percussion ribbon controller

Doug Tymofichuk dougt at
Wed Nov 17 16:38:41 CET 1999

Hello, everyone,

Thanks to everybody who responded to my ribbon controller 
question! The quantity and variety of responses was great!

What I am trying to do with this is to add a controller of 
some type to my drum kit that I can control a monosynth 
with. The three alternatives that I am considering are:

1. Ribbon controller - as we have been discussing. It 
sounds like they work quite well for "finger" use, but to 
get something that works well when beating on it with 
sticks is another matter. Trying to hit one thin wire 
accurately enough sounds a bit daunting to me. And I do 
want to use two mallets on it at one time. And I don't want 
it to be really complex, just basic analogue.

2. A set of four or so individual trigger pads that can be 
tuned independantly through the full pitch range with a 
knob on the front of each one. I think this would be fairly 
easy and simple to do. I have already built four pads using 
margarine containers, metal plates, 1/4 inch rubber sheets, 
and piezo sensors, that seem to work quite well. The only 
downside that I can think of is I can only play four 
different notes at one time, but maybe I will find that 
four is enough. On the plus side, velocity measurement can 
be easily done with this.

3. A single trigger pad with some other way of controlling 
pitch, such as a footpedal, breath controller, jaw position 
sensor, eyelid position sensor, etc., etc. This gets my 
imagination going, there are endless possibilities, but 
whatever I use must be practical and reasonably 

My instinct is to go with #2, as I am almost there now, but 
I am still considering the other possibilities as well.

Any thoughts?
Doug Tymofichuk
dougt at

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