Harfenbau Bernhard Schmidt

The next step in harp evolution ...

is the MIDI harp with the sophisticated, advanced technology of frequency recognition (with transient early recognition) MIDI controller.


Thanks to the cooperation with Terratec, it is now possible for the first time to present a harp with MIDI harp controller on the basis of frequency analysis, using their modified Axon technology. This makes possible the conversion into MIDI data at extremely high speed with no noticeable delay (only 3 - 5 ms).
The most-outstanding characteristics and advantages of this unique MIDI harp controller system for harps are:

  • Several important acoustic parameters are recognised simultaneously and converted into MIDI data.
  • In addition to the tone frequency, a change in the tone frequency, the tone duration, the amplitude (loudness) and even the string pluck position are recognised.

This is sensational for a MIDI harp system.

 


This MIDI harp system provides the harpist with the same playing abilities as when playing an acoustic harp.

Only because of the frequency-recognition system can the sharping levers be used normally, and even the popular 'lever sliding' is possible. Indeed, the so-called "bottle-neck" playing style (sliding on the string) works. The controller provides pitch-bend data which enables the tone frequency output to follow changes continuously.

Recognition of the amplitude gives the harpist full control over the playing dynamics, just as with an acoustic harp.

Recognition of the plucking position opens completely new possibilities because one can freely program this function to control sound parameters, for example, as filter, or even a preset (instrument) change is possible by selecting the pluck position on a given string.

The MIDI harp is equipped with one individually selected pickup per string. Several preamplifiers are installed in the solid harp body and specially matched to the pickups. This makes the harp not only a MIDI harp, but it can also be used as an excellent electro-harp – to be played separately or with both modes mixed together, depending on your choice and creativity.

The total number of strings is divided into several ranges; 3 or 4 (e.g. bass, low-middle, high-middle and treble) have proven useful. Each range is assigned its own preamp which is fed to its own monaural output, and additionally to a combined stereo output.
The volume of each audio range can be adjusted separately, directly at the harp. By having one output for each range, it is possible to adapt the frequency settings for each range in an external equalizer to enhance clarity and transparency for the complete tonal range.
This is ideal for studios and mixing at live performances!

The MIDI part of the harp is also configured with independent bass and treble ranges (up to four ranges are possible, each with its own MIDI controller !), to enable assignment of different sounds to each range at the same time.
The volume of the MIDI ranges can also be adjusted separately at the harp.
With a 3-way toggle switch for each range at the harp, one can select whether the sounds in that range are to be played as an electro-harp, as MIDI or a mixture of the two, enabling very diverse playing combinations.

Each of the MIDI controllers has an integrated soundboard (synthesizer), which is another compelling feature of the MIDI harp.
Each controller has more than 500 sample layer sounds, including ten powerful drum kits and an SFX kit. All sounds are both GM and XG-sound compatible. Painstakingly sound-designed for professional use: each controller offers 128 voices and thus plenty of polyphonic power for even very large program layers.
The MIDI controller is able to directly access 256 onboard presets comprising 128 freely programmable user presets and 128 factory presets, as well as external sound generators such as samplers and synthesizers.
The integrated Arpeggiator provides the system with another powerful feature, and optional pedals and switches may be connected to add effects and extend the tonal palette even further.

____________


With all that, the MIDI controller brings unprecedented sound-shaping versatility to the harpist.

There is a standard MIDI-out connector for:

  • external synthesizer,
  • plugging into a computer,
  • play/control a software sample player, other sound modules,
  • software notation programs such as Finale or Sibelius,
  • recording MIDI output signals with a Digital Audio Workstation.

 

The harp is built as a so-called "solid-body" instrument, which means it has no resonance body. This also means that the harp can be used for practising with almost no sound being produced – so the neighbours won't be disturbed – while listening on headphones to what's being played: an integrated headphone amplifier makes it possible to hear either the audio or the MIDI output.

The external MIDI controllers are mounted in a rack including all necessary parts and wiring, and are ready to use.

Actually using all these technical features is very user-friendly, much easier than you might expect. But it's good to know what options are available, and that – thanks to this very professional MIDI system – one will not be limited either creatively or technically.

It is very easy to play the MIDI harp successfully, right from the start:

  • Plug the stereo output into your amplifier to play as an electro-harp.
     
  • To play as a MIDI harp with the synthesized sounds of the controller's soundboard, plug the audio output (stereo) into your amplifier and select any desired preset on the controller.
     
  • To connect the MIDI harp to a PC or MAC, plug the standard MIDI output into a MIDI interface (for example, an inexpensive USB MIDI device).

 

The configuration of the Midi/electro harp                 

  • configurated with stereo out ,
  • 4 audio subout (the four ranges are trebbel,high mid- range, low mid-range, bass),
  • 2 seperate configurated MIDIcontroller,
  • 2 MIDI ranges(trebbel, bass)

 

Read more about the MIDI harp projekt  Here