EWI demo MIDI real-time Harmonizer

Amsterdam-based sax and EWI player Itai Weissman tested out the MIDI real-time Harmonizer. Besides the MIDI real-time Harmonizer itself, the setup on the Mac includes Logic and the ES2 synthesizer. I did a couple of ES2 sounds for Itai to try out with the MIDI Harmonizer. Also I programmed the Logic Environment which is used to switch the MH effect on and off with a MIDI CC message coming from one of the switches on the EWI.

Go to the downloads section to have a look at the features of the MIDI real-time Harmonizer.

Eastern sounds with Eli Benacot

Obviously the MIDI Harmonizer was developed with Michael Brecker's EWI usage of Oberheim Xpander sound patches with rotating oscillators in mind. Here is a recording from Eli Benacot from his album Hybrid Connections. You can here the MIDI Harmonizer in action.

Brass arrangements with Aaron Todd

In this video Aaron Todd is demonstrating the MIDI Harmonizer. Each note of the chord that is generated by MH is routed to a different MIDI channel with a different horn sound on each channel. Aaron is also using the harmonizing function to force the notes into the right scales when playing and improvising. When the scale goes a half step up or down, Aaron is switching the harmonizer to a new scale to make sure the (rotating) notes all fit into the right scale. Nicely done!

Lush soundscapes with MIDI Harmonizer

You can use the MIDI Harmonizer to generate 4-note chords in a seamlessly random manner by playing a single note melody line. Most of the times you would program MH to just hang 3 notes underneath the top note, in many cases the top note being equal to the played (melody) note.
I got a nice example from 'the lensman' that created the following track using the MIDI Harmonizer together with Propellerhead Record/Reason:

Lushly chords are being triggered by playing a slow moving solo line on top of a nice rhythmical cadence. Nice job Mr. Lensman!

Some McLaughlin fusion

In this video I play drums, synth and EWI including the MIDI Harmonizer. It's a music piece called 'Jazz', a Mahavishnu Orchestra tune. Gear used: Akai EWI with Wallander Instruments WIVI band, Roland TD-4 drums with Toontrack EZdrummer 2, Moog Sub 37, and a bunch of UAD effects including Pultec EQ, DBX 160 drum compression, Lexicon 224 reverb, EMT 140 plate, multiband compression and limiting.

MIDI harmonizer

midiharmAfter experimenting with the MAX platform from Cycling74, I finally released my first application: the MIDI real-time harmonizer. With the MIDI harmonizer you can convert any note you play on your keyboard, EWI or controller into a 4-note chord in real-time. An amount of surprise can be brought into play by allowing different chord types to be generated every time you hit a note.

 

You can read all about it in the Tools section.

 

MIDI real-time Harmonizer version 3 coming up

MHMIDI

Since the release of version 2 of the MIDI Harmonizer, I got a lot of requests from many users, in particular EWI players. Since then I've been working to include all kinds of new features into the MIDI Harmonizer. During the coming months I will release version 3, which I'm testing at the moment. Apart from a number of new functions and MIDI cc functions, the most exciting to me are the forcing of non-harmonic notes to fit into selected scales as well as the possibility to set the MIDI channel for each individual note in the 4-note harmonized chord. Read more...

Read more: MIDI real-time Harmonizer version 3 coming up

MIDI real-time Harmonizer version 2 released

I'm proud to announce that version 2 of the MIDI real-time Harmonizer software is available. I had a lot of fun with the MIDI Harmonizer the last couple of months. I think it's a great tool for improvising since you can have the MIDI Harmonizer generate unexpected harmonic additions to your solo, while at the same time you can restrict the harmonics to sound within key/scale and influence this in real-time as you play. An interesting way of inside/outside harmonic playing.

 

I made a demonstration video of the MIDI Harmonizer version 2. In this video I explain how the MIDI Harmonizer is working. From 7:00 and further, you see a live demo of the MIDI Harmonizer. Note that the live video image is lagging behind a bit to the actual audio. In the MIDI Harmonizer window you can see what's going on while I play a demo tune. I bypass the harmonizer now and then, and also use key switches in the lower part of the keyboard to switch to the right key/scale while I play the solo line.

