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Matthew Walton
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Visiting my friend Dan who's got a Seaboard I obviously had to take my Linnstrument along and we ended up recording a slightly atypical version of a well-known murder ballad (Roud 8 - the full story includes a magic harp or fiddle made out of a human ribcage, and some executions but we left all that out this time).

As for what's on what bit of tech:
Percussion - me on Linnstrument, with Alchemy
Pads - Dan on Seaboard, with Equator
Piano - me on Linnstrument, with Pianoteq
Lead vocal - me
Backing vocal - Dan
Violin - Dan (in case there was any doubt, it is a real violin, not some kind of amazing Seaboard-controlled violin synth)

So here we go... I ordered a Linnstrument. This could be just what I have been looking for in the electronic domain for years now, and at such a ridiculously reasonable price as well. Now I just have to wait... and try not to stock up on too many softsynths before it arrives.

I'm a kind of multi-instrumentalist - I play early and folk music on recorder and viola da gamba, folk music (mostly for dancing) on the violin and I sing (mostly grisly murder ballads). I've previously dabbled in electronic instruments - I once had an EWI4000s which I still regret selling, moved through the Yamaha WX-5 which wasn't actually any better (just lighter), and the Eigenharp Pico, which just doesn't have enough buttons and never reached a level of software maturity I had time for.

This, coupled with some yet-to-be-acquired portable computing hardware I can run softsynths on, should prove good for some more exotic performance opportunities :) Just a shame morris dancing tends to involve moving around a lot away from any power sockets, as it'd be awesome fun to turn up to a dance out and scandalise the traditionalists by playing the tunes on an ultra-modern synth.

But anyway, even if I can't do that I can give my friend and his Seaboard a run for their money...

I'm going to have to sell my Pico. It's silver and in perfect working order, but I just don't have time for it and it could have a far better home. Plus then I could spend the money on instruments I do use…

Located in the UK. Anyone interested before I post it more widely?

I'm considering using the Pico for accompanying myself singing. It seems to me that a good idea for that might be if I can get it to behave something like the bass end of an accordion - i.e. at least some of the buttons produce chords rather than single notes. I'm not looking to do anything enormously complicated, musically - at least not at first.

Does anybody have any ideas how one might do this? I guess it's fairly simple to hook up multiple sound-producing agents within the setup, but I don't know how you'd go about arranging for them to produce the right notes. I don't have Ableton or MAX or anything like that which I could program to do it either.

I can't believe I can't find documentation for this, but... how do I change to a custom scale on the Pico? It's defined in my user scales file, but that documentation doesn't say how to select one. Obviously it's not mapped in the scale selection functions of the default setup because that wouldn't know about it. I found a page on Belcanto which suggested I could say something like "sampler 1 hey scale to (whatever) set" but I always get "Invalid arguments for verb set" back, even with built-in scale names and actually examples from the documentation. And I can't find anything that even reminds me how to get hold of the scale browser. I know it's mode key, something, something, something, maybe something else, but a load of red and orange and green lights doesn't really tell me very much.

And I'm not quite sure where my factory setup reference card is right now. Probably in the Pico's box, under a pile of other boxes, in the attic. Which was silly, I suppose.

So I'm going a bit nuts now. I always felt the EigenD documentation was very scrappy and piecemeal, and I think that's a shame. I'm going to have to start writing stuff down...

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Got my new laptop set up with EigenD and my Pico. Dead pleased with performance and latency compared to desktop, now I need to get it hooked up to the amp I just bought and get playing! Exciting times ahead probably involving more purchases. Some kind of foot pedal seems like a good idea in the medium term. Especially if I can get it to control EigenD. 

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