Electronic Chanter

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Sparky49, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. Sparky49

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jul 16, 2011
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    Hi guys,

    as you may or may not know, I play the bagpipes in a pipe band and it is something I really enjoy doing.

    However, one downside is clearly the volume of the instrument - I can't practice late at night, for example.

    One solution of this is to create an electronic version of the bagpipes known as an electronic chanter. This is basically a set of bagpipes without
    drones or a bag - just the pipe which you play the notes.

    I'm considering building one myself, just out of curiosity, but I have a few questions before I begin.

    1. I'm not planning to make the sound produced sound like bagpipes - just for simplicity, I probably use some astable circuit producing square waves at different frequencies to simulate the different notes. Would I be able to use a 555 IC, linked to different preset pots. to 'tune' the instrument?

    2. If I'm wanting a drone (ie more than one tone at the same time), I will need a seperate astable section for each. Is this correct?

    3. With regards to re-creating the holes to create the melody - could i use two small pads which when bridged by a finger or thumb, complete the circuit? Perhaps using a darlington pair to increase sensitivity? I'm thinking that a mechanical switch would be too clumsy. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

    4. Or do you think I'm going off in a totally wrong tangent? Perhaps I should consider using a PIC? Anything else?


    As mentioned, I'm just considering this project. I'm try to take it slowly to avoid any mistakes (I'm sure I'll still make some:p) - so I don't have a schematic to show you. If you really want one, just say and I'll sort something out.

    Thanks for your time.:)
     
  2. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    How many notes can you play? How many holes are there, on which hand?
    An MCU might be the simplest solution, but only if you can play "Over the hill and far away".
     
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  3. Sparky49

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jul 16, 2011
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    The pipes can only play nine notes, for those who are in to music they are G,A,B, C#,D,E,F#,G and A.

    You use the left thumb (underneath), left index, middle and ring finger. On the right hand you use all the fingers.
     
  4. Sparky49

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jul 16, 2011
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  5. Jaguarjoe

    Active Member

    Apr 7, 2010
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    A simple Picaxe microcontroller such as the 8 pin "08M", 14 pin 14M and 20 pin 20M have built in music and tone commands. Add some buttons, an LM386 amplifier, a speaker and some AAA batteries and your pretty much all set. They're programmed in easy Basic that's a snap to learn and use. All of the software for programming and simulating is free, just add a 3 wire serial cable. Any old laptop will work.
     
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  6. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
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  7. Sparky49

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jul 16, 2011
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    Unfortunately, a keyboard is totally unsuitable for practicing the bagpipes - there are many, many groups of gracenotes grouped together to form embellishments, which even an accomplished pianist would struggle to perform. These are crucial to bagpipes and can't be avoided...


    Jaguarjoe, would the two pad idea work for simulating the holes?
     
  8. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
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    Hence the bagpipe MIDI. The keyboard is only used as a synthesizer while the bagpipe MIDI is the user interface. As long as it's a polyphonic synthesizer and not a lead synthesizer, you get what you want.
     
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  9. Sparky49

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jul 16, 2011
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    Okay, so I've had a little look around, and I've seen this;

    http://www.seekic.com/forum/22_circuit_diagram/18485_ELECTRONIC_BAGPIPE.html

    Now, I'm a little worried about wether or not the circuit is sensitive enough to replace S4-S11 with touch pads - as in the attachment.

    As a result, I thought of using a Darlington Pair. I've come up with two ideas - nothing more, but which is the better? 1 or 2?
     
  10. Adjuster

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2010
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    The original circuit seems to be using the resistors selected by each key to tune oscillators in a direct analogue process. This requires the switch contact resistance to be small, or the tuning accuracy will be adversely affected - and following the resistor common point with an amplifying device won't really help matters.
     
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  11. Sparky49

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jul 16, 2011
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    Ah sugar, I get what your saying KJ6EAD - I seem to be rather slow to pick up on things today hehehe.:rolleyes:

    I did think of going down the midi route, but that would involve a bit of programming which I have no experience in. I'm hoping to change that soon, as I'm going to get C++: A Beginner's Guide when the new edition comes out on 1st May.

    I'll then consider moving into other sorts of programming, but for the time being, I'll just stick to good old discrete components, producing an awful din.:D

    Can't be much worse than the real thing.;)

    Again, sorry for not grasping what you were suggesting.
     
  12. Sparky49

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jul 16, 2011
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    Okay, thanks for that. Can you think of any other method, or should I just abandon the idea of these little plates?:confused:
     
  13. Jaguarjoe

    Active Member

    Apr 7, 2010
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    Picaxe has a "touch" command that senses capacitance change. You will need only one pad.
     
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  14. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    As a non-analogue suggestion, you could ask a friend who is good with microcontrollers to get a PIC to produce your 9 chanter notes, one note out each PIC pin. The PIC can use a xtal to make perfect pitch of the 9 notes, no sense adding off-key nastiness to the notes.

    Then put them through 9 buttons to your amp.

    Or put the 9 buttons into the PIC and use one output note, selected in software by the buttons. That might be a better option.

    Obviously the PIC could generate the drone notes too if needed.
     
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  15. Sparky49

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jul 16, 2011
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    I don't have any friends in real life who are that cool, so I'll have to find some over the internet.:p

    Thanks for all your help guys, I might have to revive this thread in a while, after I've come up with some semi-solid schematics for you to analyse!
     
  16. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Learn to program and use microcontrollers. It will open up a whole new world of possibilities and opportunities.

    There are only 10 types of people in the world - those who understand binary and those who don't. :)
     
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  17. Sparky49

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jul 16, 2011
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    Best quote ever!

    I'll get busy with the new C++ book, and I'll post a review when I'm finished. Should be interesting from the view of a complete novice like me.:cool:
     
  18. Shaucall

    New Member

    Oct 25, 2015
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    Hi
    How did you get on with this, I am a fellow piper and looking to do something similiar
     
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