? No.

> In the world of modern instrument design, midi is the bottleneck, and has
> been for years. 

That's harsh. Are you willing to say that Peter Gabriel, Vernon Reid,
Laurie Anderson, Dave VanTieghem, Jaron Lanier, Allan Holdsworth, Devo, and
tons of others i can't think of right now haven't done incredibly creative
things with MIDI ??? It's all about integrating it into the rest of your
vibe. You seem real bothered that MIDI even exists !

>>That is why you so rarely see innovative new electronic instruments, and
why the ones you do see are so rarely satisfying.Midi has been the
immovable object in the middle.

Not so, in my humble opinion. You don't see the innovative instruments
beacuse the economics aren't there to support their production/distrubution
on a wide scale. What about the Korg WaveDrum, or the Samchillian Tip Tip
Tip Cheeepeee (a very weird, cool, interactive midi controller designed by
Leon Gruenbaum, who plays on Vernon Reid's solo CD and in his band). Or how
about the new MIDI - Theremin that Bob Moog has come up with ?? And there's
tons more that i and you have never heard of (and won't). Korg, Roland,
Kawai, Yamaha, have to see big numbers before they'll get behind something
'weird'. - so they wont' do it. What you're saying is tantamount to asking
"..why do we rarely see innovative new music.." well - yes - never in the
mainstream, because of $$$$. same thing here.
Let me remind you that Casio killed production on it's CZ 101 synth - due
to poor sales from their perspective. Yet in the synth world - it broke all
sales records, and was a monster hit (and is still a pretty prized little
synth). But to giant watch and cheesy keyboard manufacturer Casio - these
numbers didn't translate. So they killed it. I think this is teh dynamic
that prevents us from seeing "innovative new electronic instruments", not
the existence of MIDI !!

I'm totally on your side, i just disagree as to the reasons.

> for simple uses, midi is fine. It serves some purposes well. But in many
> ways, its a thing where you don't know what you are missing, because
> never been able to try it.

but what you ARE able to do is often awesome!!

> As far as a network design, midi is just stupid. It's unidirectional, 

so is the audio-signal traveling along a guitar cable, which, to be fair,
is what you started the comparison on.
Again, you seem inordinately bugged by an inanimate protocol - just don't
use it.

> it's topology leaves you with at mass of wires everywhere, addressing
events on
> any particular device is clumsy and difficult, 

really?? again, i seem to have missed all these problems. I have one midi
cable from guitar to footpedal. One cable from footpedal to preamp. Then,
one short "thru" cable between each of the following - the preamp, synth1,
delay, sampler, synth2. With a simple patch on my Mitigator (many other
devices can do this too), i can send dozens of individual commands to
different devices on different channels. 

Before you calculate some kind of minute delay problems, remember, for
practical purposes - that means a couple of delay units, a quadraverb or
two, changing a patch on 2 or 3 synths, etc. All simultaneously, all thru
midi. With 16 channels, unless you're trying to control an entire 64 track
automated studio and all it's outboard gear, there's no problem

and you always end up with
> device B that can't talk to device A without rewiring everything. 

I'm really sorry this has been your experience. All MIDI requires is a
little patience and some channel calibrations. Every MIDI device has an
implementation chart in it's manual, which clearly shows all the stuff it
can recieve/send. You go from there.

The list goes on, and there are others who have expressed it much better
than I. I
> think there are places on the web you can find if you care.

Please point me to some, so i can see what devices they have had such a bad
time with.

> As far as loop specific problems, we would ideally want the capability to
> transmit audio data along with control information, in real time. We
> also want the ability to easily define a loop oriented control language,

who's we?? have you taken a poll on this??? Not trying to be flippant, i
really like your ideas, Kim, and you've been a great help to me many times,
but i think on this MIDI stuff, you're kinda off base. Why should we be
looking for it to do ANYTHING we dream?? - Why not require fretless sounds
out of a fretted guitar. Explain to me how that would be different from
most of what you're demanding of MIDI. It does what it does, it's
implementation has been improved thru the years, and  you use it to it's
limits, which i challenge you to find me someone who really has. - No - i
don't mean someone who has become frustrated because MIDI doesn't do what
they WANT it to do, but someone who has exhausted everything that midi CAN

> rather than forcing keyboard commands to do it or spending 6 years in
> committee meetings at the MMA. These things are beyond midi, 

So, blame midi. That's like saying - "Language doesn't accurately decribe
the emotion of Love - so Language sucks"
No! - Language does what it does, and can never duplicate the look in a
lover's eyes or a soft touch or a wordless murmur, etc., all of which
transmit the feeling of "love" . I hope you see my metaphor.

Anyway - i hope this discussion continues - please don't take any of this
in anger, i mean only to provide a different perspective on this issue, and
i know i'm in the "minority" here as a synth-guitarist.

Peace thru music, however it's made!!!