Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Player Dulcimer

I have this hammered dulcimer sitting in the corner that I've been meaning to play more. It's a beautiful instrument, and it makes a beautiful tone, but I go through these periods of musical drought where I don't play anything, and then it just gathers dust. Plus, I have noticed that playing it exacerbates my wrist problems, so I can't play it for very long. So.... what to do?

As I was cruising, one of my favorite surplus electronics websites (yes, I have more than one), I came across this page:

Isn't that just the cutest little spring-return solenoid you ever saw?

So I thought, hey, I could put little hammers on the ends of these things, suspend them above the dulcimer in a frame, connect a MIDI-to-parallel interface, plug in a computer filled with Christmas carols and reels, and voila, instanct Celtic charm. This is quite similar to my player pipe organ that I built earlier - the only difference is that these are little bangy things instead of little openy things. I already have the MIDI-to-parallel board, since I have no room for the organ in the new house. All I need are the solenoids (on order), and the computer (well, we have a bunch of those...) , and the frame, which shouldn't be too difficult.

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