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Game Controller MIDI

Expression controllers can make synthesized instruments sound much better, but they're generally pretty expensive. For example, the breath controller I've been playing with cost me EUR 132. There's nothing fundamentally expensive about it, just a low volume product. Which got me thinking: is there some commonly mass produced device that gives a smooth range of outputs? What about a game controller?

I've never been into console gaming so I don't know much about controllers, but after looking at some pictures it looked like the PS4 one is well laid out for joystick use, so I ordered one ($26, shipped):

It connects via USB, and pygame can read from it out of the box:

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Predictable Parenting

(As with anything else I write about parenting, this is mostly just my observations with my own two kids and may not generalize as well as I think it does.)

In my model of parenting, one of the most important things is that your kid can predict how you're going to respond to things. Otherwise you get:

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Increasingly OK with Singular They

Six years ago, in 2012, I wrote a post where I made a continuum of examples of singular 'they' usage. Selections:
At the time I made the list I wrote:
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Trying a Breath Controller

So far I've been using the AXIS-49 like a keyboard: it's velocity sensitive, so this works reasonably well. Here's an example of me imitating an accordion:

This isn't as expressive as I'd like, however, because once I've begun a note the only thing I can do is choose when to end it. I can't swell or fade, it just stays at constant volume until I lift my finger. So I got a breath controller:

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Dance Weekend Update

A few weeks ago I posted that I was thinking about organizing a contra dance weekend in Boston. A lot of things are still up in the air, but here's what I have so far:
  • Signed contract for the Cambridge Masonic Hall, Friday 2019-03-22 through Sunday 2019-03-24.

  • The Free Raisins (me, Audrey, Amy) booked to play.

  • Derek Kalish running sound.

  • Gender free (Larks/Ravens) calling.

  • Non-residential; snacks but no meals.

  • Sliding scale admission.

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Rearranging Axis-49 Keys

As I wrote before, the Axis-49 comes with a Harmonic Table layout, but I want to use it with Wicki-Hayden. I wrote some code to remap the keys, but the colors on the keys now made no sense. I decided to move the keys around into a better pattern.

I took out the four corner screws, letting me get the lid off:

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