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Moogfest Sub-Harmonicon - What Is It?
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Author Moogfest Sub-Harmonicon - What Is It?
nashsnazzy
So I, as I'm sure many of you did, received an email explaining that this year's Moogfest engineer pass project is the Moog Sub-Harmonicon .
If you didn't receive the email you can read a bit about it on Synthopia.

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2018/03/14/moogfest-2018-engineer-pa ss-will-feature-new-sub-harmonicon-a-semi-modular-harmonic-kaleidoscop e/.

So it looks like it might feature a ribbon controller which sounds nice. I'm assuming it will be in a similar format to the Mother 32 and the DFAM. What do you all think about this instrument's potential? Will it be the same old song and dance Moog subtractive format with a ribbon?
GovernorSilver
nashsnazzy wrote:

So it looks like it might feature a ribbon controller


Not necessarily. It may be inspired by the Trautonium, but that doesn't mean it'll incorporate all the Trautonium features.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trautonium

" One of the first additions of Sala was to add a switch for changing the static tuning. Later he added a noise generator and an envelope generator (so called 'Schlagwerk'), formant filter (several bandpass filters) and the subharmonic oscillators. These oscillators generate a main pitch and several subharmonics, which are not multiples of the fundamental tone, but fractions of it. For any of the now two manuals, four of these waves can be mixed and the player can switch through these predefined settings."
TheDegenerateElite
It will have some form of percussion too.

The Schllinger system is a math derived composition and description system that never really caught on with anyone outside some Jazz circles. I think I remember about 5 sentences about it in a book from Music History somewhere. I don't think it was ever actually finished either, before the author died.


So a percussive synth with divide down sub-harmonics, maybe a ribbon.
anselmi
I think the key feature here is that it´s semi-modular, so puting this frequency dividers under CV control would open a world of moving sounds

kudos to moog for incursionate in new ideas...this thing and the DFAM are true new products that takes old ideas but reshape them into a very different beasts for the 2018 analog world...much better than still making model Ds
JakoGreyshire
Well, if it's a popular synth, then Moog will release it to the public, like they did with the DFAM. If the background story for the Sub-Harmonicon is the same as was with the DFAM, then this will probably be a synth that will have revisions added/updated for the public release that will make it better than the Moogfest edition. I reluctantly give this opinion but, I suspect that the moog engineers are normally very busy, and these VIP synths are hastily designed and made for the VIP passholders to act as beta testers..

Having said that, I F-ing want to go to Moogfest and build one!!

Moogfest is an interesting festival. There are some definite things I did not like about the festival. They are doing the best they can at the new location and the festival will get better with time and more experience. It's not an easy thing to organize and execute. For instance there are no new videos uploaded on the Moogfest youtube page.... They've had a whole f-ing year and nothing!! they recorded everything and even live streamed a bunch of stuff. So, why so not upload some stuff to the youtube?( just one tiny little thing that gripes me about the festival.. I've got more...)


Anyway... I'm trying to figure out how to get there this year and build the thing... Or I guess I'll wait for the public release if it's good... it'll probably be a cool design.


This is from the email they sent:

This year’s workshop will build the Sub-Harmonicon, a brand-new electronic instrument inspired by the Trautonium, the Rythmicon, and the Schillinger System. It is a semi-modular harmonic kaleidoscope that divides into itself until everything that is up becomes down.

[edit]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trautonium
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhythmicon
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schillinger_System
[/edit]

What does it all mean? Also, are you gonna go build it?
blt
I hope it's just a fucking huge harmonica.
GovernorSilver
Somebody complained elsewhere about the cost. Seems like he was thinking only of the synth and forgot about the workshop part.

I seem to recall the DFAM one cost a lot more than the factory release DFAM itself.
battema
Got the same email, definitely has me curious. Moog boxes IMHO are always worth a closer look.
mome rath
blt wrote:
I hope it's just a fucking huge harmonica.
Numanoid92
I hope they'll release it.. it's sure is an interesting idea and something new
TheDegenerateElite
I wish they would release the Brother first.
GovernorSilver
Dupe post, sorry.
GovernorSilver
TheDegenerateElite wrote:
I wish they would release the Brother first.


How is the BFAM different from the DFAM? Looks like they just changed "Brother" to "Drummer"
TheDegenerateElite
The two are very different.

Brother is an 960 based analog sequencer. Also the full envelope, but that's minor. This pic is actually the one from their world of synths display, the workshop one was silver, and there are images of it on an old Reverb listing that are clear, but super big.