Go to the downloads menu to have a look at all of it's features and/or buy a copy of the MIDI real-time Harmonizer V2.

MIDI real-time Harmonizer version 2 coming up

harmonizerV2I'm currently testing a new version of the MIDI real-time Harmonizer. I'm really excited about this new release. Expected release date is june 8, 2010. This new version does not only allow you to program your own 4-note chords, but also allows you to harmonize these chords towards any key and/or scale in real-time. By designating a special (lower) keyboard area to be used as key switches, you can switch to have your chords harmonized towards a particular programmable key/scale.

 

This will make the new MIDI Harmonizer a great tool for keyboard players to enhance their solo lines, for EWI players to run it on a PC/Mac on stage and beef up their performance, and for DJs to play powerchords that will always fit to the music that they play. Click on the picture for a large view.

Here is a summary of some of the new features in version 2 of the MIDI Harmonizer:
- force programmable chords to fit a certain key/scale including tensions
- both overall bypass as well as key/scale forcing can be switched on/off on a keyboard/controller during performance
- primairy scales include major, minor and dominant
- tensions include lowered/raised 5th, major 7th, lowered/raised 9th and raised 11th
- 12 key switches with any key/scale including tensions can be programmed within each preset
- real-time switching of key/scale using key switches in lower keyboard area (below C1, C2 or C3)
- real-time switching of key/scale by using chromatic above/below or below/above approach while playing (e.g. playing f#,e,f or e,f#,f in a solo can be used to switch to key/scale programmed for F)
- ability to set MIDI output channel
- ability to save 128 presets (8 presets in 16 banks) including MIDI program change recognition

 

But how does it sound?
I made a short demo. In this demo I play a one note solo all the time. I use the key switches by playing keys on the keyboard below C3 to switch to the right key/scale during the solo. In this way the solo is real-time harmonized to the right key/scale. The 4-note chords that I have programmed provide some contra-motion in the harmonies as to prevent the use of static parallel harmonised lines. Further on in the demo I also demonstrate the MIDI Harmonizer as a perfect tool for (live) comping. The synth used for the solo is a Logic ES2 synth on top of a Jazz drum (Apple) loop, Trilogy bass and Ivory Grand, creamed up with some UAD EMT250 verb.

{audio}mp3files/Harmonizer V2 demo.mp3{/audio}

MIDI Harmonizer overview

EWI4000During the beginning of 2010 I started developing a MIDI real-time harmonizer. I always wanted to experiment with generating additional and unexpected notes during live performance. Influenced by saxophonist and EWI player Michael Brecker, I came up with the MIDI harmonizer. Basically, the MIDI harmoniser will take an input note via MIDI and will generate a 4-note chord as MIDI output. In the MIDI harmoniser you can program 8 different chords that will be played one at a time, each time you play a note. In later versions I have added the possibility to harmonize these chords to specific keys/scales.
 
 
The MIDI harmonizer is a stand-alone application that can run both on Mac as well as on PC. Under the hood, the MIDI harmonizer is based on the Max platform of Cycling74. Typically the MIDI harmoniser can be used both in the studio running on your favorite Digital Audio Workstation, as well as on stage running on a PC or Mac. It will sit between the input MIDI signal coming from your instrument and the MIDI output signal going to your synthesizer or plug-in instrument. The MIDI input and output signals can be real physical MIDI ports as well as virtual ports within your computer. Physical ports are used for real physical MIDI inputs coming from your keyboard or wind controller. Physical outputs could be used to drive external synthesizers for example. Virtual ports are used to route the MIDI signal to other applications running on your computer like Pro Tools, Logic or Live.

About me

I like music, especially making music. I listen to a lot of different stuff, but I like soul, jazz and fusion music most. I like to develop and experiment with tools to make music performance and improvisation on the spot more exciting. It is fun when unexpected musical things happen during a performance!

In recent years I developed the MIDI real-time Harmonizer, a tool for generating harmonized chords when playing a solo line. Inspired by the work of saxophonist Michael Brecker, I started to develop this tool to run on Mac and PC. Brecker played the Electronic Wind Instrument and used the Oberheim Xpander synth to generate random chords from an EWI solo line. Now you can accomplish the same thing with the MIDI real-time Harmonizer driving your own favourite (plugin) synths.

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