Speaking of futuristic instrumental design, the Eigenharp – an instrument that looks like the bassoon was redesigned by Vulcans – brings two big developments with its appearance this week in the Bay Area of California. First off, if you’ve doubted its utility in musical practice and you’re a fan of American minimalism, we’re treated to it covering the music of Philip Glass’ landmark Koyaanisqatsi. Geert Bevin, Eigenlabs’ Senior Software Developer, explains how he did it:

I’m using SonicCouture’s Glass/Works Kontakt instrument in a four-part multi-timbral setup in Native Instruments Kontakt. Each key individually controls pitch, velocity and the resonance of the convolution filter cut-off frequency (which creates a faint scraping-like sound).

The vocals are done through the DPA microphone that’s clipped onto the breath pipe and plugged into the Eigenharp Alpha. It uses the built-in Eigenharp Alpha pre-amp and is routed through a series of Audio Unit effects in EigenD for pitch shifting, stereo spreading, EQ and
compression. I’m monitoring directly from the headphone output of the Eigenharp Alpha with my Etymotic ER-4P earphones.

The single instrument cables carries all the information, data and audio, in both directions.

Geert has good news for those who hope to modify the software, or see it become a platform on which other instrumental innovation can happen. As originally promised, key components of the software are now covered by the GPLv3. It’s not the whole software stack, but I think it’s the stuff that most matters. Full details:


I can imagine this will open up some new possibilities for the Eigenharp’s dedicated band of players to mod the instrument for their own needs. But players, I’d love to hear from you – does the GPL here matter to you? Will you be able to dig into the code, or know someone who could? (Or want to try to motivate developers to do so?)