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Topic: Clavichord aftertouch question

I was wondering if there are any early music aficionados who tried the clavichord from the free KIViR instruments pack with a keyboard with aftertouch and could comment on how it compares with the real thing. I have (that is, my spouse has) a real clavichord but I don't have any keyboards with aftertouch so the digital version is no match (except in terms of sound output; real clavichords are quiet as a mouse).

Btw, I think KIViR is a great project and I hope it continues.

3/2 = 5

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

I just got the Studiologic SL 88 Grand, which has aftertouch - I tried the clavichord, but can not tell any difference when applying aftertough, any hints of what I should be listening for?

And I do not have a real clavichord for comparison, but will be happy to provide wav-files if you are interested.

/Torsten

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

Probably the most obvious thing is that the pitch should rise when you press harder on a key because that stretches the string on a real clavichord.

3/2 = 5

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

Hello to all interested in clavichord aftertouch questions - I 'd love to hear more ...

A newby to PTeq soundscapes, having ventured in only around a week ago, I am gently finding my way around Pro5, hoping to master its possibilities; and I have long experience of clavichord playing/recitalling and teaching - perforce including elements of instrument maintenance, concert hall tweaking of tangents and string damping, and helping people get the best out of well and less-well crafted models at home.

Am hoping to persuade a few historically-minded modern makers of clavichord to offer distinctive sounds to PTeq.  There are many enjoyable as well as challenging styles of acoustic clavichord accessible these days, ranging far beyond the 1940s Hans Neupert design currently presented. Very briefly, there are excellent early fretted models with small shallow cases and fewer strings to the octave, where diatonic scales are playable via angled keys striking (shared) strings at the appropriate (fretted) point. Adaptation of playing technique as well as choice of appropriate repertory are called for. The bright bloom of fretted clavi tone tends to fade away more quickly than that of the less prominently-speaking mid-20C Neupert design. And fretted instruments were in use beyond the time of Mozart, along with larger-cased fret-free models from famed makers such as Silbermann or Hass whose bigger clavis were much-valued in Germanic domestic settings where fortepianos were seen as expressive and more expensive 'cousins'; and repertories of JS and CPE Bach as well as Haydn were played on whatever keybd was favoured for whichever style of musicmaking - harpsi, clavi, fpiano, chamber organ ... And so on ...

In Europe and the U.S. we nowadays have some excellent makers of clavichord and it wld be good if some owners or skilled craftspeople can offer well-regulated sounds to PTeq so that players and composers can choose, find personally favoured computerised sounds, perhaps match repertories to instruments, as in museum collections; or simply enjoy different tonal resources.

Re PTeq's current Neupert palette, my touch-sensitive Roland C30 seems to handle relay of the computerised sounds satisfactorily, as far as I have gone. Within its limits, without having done much (through lack of IT competence)  I produce quietly expressive as well as relatively stronger tangent tones, and play Froberger and Frescobaldi with no danger of producing the blocked tone which normal clavichords are prone to if the player does not use sufficient hand weight and after-touch wrist pressure; I have yet to discover whether bebung effects, subtle pitch distortions which may assist cantabile upper lines, can be produced or simulated on demand. As many know, in Bach's time this was a subtle masterly effect, as history has recorded; and a reminder that the clavichord is indeed the only acoustic instrument where the player remains in concentrated touch with the vibrating string, producing tonal inflections after the string has been activated.

Has anybody got sharable clavi experiencein the PTeq community?   

Hope to hear

Smiles and good wishes -

Paul

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

I learnt from the manual that one can try the aftertouch using the on-screen keyboard and the mouse. Press and slide up and down. And it indeed does work for the clavichords as expected. (And can also be set up for other instruments using the bottom left panel that normally defaults to velocity.)

Btw. AFAIK most MIDI keyboards with aftertouch only have a single global parameter for it (same for all the notes) so the player cannot control aftertouch for individual notes. Not ideal for clavichords, where typically one would use it for vibrato for one voice only.

Anyway, it's nice to see the attention to detail that Pianoteq developers put into all their virtual instruments.

Last edited by SteveLy (29-12-2015 18:23)
3/2 = 5

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

I tried setting the sustain pedal to aftertouch, as was suggested, but to tell the truth I could not detect any difference, so I'm not sure I did it right. If anyone else has tried this, I'd like to hear about it.

My controller is excellent all around (Kawai VPC1), but unfortunately does not have aftertouch, which is a shame because I am interested in using the clavichord.

Of course it is perfectly possible to play the clavichord with satisfaction without the bebung.

Amateur Standalone PTQ user; interests classical music and historic keyboards

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

oldionus wrote:

I tried setting the sustain pedal to aftertouch, as was suggested, but to tell the truth I could not detect any difference, so I'm not sure I did it right. If anyone else has tried this, I'd like to hear about it.

