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Re: Percussion, drums anyone?
> Sounds like you are looping acoustically, which is what I do. How do you
> handle live situations, in particular how do you avoid signals from
> feeding back into a loop from a monitor?
Yeah, this is a real problem. Currently, I try close micing with cardiod
mics. I place my house
speakers so that they don't "see" the stage mics. I use a small mic stand
mounted monitor and keep the
sound level down as low as possible. I play places that aren't very noisy
so the PA isn't very loud.
While all this helps, I still get sound degredation as I overdub loops.
I'm trying other things: I've tried using a single wireless mic that I
wear. I've tried noise-gates on
my mics. For any given song, I can adjust the gate threshold for proper
operation; however, the next
song needs different settings. Consequently, I don't use noise-gates in
performance. I've thought about
building an elaborate system that would "intelligently" listen to the
background level and automatically
adjust the noise-gate thresholds. I tried adding switches to the mics
(using that Switchcraft XLR
connector with the in-line switch) and it's just another action that gets
in the way of making music.
For some compositions I pad down (on the mixer) the mics I'm not using.
That is, as I construct loops, I
unpad the particular mic I'm going to use next.
I'm not satified with any of my solutions. What do you do? Any
> I remember reading a while back that you perform composed pieces. How
> are you doing that with your EDP? Do you notate various loop actions as
My notations are mostly to help remind me of what to do. I don't
(usually) "read" them when I play.
While I seem to remember the short phrases that I play, I'm apt to forget
the sequence of looper
"keystrokes". So my notes don't include the "music", only the looper
actions. I tried including the
music early on and found it unnecessary and confusing. I call my notes a
For a given song schema, I have three sections. The first section lists
the instruments used on the
piece. Before starting the piece, I can gather the instruments in
convenient locations. The second
section lists the equipment set-up - EDP beats per 1/8, SPX-90 program
settings, mixer channel panning,
etc. The third section lists the sequence of looper actions. I've
attached a Word document with an
example of a traditional tune done "looper fashion". Hope you can read it
> Oh, and if you have time, tell me more about these:
> - waterphone
> - ocean drum
> - batu-tu
> - gopiyantra
> - ting-sha
I've been meaning to put together a web page with instrument descriptions.
For now, here's what I have.
The waterphone is the spookiest sounding instrument I have. See
The ocean drum is made by Remo. It's a double-headed frame drum which
contains small ball-bearings.
When you hold the drum horizontal and tilt it from side to side, the
ball-bearings roll across the bottom
head and produce a "surf-like" sound. It's very peaceful.
The Batu-tu from New Guinea is made from a length of bamboo with one end
cut into two prongs or tines
like a tuning fork. The other end, serving as the handle, is split from
the tines part of the way
towards the end. Striking the tines causes the split in the handle to
buzz gently. The Batu-tu is also
known as the Tugangay or "devil chaser" in the Philippines. I bought mine
from Lark in the Morning. See
The gopiyantra, a single stringed instrument from eastern India, is
constructed from a short length of
bamboo and a small single-headed drum. The bamboo, divided into a yoke,
forms the neck of the
instrument. The drum is fastened between the arms of the yoke with the
open end pointing towards the top
of the yoke. One end of the string is attached to the top of the yoke,
where the arms join together;
extends between the arms of the yoke into the open end of the drum; and
attaches to the center of the
head inside the drum. By squeezing the bamboo neck while plucking or
striking the string, the string
tension is varied hence changing the pitch of the instrument. According
to Hindu tradition, the
Gopiyantra was played by the milk-maid consorts of Krishna. Mine is a
gift from a friend but Lark in the
Morning also has them (called Gopi Chand in their catalog).
Ting-sha chimes from Tibet looks like two very small, very thick cymbals.
It produces quite a dissonant,
penetrating sound intended to immediately focus your attention to the
present and is used by Buddhist
monks in meditation practices. Lark in the Morning also carries these,
although I got mine elsewhere.
Hope you found this interesting...
- Dennis Leas