Original Drummer for comparison - the production is a bit different.

theremin
Modern version of Rhythmicon module based on Henry Cowel's music theory.
JakoGreyshire
GovernorSilver wrote:
Somebody complained elsewhere about the cost. Seems like he was thinking only of the synth and forgot about the workshop part.

I seem to recall the DFAM one cost a lot more than the factory release DFAM itself.


It does cost quite a lot for the VIP ticket, lodging, air plane ride, rental car(because all the good lodging in Durham is taken up or really expensive).

"If" they release it to the public, one could argue that the price is not worth it for the synth and workshop time... The music acts were okay. The VIP treatment was so, so... all the other workshops were hard to attend, some of the venues were hard to attend. You really had to pick one to three things that you really wanted to do and try to make them happen....

It was really overwhelming.... ( can you tell I'm trying to talk you out of it?)

The whole experience was quite epic though... I came home with a huge smile on my face that lasted an entire month afterwards...

Now that I think about it... there were a lot of actual engineers in the DFAM class... I think there was some confusion to the general public that it was for engineers or something.... I remember one guy behind me exclaiming that it wasn't a drum machine! Anyway...
luketeaford
I use a super high square wave to divide down with NCOM/Maths/Sequential switches, etc. and derive subharmonic squares that I then further refine with filters, wave shapers. It's nice having two hooks into the pitch by changing the division of the main oscillator AND by changing the oscillator's frequency itself. I'd love to see an instrument based on these and similar ideas. I'd probably throw in one oscillator that tracks v/Oct and 2 LFOs that can go high range but don't really track well. thumbs up
JakoGreyshire
luketeaford wrote:
I use a super high square wave to divide down with NCOM/Maths/Sequential switches, etc. and derive subharmonic squares that I then further refine with filters, wave shapers. It's nice having two hooks into the pitch by changing the division of the main oscillator AND by changing the oscillator's frequency itself. I'd love to see an instrument based on these and similar ideas. I'd probably throw in one oscillator that tracks v/Oct and 2 LFOs that can go high range but don't really track well. thumbs up


That sounds cool! I'm trying to wrap my head around all of this.... Could you explain further please?
GovernorSilver
JakoGreyshire wrote:
GovernorSilver wrote:
Somebody complained elsewhere about the cost. Seems like he was thinking only of the synth and forgot about the workshop part.

I seem to recall the DFAM one cost a lot more than the factory release DFAM itself.


It was really overwhelming.... ( can you tell I'm trying to talk you out of it?)

The whole experience was quite epic though... I came home with a huge smile on my face that lasted an entire month afterwards...


I'm pretty terrible at building electronic stuff, even under supervision, so I have no intention of attending this workshop. I don't mind waiting for the official factory product, should it ever appear.
luketeaford
JakoGreyshire wrote:
luketeaford wrote:
I use a super high square wave to divide down with NCOM/Maths/Sequential switches, etc. and derive subharmonic squares that I then further refine with filters, wave shapers.


That sounds cool! I'm trying to wrap my head around all of this.... Could you explain further please?


Sure -- basically, this is how I use one oscillator to derive multiple simultaneous pitches. The simplest example is to imagine that my oscillator (OSC) is set to A5 (880Hz). OSC / 2 = A4. OSC / 3 = E4. OSC / 4 = A3. And so on through the entire subharmonic series.

NCOM lets you divide a signal by N where N is from 1-31.

So OSC stays at A5 (not being heard directly) and I change the division on NCOM with CV. Now imagine that I am also using channels 1 and 4 of a Maths to divide OSC. I'll use channel 4 to divide by 16. Now I have 55Hz square wave to use as a kick drum. I'll keep that division constant. I'll also VC Maths channel 1 rise/fall or both to change the division (usually I will sequence that or use an addressable sequencer as a quantizer and throw LFOs/random voltages into it).

Now I will continue dividing from OSC or one of the subharmonics with other Maths/Sequential Switches/Clocks etc. There are lots of ways to divide in my system.

Going a step further, I might change the frequency of my master OSC to C6. Now my kick drum is about 70Hz and all the ratios are maintained.

All subharmonics come out as squares which is a little boring, so filters and waveshapers, and effects help out with that. Also you can send the subharmonic into Maths and create sawtooth or PWM... Or if none of that is available in your system, you can clock a sequencer with one of these subharmonic squares and get back a waveshape. You can also change the step length/reset/patterns in your sequencer to create different subharmonic waveshapes FROM THAT.

You can also start building back up (creating higher frequencies) if you have rectifiers/ringmods available.

