THUNDER IS A SPECIALIZED MIDI CONTROLLER that senses various
aspects of the touch of hands on its playing surface, and transmits the
resultant gestural information via MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface)
to responsive electronic instrumentation.
THUNDER is an alternative controller. Making no attempt
to emulate the appearance or playing techniques of existing acoustic instruments,
THUNDER introduces new concepts for defining musically interesting relationships
between performance gesture and modern electronic vocabularies. THUNDER's
multi-faceted playing surface is organized to complement the shape and reach
of the human hand; its 36 individual elements sense a performer's slightest
touch. All of THUNDER's keys respond to pressure; some sense position as
well; others incorporate light emitting diodes used to indicate key status
or currently selected options.
Called STORM, THUNDER's built-in operating language performs
the essential function of defining the potential interaction between a musician
and his instrument. Designed for use by musicians (programming experience
not required), STORM is both user friendly and musically powerful.
Editing procedures are simple and consistent; menu-labeled
"softkeys" provide immediate and efficient access to data. Instrument
setups ("configurations") can be stored in internal memory or
on plug-in data cards.
In addition to configuring itself, THUNDER can direct auxiliary
equipment to follow suit. Program change messages can be routed to any combination
of MIDI channels and instruments. System exclusive messages can be captured
by THUNDER, stored with configurations, and transmitted on command.
ADDITIONAL MIDI FEATURES implemented by THUNDER include
full precision pitch bending, microtuning, scalable velocity, MIDI portamento,
polyphonic pressure, and release velocity. A MIDI note filter provides THUNDER
with unusual tuning capabilities. THUNDER addresses all MIDI controller
types, and transmits MIDI auxiliary messages (active sensing, system reset,
and channelized all notes off). Provision for WIMP (Wideband Interface for
Music Performance) is incorporated, and as instruments appear that can respond
to this high speed auxiliary interface standard, THUNDER will be ready.
THUNDER's bag of tricks includes programmed effects with
seemingly endless possibilities. Completely user defined, THUNDER's effects
can generate a MIDI bombardment of gesture-controlled multiple echoes combined
with various sorts of transpositions, fades and conditional branches.
Like that riff you just played? THUNDER has a perfect memory,
and can play it back without missing a beat. And if changes are in order,
THUNDER can respond with alterations in voicings, dynamics, tunings, and
THUNDER's responsiveness is a result of efficient digital
signal processing techniques Buchla has developed for real time analysis
of performance gesture. Its sensitivity combined with its ergonomic design
give it the feel of an instrument - you are actually playing a musical instrument
- not just controlling it. While difficult to describe, the sensation is
fortunately easily experienced.
Housed in cast aluminum, THUNDER is one durable instrument.
Compact and light, it can be played on a table or can be supported by standard
instrument mounting hardware.
Input / Output Facilities
MIDI interconnections: 1 input, 1 output, 1 through (the
latter can be reconfigured to serve as a WIMP output.)
foot pedal input: accommodates 10k pot or control voltage
(O to 10 volt range)
foot switch input: accommodates one standard (normally
open) or three slightly modified paralleled switches
9 volts D.C. at .5 amperes, or 110 volts A.C. at .05 amperes,
or 220 volts A.C. at .025 amperes (A.C. adaptor supplied)
weight: 4 kilograms; 9 pounds
dimensions: 44 x 33 x 6 cm; 17 x 13 x 2.5 in
Circuitry and Architecture
supervisory control and signal processing: TMS 320C25 digital
software: STORM, a high level, performance optimized, user interface language
primary editing inputs: ten dedicated keys, thunderpot (tactile linear controller)
displays: 80 character backlighted liquid crystal display, 11 discrete LED's
performance inputs: 26 touch sensitive keys - 14 sensitive to location
internal memory: 32,768 bytes of RAM; 65,536 bytes of ROM
Specifications are subject to change. For additional information,
contact the manufacturer:
Buchla and Associates, Box
10205, Berkeley CA 94709