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"Elegant City" Jay Wasco - Fractal Harp ~

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Published on Oct 12, 2015

“Elegant City” featuring The Fractal Harp Mark2
The tune features the newly minted upright version of the Fractal Harp. This performance was tracked live, in real-time keeping the intro/top of the piece (written on the instrument (s)) somewhat sparse and basic so you’d get the gist of what the Fractal Harp is and how it works.

The Fractal Harp Mark2: The new prototype features a 28-string pivoting slide harp/guitar  ergonomically fused with a 5-string bass guitar, midi keyboard and other elements, bringing the ability to produce fully realized music in real time. It's a combined, updated descendant of the Swiss Army Bass, The Egotar and The original Fractal Harp. see www.jaysmuseum.com

The Harp: The player’s right hand controls the pivoting slide/bridge while simultaneously picking, plucking and effecting pitch and modulation. The slide brings the harp's relative notes and scales through exponentially fluid chromatic increments. Additionally, a foot pedal acts independently on specific harp strings in order to bend/manipulate pitch and intervals in a way reminiscent of a pedal steel guitar. Single or two-handed play is possible and allow for the simultaneous playing of other instruments manipulation and effects.  
The range of expression possible when weighted with the simplicity of the design is noteworthy.
The harp uses standard electric guitar strings with a 14 inch wide custom built pickup mounted close to the upper bridge.
The proximity of accompanying musical instrument elements has evolved while the slide and midi have been significantly refined since the last prototype visible in various situations seen here - http://www.jaysmuseum.com/vidlobby.htm
The harp also employs a midi system on its lowest strings comprised of piezo transducers acting as triggers. These function from independent strings and are used to generate real time/simultaneous drum and percussion arrangements on the fly matching & rhythmically mirroring that of the harp. Drum/percussive sounds and dynamics are determined by the specific string played and how hard it’s picked/strummed/plucked (via midi velocity). The system works with corresponding software I’ve battled evil little computers to develop. There’s also a separate set of triggers (long oak keys) between the keyboard and the harp playing the many cymbal swells on this particular piece.
5 String Hammer Bass: It’s comprised of solid oak includes a pitch to midi out function applied selectively and sparingly using a momentary switch enabling the player (yes, that would be me) to engage midi assist ONLY on specific notes. In the case of the video here, the power chord/clusters throughout the song’s middle 8 section (2:20) with hits at 2:32 are examples.

Keys: The keyboard/usb controller is crowned with oak overlays giving weighty substance to the minimal plastic keys beneath (I still don’t get why keyboards are made of black and white plastic) I’ve developed several complex sample patches/sounds for my collection of custom instruments over the past few years some of which you hear in this video (if only briefly on the tunes middle 8 section- 2:20) featuring the Takamine acoustic part that comes in at the top of the final section.
The Herb-Alpertron: The melodic horn melody part of this piece sound is created using a simple pitch to midi converter controlling a sample patch I’ve created that allowing me to actually sing the trumpet part. Though fairly basic, the setup strangely mirrors the complex and expressive interval series between notes produced by actual horn /wind instruments.

Looking forward to cranking out a lot of music on this but my mind is already drifting to improvements on the next one. Hope you enjoy the music.
Cheers
Jay
more info http://jaysmuseum.com/

PS - yes, those ARE little hands on the bass tuning pegs

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