All of this is possible without oscillators that track V/Oct and without quantizers.
JakoGreyshire
applause

Noice! So, the OSC would be a square wave to begin with right? And you could divide that with maths Ch1 or 4 and use the EOC or EOR outs to get a divided square wave out... Right?

Also, I'd never seen the NCOM before so, that was over my head.... I'll check it out.


Damn, I have to wait a few days to try this all out!! THANKS!!!


Any other great ideas about these Sub-Harmonicon techniques anyone?

I feel like this is some archaic synth revivals from a mythological past....


p.s. got my tix to MF.. I'll be updating and documenting as much as I can right here..... I'll be sure to ask tons of questions...
luketeaford
JakoGreyshire wrote:
So, the OSC would be a square wave to begin with right? And you could divide that with maths Ch1 or 4 and use the EOC or EOR outs to get a divided square wave out... Right?


Exactly right, though it would also work with a saw, and if you didn't have that for some reason, you could always square up a sine wave with a VCA that lets you drive it.
Panason
Quote:
It is a semi-modular harmonic kaleidoscope that divides into itself until everything that is up becomes down.

It's like back to the 60s.
I bet Moog employees wear socks and sandals. twisted
JakoGreyshire
I've been having a lot of fun watching videos and reading about the three things that the Sub-Harmonicon are based off of.... The speculation increases as I learn more...

I got around to reading the posts that are on the synthotpia site that the OP posted.. Yeah, there are a lot of opinions about the actual moogfest and lack of things that is hard for a festival to produce or make happen... I did find it kind of strange last year... I hope it gets better this year... I was hoping that they would get some heavy modular hitters in the lineup this year, like Colin Benders would be cool... Last year I saw Susan Ciani perform. She was great! I don't know how they could top that unless they got Mort Subotnik to play.

Anyway, back to the Sub-Harmonicon.... I found this from here:

https://practicalschillinger.com/courses/the-power-of-permutations/

"The Schillinger System is a comprehensive theory of music that is both logical and mathematical. The nucleus of the system teaches procedures to compose music. Unlike a traditional musical theory, which chronicles and analyzes the history of music already written, the Schillinger System gives you tools in which to create your own music of any existing style and your own unique styles of the future."

My My!! Wondering how far they got into this beast to do mathematics? Like flip a switch and it divides or multiplies by (x) variable? That would be cool to have a set of functions that did advanced math for you.

I'm guessing that the Schillinger system will be a set of mathematical rules that will influence the the rhythms and poly rhythms of the Rhythmicon theory while simultaneously influencing the Harmonics and Sub harmonics of the Trautonium theory.... The moog synth will be mostly the Trautonium and Rhythmicon on the front end and the Schillingers system on the back end..

From the Trautonium Wiki:

-snip-"The sounds were at first produced by neon-tube relaxation oscillators [3] (later, thyratrons, then transistors), which produced sawtooth-like waveforms.[4] The pitch was determined by the amount of resistive wire chosen by the performer (allowing vibrato, quarter-tones, and portamento). The oscillator output was fed into two parallel resonant filter circuits. A footpedal controlled the volume ratio of the output of the two filters, which was sent to an amplifier."

-snip-"One of the first additions of Sala was to add a switch for changing the static tuning. Later he added a noise generator and an envelope generator (so called 'Schlagwerk'), formant filter (several bandpass filters) and the subharmonic oscillators. These oscillators generate a main pitch and several subharmonics, which are not multiples of the fundamental tone, but fractions of it. For any of the now two manuals, four of these waves can be mixed and the player can switch through these predefined settings."

I'm really hoping for two filters on this synth!! I like Formant filter stuff!!
I made a video showing some Formant sounds with the DFAM on my youtube page...

I'm not so interested in a ribbon controller unless it's a separate unit with a long patch cable....

I'm not sure.....but, I'm having a hard time seeing room for a sequencer in here.... What do you all think about that?

To round it all off, I'm hoping that Steve D. thought of a way to integrate the Mother and the DFAM into the patching theory of the Sub-Harmonicon..

Oh the patchbay..... What could it be? my precious....Whats in its pocketses? (golum voice...obviously)

razz
JakoGreyshire
Whoa!! just saw this too:

Schillinger once calculated that it would take 455 days, 2 hours, and 30 minutes to play all the combinations available on the Rhythmicon, assuming an average duration of 10 seconds for each combination.


woah


I sure hope that the Sub-Harmonicon will have multiple gate outs(like three or four of them) to give the Rhythmicon side of the Sub-Harmonicon's poly-rhythms to the rest of the modular environment..

I could be asking too much here maybe, but if the synth is doing massive amounts of poly-rhythms then having massive amounts of gate/trigger outs would be cool..
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