Belcanto from external MIDI source?

Hello all, I live in Austria and I am new to Eigenharp. I have a Pico for a week now and try to learn basic techniques in Workbench.

I would like to configure some functions of EigenD by sending Belcanto note phrases from Max/MSP and/or Logic. Is this possible?

If yes, can someone tell me the necessary objects and cabling, beginning from a Workbench MIDI input?

Unfortunately the documentation is rather sparse.

Hi, welcome!
Have never tried this. But each belcanto word has a corresponding note sequence. And the interpreter agent has a key input. My guess would be that with the T3d device (OSC from Max) or the MIDI input object (MIDI from Max) you should be able to talk Belcanto to EigenD.
The usual way to talk Belcanto to EigenD is to use a talker agent, which allows you to bind Belcanto sentences to Eigenharp keys. And on can talk Belcanto to EigenD by playing the corresponding notes on the Eigenharp. (Legendary Eigenharp players from the past apparently were good enough with that to create the default setups for EigenD 1 that way… :slight_smile: )

P.S.: Another option: You can use the command line tool brpc to send Belcanto directly to an interpreter:
http://www.eigenlabs.com/wiki/2.0/Command_line_tools_guide/
Might be usable with the Max shell object: https://cycling74.com/tools/bernstein-shell/

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  1. Sending from Max via [shell] would be an option, but the examples in your link are for Windows and I have no idea how to type them on Mac.

  2. Starting by playing Belcanto note phrases on the Pico would be a great start, but the method described in the documentation doesn’t work and I don’t have enough knowledge yet to patch it from scratch in Workbench.

  3. I think playing Belcanto notes on the Pico or sending them via MIDI are similar processes in Workbench. At the moment I have Logic running, it sends some Belcanto note phrases in a loop and I think I should see some reaction in the commander. I don’t.

I know that I receive the notes because I can assign them to a talker and speak some Belcanto.

But I am pretty sure that the simple patch below is not enough to execute incoming Belcanto note phrases:


Which objects do I have to use?

(This is really tough stuff, feels like learning Max without reference and helpfiles …)

Ive not tried this before with midi… however, I did (quite a while back) manage to be able to play belcanto in from the eigenharp.

If I was doing this, I definitely start by getting it to work from the eigenharp, so you know you’re heading in the right direction - and that its not some quirk with midi (which it might well be, as I don’t know of anyone that’s tried this before!)

however, I think @NothanUmber is completely correct, sending belanto via rpc is the much better way to integrate with something like max/msp , since you wont need to worry about the whole ‘note number’ stuff (which is a nightmare) you can just send belcanto statements - and that is hard enough!

For playing Belcanto with the Eigenharp: have a look at the Alpha “1 (1 Split Standard Setup)” setup and look how the interpreter is connected up. You can load the Tau and Alpha setups without a Tau or Alpha being connected, just the Alpha and Tau agents themselves will be invisible.
If you place a MIDI in or T3d in agent instead of the Alpha/Tau/Pico agent then chances are good that it works via MIDI/OSC from Max also (but rpc would be better, as @thetechnobear mentioned) . The standard setups can be a little bit daunting - but they are quite educative, using almost all available EigenD features in one setup :slight_smile:
I honestly haven’t changed my EigenD setups for years, so I also have to re-familiarize myself.
These docus from the Eigenlabs homepage are probably the best you can get:
http://www.eigenlabs.com/wiki/2.0/Workbench/
http://www.eigenlabs.com/wiki/2.0/The_EigenD_Reference/
http://www.eigenlabs.com/wiki/2.0/Belcanto/

The Alpha setup was a good idea and by adding a MIDI input I finally got some response in eigencommander. But it was garbage, not what I sent from the outside. I give up, I will not get this running in a reasonable time.

Well, even if it would work somehow, maintaining note phrases in other programs isn’t much fun either. After learning a little in Workbench, my Plan B is to make a couple of large talkers after the MIDI input(s) and trigger actions with single notes.

The reason for the whole effort is, that I do not want to switch everything directly from the instrument. I have a lot to control in my setup and need to do this from just a few places. I send MIDI controllers, sysex and notes to software and hardware. The notes for Eigenharp Belcanto should be part of my “setup language” which is actively spoken by Max, Logic and a Gordius controller.

Regarding the EigenD Docs and Tutorials, I think I found all of them but they don’t help after the very first steps.

Yes, in all but the most sophisticated scenarios (e.g. generating dynamic belcanto on the fly) talkers should do the trick.
The keygroups in the Alpha setup are configured for the physical layout of an Alpha with (by default) a diatonic scale on it via a scaler. There are talkers that change the scale in the scaler to chromatic. So both the keygroup as well as the scaler would have to be adapted for your setup.

yeah, I think going via talkers is a simpler approach…

what are you trying to do exactly?

what do you mean by ‘everything’?

belcanto is mainly used for reconfiguring things like keygroups, or creating rigs … as you say creating setups.

for simpler stuff (switching octaves, activating different keygroups) most of this is done via talkers.

I cannot really see it being that useful to try to program a setup via midi, even if it did work, it’d be really cumbersome, and very slow (compared to loading a different setup) - I dont really seem practical benefit to it, even if it was to centralise your setup.

many of us that are trying to have a more centralised setup, tend to move most of the hosting/translation logic into a daw/max or whatever - you could relegate the eigenharp to a controller if you wanted, just take the raw key outputs, and send midi to set the less … that way your daw/max would be in full control.

as i say, really depends what your goals are.

Short story:
Think of “frame compositions” where a DAW supports instruments, audio routing/mixing and sound effects for the several performance parts. Involved may be MIDI guitar, Seaboard, a Pico, a Hardware Synth, effect boxes, software instruments and some real instruments. The sounds are predefined and the DAW delivers the basic technical configurations while it runs along the timeline. Individual switching is done via a Gordius controller. The musician would just pickup the instrument and play. Theoretically.

I already collect some MIDI streams, for example from the MIDI guitar, and process them in Max since I lost my good hardware converters. I did the same with Yamaha WX7/5 windcontrollers. But with the Pico, hmm, I get the feeling, that using some of the performance-wise important features should be used on the instrument itself. More accurate, more sensitive. But not the settings, I am really bad in remembering multiple device-dependent key combinations for a technical setup. I thought Belcanto would be a simple solution to setup whatever I want from within the DAW, but obviously it is not, in this case. You are right, talkers are a much better way for me.

I am aware that I need to learn what to do on the Pico and what in the DAW. This will take a while. I played just a few hours on it, just enough to learn that it is neither a keyboard nor a windcontroller but both :slight_smile:

I play with and without a timeline, and lately my choice is to let Gig Performer handle ALL my controllers AND sound sources, either plugins or hardware (sound modules, keyboards/synths) as well audio and MIDI rounding - per song, per song part; GigPerformer has an Audio player - backing tracks/phrase samples kind of.

Well, your milage varies, as usual. I tried GigPerformer in 2018 and at the first glance it was the best plugin host I’ve ever seen, and I tried almost all on the market. But it did not work well for me. Sometimes I have too many plugins and need containers which were not supported. And I did not like the auto-scaling graphics instead of a generous workspace.

I finally settled on three programs which I use alone or in combinations:
Logic, Max and Bidule.

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