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date: 13 November 2019

Ribbon controller [linear controller; fingerboard] (Fr. ruban; Ger. Bandmanual)locked

  • Brandon Smith


[linear controller; fingerboard] (Fr. ruban; Ger. Bandmanual)

Term for a control device used in some electronic instruments; a synthesizer interface. It consists of a thin strip or ribbon of electrically insulated material under which is a layer of conductive material. As the player’s finger moves along the upper strip, the conductive material makes contact with a second conductive layer, such as a bar or wire, below the first. The electrical resistance between the two layers changes in relation to where contact is made, creating a variable resistor. The resulting voltages are used to control synthesizer parameters such as pitch, filter cutoff, etc. In some instruments a pressure-sensitive layer below the ribbon, such as the mercury-filled tube in the Trautonium, permits further control over attack. An early notable example of a ribbon controller is the ‘Theremin Cello’ invented by Leon Theremin (Lev Sergeyevich Termen) in the early 1930s. The Theremin Cello is a variation of the original Theremin...

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