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O-Bow A bow sensor musical instrument

O-Bow, a new electronic bow sensor for making music:

The O-Bow is an electronic musical instrument consisting a bow sensor and synthesis software. An optical flow sensor is used to measure the bow speed and horizontal angle with high resolution. A variety of bow types can be tracked, including violin bows and wooden sticks.

Development of the O-Bow was prompted by the obvious need for something like a windcontroller but for string instruments. Increasing amounts of orchestral music in tv and film is produced using sophistocated sample based instruments played using keyboards. String sounds are some of the hardest to generate convincingly because of the variety of possible expression. The initial aim for the O-Bow was to find a way to add more expression in this setting. It is also expected to be popular for live performance and in education. Because it is electronic there are no restrictions on what kind of bowed sound might be produced.

New feature summary:

– robust tracking from low to high speeds.
– bow contact parameter, enables ringing string sound when bow is removed while bowing.
– all communication is using the USB-MIDI protocol providing immediate connection to music software.
– cylindrical casing design for flexible configuration and orientation, for example using standard mic holder.
– contact saddle manufactured from optimized CAD design, for bow engagement and tracking.
– software moved to the Native Instruments Kontakt platform. The script language is strong enough to implement all the O-Bow features. This allows the O-Bow to operate as a virtual instrument in a wide variety of music software.
– manipulations are possible on the control data directly in a sequencer.
– speed to gain warping for a variety of playing feel.
– new violin sample recordings, including ringing. The samples are for prototyping puposes only- fully professional samples will be incorporated later.

More photographs and information here!


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