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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 124 | June 21 , 2009|


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Sounds & Rhythm

Light Harp

Compiled by Nazia Ahmed

SPOTLIGHTS, lasers and light sensors to trace virtual strings through space for performers to play! Talk about newage Music!

The instrument does not make sound itself but rather it controls computers and synthesizer's in performance. The instrument was originally built in Fiber glass and designed by violin and instrument maker David S. Brown in collaboration with Stuart Favilla and Robin Whittle [a notable computer music instrument developer and designer].

The current Light Harp has been designed and constructed in leather by world renown, Tasmanian leather artist, Garry Greenwood. The Light Harp is also the World's first Indian computer music instrument and resembles a veena in shape and iconographic design.

The ancillary control panel consists of 24 simultaneous channels of scanning analogue to digital control capable of hundreds of MIDI controller assignments. The main controllers include breath-control, a pitch and modulation joystick, pressure sensitive and position-sensitive touch strips, foot-control pedals, two large dial controllers [that operate concentric to each other] and an active electromagnetic proximity controller wand. The instrument is usually played with 5 independent degrees of freedom.

The Light Harp has a total of 32 light-sensor virtual strings. These strings can play separate notes, individual samples or function as frets on a single string. A schmitt-trigger mechanism greatly improves the response time of the sensors and reduces onset delays to less than one millisecond. The thresh-holds of the schmitt-triggers can be attenuated to turn specific strings on/off. This allows for the performance of modal glissandi for ragas and Asian scales. Although the Light Harp was designed for Indian music, it is also capable of performing uniquely rich and dense abstract synthesis textures and experimental micro-tonal tunings. The 32 strings are transposable over eight octaves and tuning to various scales and paradigms is controlled through the use of the ancillary controllers.

Source: Internet

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