Samchillian [Samchillian Tip Tip Tip Cheeepeeeee]
- Brandon Smith
- and Anne Beetem Acker
[Samchillian Tip Tip Tip Cheeepeeeee]
Music performance controller/synthesizer patented (patent no.5565641, 15 Oct 1996) by Leon Gruenbaum (b Boston, MA, 1963). Its custom software uses inputs played on an ergonomic computer keyboard, re-purposed as a musical keyboard that can be strapped around the player’s waist. Unlike static MIDI keyboard controllers, the Samchillian, called by Gruenbaum a ‘relativistic keyboard instrument’, is based on changes in pitch. The keys can denote an interval change or other functions such as changes of scale and key signature, or the addition of harmonies at set intervals. The player first selects a scale and a key signature to determine the potential set of notes. Pre-set scales include ‘diatonic’, ‘chromatic’, ‘pentatonic’, and some microtonal scales. Pressed keys cause relative movement within the scale and tonality, that is, the ‘+1’ key will sound the next note up in the scale and key signature selected, and ‘–2’ will descend two positions. This layout facilitates rapid solos of unusual pitch sequences in an extemporaneous manner with a minimum of practice and minimal hand movement. Though mainly used as a MIDI controller, the Samchillian contains a sine wave oscillator with its own audio output. While a commercial hardware version was not available in ...