You might need to edit the aftertouch response curve. If you set it to its extremes (-1 at 0 to +1 at 127) the effect will be very dramatic. If you're still getting nothing then something is not right with the MIDI setup.

And of course you need to have a progressive sustain pedal. But even progressive pedals often do not have fine enough gradation to be useful for controlling pitch; e.g., my Yamaha FC3 only has 16 steps (from 0 off, to 15 fully depressed). Edit: Correction! The FC3 is an analog pedal with continuous output, with resistance varying from about 1k to 10k between full off and full on (and vice versa). Only the P-140 keyboard I was using it with restricted it to 16 steps. I got it working properly with Pianoteq using an Audiofront MIDI Expression adapter. http://www.audiofront.net/MIDIExpression.php

Last edited by SteveLy (22-01-2016 15:05)
3/2 = 5

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

SteveLy wrote:
oldionus wrote:

I tried setting the sustain pedal to aftertouch, as was suggested, but to tell the truth I could not detect any difference, so I'm not sure I did it right. If anyone else has tried this, I'd like to hear about it.

You might need to edit the aftertouch response curve. If you set it to its extremes (-1 at 0 to +1 at 127) the effect will be very dramatic. If you're still getting nothing then something is not right with the MIDI setup.

And of course you need to have a progressive sustain pedal. But even progressive pedals often do not have fine enough gradation to be useful for controlling pitch; e.g., my Yamaha FC3 only has 16 steps (from 0 off, to 15 fully depressed).

May

I guess I'll have to dig out the instructions M. Guillaume gave me and try again. The VC1 has a very responsive sustain pedal, so that's not the problem. Thanks for your input.

Amateur Standalone PTQ user; interests classical music and historic keyboards

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

I tried it now on the Studiologic Grand, and used the default aftertouch mapping scale 0 - 1 on the midi settings, and set the aftertouch curve to maximum (0 = -1, 127 = 1). As far as I could see the aftertouch was registered correctly by PTQ, as the data were registered on the midi overview, and there were lines on the aftertouch curve screen. But I could not hear anything.

Then I tried the virtual piano, where it is possible to activate aftertouch by clicking on a key and then moving the mouse upwards (away from yourself). Then the effect was very clear.

I am not sure if there is a bug in PTQ, but it seems to me that the effect is indeed there if you use the virtual keyboard, but I can not reproduce it by any other method.

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

I got a USB MIDI adapter for the FC3 pedal: an Audiofront MIDI Expression, see http://www.audiofront.net/MIDIExpression.php. (The FC3 pedal is in fact continuous with analog output; it was the P-140 keyboard that restricted the sustain to just 16 steps.) I'm using Linux so I cannot adjust anything (the control software is Windows only). But Pianoteq is flexible enough to accommodate it. I set it up for continuous sustain pedal for pianos and as aftertouch for the clavichord.

The aftertouch on the Clavichord (the Neupert, the only one for PTQ so far...?) does indeed work. By default it has a range of a semitone from the middle of the keyboard up, and this gradually decreases for lower notes. (In Pianoteq Pro it can be edited further to better resemble a real clavichord, where the highest notes have a lot more of a range.) Using a sustain pedal like the FC3 for this is not ideal: one does not get the same degree of control as on a clavichord keyboard, but it's better than nothing. As the aftertouch is monophonic (as it is on most MIDI keyboards as well) I set it up for "Only highest active note".

Torsten, I don't know why it's not working for you, but my guess is that something is wrong with your settings somewhere, because it all seems to work as expected. I do not have any keyboards with aftertouch, but there is no reason for that MIDI channel to work differently. Only obvious thing I can think of is that perhaps your Mono Aftertouch (at the bottom of the Aftertouch panel) is set to "Any note above..." some high note. If so, change it to "Only highest active note" or "All notes".

Last edited by SteveLy (22-01-2016 15:06)
3/2 = 5

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

Hi SteveLy - I can not find the Aftertouch Panel anywhere, is this a Pro thing? I only have a standard version.

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

No, it's there in the main window (even in the Stage version IIRC). I meant the segment showing the aftertouch response curve (which normally defaults to "velocity" but you switch to pedal, note-off, aftertouch). Under the AT curve there is the "Mono Aftertouch" option.

3/2 = 5

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

Found it, went through all the settings. Not sure what I did wrong in the first place, but it works now - thank you !

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

I'm considering getting a keyboard with aftertouch for clavichord and software synths; and also to have a keyboard that is better suited to playing organs (pipe or tonewheel style) than piano keys. The Alesis VI61 seems like perhaps the best I can afford; or the Roland A-800PRO, but supposedly the aftertouch is not so nice on that one.

But from what I gather most monophonic aftertouch keyboards use a single ribbon sensor that takes the average of the AT of all the active keys. That's no good. I want it to respond to the melody note only; either to the top note or ideally more intelligently to the note receiving the most AT input. Ideally I'd like polyphonic AT but that's rare and too pricey. Any advice, suggestions from more keyboard controller savvy folks would be appreciated.

And here is why: Even though I live in the "greatest" city in the world (by size because we are thinly spread), the local market is small so we have no large music stores like in the US, where one can try out many instruments to make an informed decision. Just to try one instrument takes a whole afternoon (finding somewhere that has one, travelling there and back).

3/2 = 5

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

Torsten B. Hagemann wrote:

Found it, went through all the settings. Not sure what I did wrong in the first place, but it works now - thank you !

Nice one! How does the AT work when you have multiple keys active (pressed down)? Say if you play chords in the left hand and melody using AT in the right hand: does it respond the same as if you were playing the melody the same way on its own or do the left hand notes diminish the AT effect. (I'm vaguely considering a second hand Numa Nero: predecessor of your SL88 I believe.)

3/2 = 5

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

Torsten B. Hagemann wrote:

I tried it now on the Studiologic Grand, and used the default aftertouch mapping scale 0 - 1 on the midi settings, and set the aftertouch curve to maximum (0 = -1, 127 = 1). As far as I could see the aftertouch was registered correctly by PTQ, as the data were registered on the midi overview, and there were lines on the aftertouch curve screen. But I could not hear anything.

Then I tried the virtual piano, where it is possible to activate aftertouch by clicking on a key and then moving the mouse upwards (away from yourself). Then the effect was very clear.

I am not sure if there is a bug in PTQ, but it seems to me that the effect is indeed there if you use the virtual keyboard, but I can not reproduce it by any other method.


I have had the same experience. I'm afraid I'm not that sophisticated, but I just could not get the sustain pedal to work to change the pitch at all (using Kawai VPC 1). If someone could explain exactly how to do this, step by step, as if writing for a technological illiterate, I (and perhaps a few others) would be grateful. Or maybe there really is a glitch and it just doesn't work. (?)

Amateur Standalone PTQ user; interests classical music and historic keyboards

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

Not really step-by-step, but the general idea is:

- open the MIDI tab in the Options window and then press your pedal and look at the MIDI data scrolling by
- this should tell you what midi control number is associated with your pedal
- now link that controller number to Aftertouch using the interface in the bottom left (using mouse clicks and pop-up selection menus)

That's pretty much it as far as I recall. You may want to save the settings as a new MIDI preset.

Last edited by SteveLy (04-03-2016 18:23)
3/2 = 5

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

SteveLy wrote:

...Ideally I'd like polyphonic AT but that's rare and too pricey. Any advice, suggestions from more keyboard controller savvy folks would be appreciated.

The Vax has returned with a lower priced poly AT keyboard:

http://www.vaxmidi.com

There is also the CME Xkey. But it has only 37 keys and the action is shallow. However some have written that it's actually quite playable. But I haven't read how controllable the poly AT is, i.e. is it gradual or more "on/off"? Keep in mind that some aftertouch actions are bad in this regard.

http://www.cme-pro.com/xkey37/

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

@ChrisM Thanks for that. Yeah, I saw another thread on these KBs. I cannot afford any more purchases for a while. At least I now have a KB with aftertouch, a Numa Nero; though only monophonic and no give in the keys at all; you have to press hard and then it kicks in very abruptly; maybe in time I'll better adapt to it.

But really, on the clavichord you could feel the strings stretch under your fingertips, which is very satisfying. It requires a very different action to piano. Even the size and shape of the keys are different. Probably the only realistic option is to buy an old clavichord or a kit instrument and then equip it with MIDI out. Too much work for a casual very occasional clavichord player like me. But for early music aficionados/specialists that'd be the way to go IMHO.

3/2 = 5

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Re: Clavichord aftertouch question

Thank you (rather belatedly). I tried this to the best of my limited technical ability and was unable to get any kind of pitch response. I gave up. I'm not inclined to invest in something like a Studiologic controller with keyboard aftertouch either, because it seems from other users' comments that this is not a particularly reliable or user friendly feature of PTQ.

SteveLy wrote:

Not really step-by-step, but the general idea is:

- open the MIDI tab in the Options window and then press your pedal and look at the MIDI data scrolling by
- this should tell you what midi control number is associated with your pedal
- now link that controller number to Aftertouch using the interface in the bottom left (using mouse clicks and pop-up selection menus)

That's pretty much it as far as I recall. You may want to save the settings as a new MIDI preset.

Amateur Standalone PTQ user; interests classical music and historic keyboards