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Musical Klaxxon Design Concept
kaisersozehongbatemp Posted: 19 Apr 2021, 12:04 AM
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The Dadaist manifesto, The Art of Noise, refers specifically to the noble klaxxon as a tone to be explored in this new music.
Small, powerful, efficient, the oscillator at its core is simple.
A motor turns a disk, the disk is warped with undulations parallel to the axis of rotation, frilled, so that as the motor turns, a sprung needle pressed against the disk surface oscillates a diaphragm, which excites a horn.
Putting the horn to one side...the package is very small...and with the horn, very, very loud. It's efficiently turning the rotation of the motor into sound.
One could imagine replacing the motor with a high torque, micro controlled stepper motor. Rather than sourcing sound from the frequency of the operating pulse wave (although a potential harmoniser/fm source) the waveform is this electro mechanical oscillation, defined by the speed of the rotation and the shape of the disk.
You could also source mechanical oscillations from simple gears by turning the diaphragm edge on.

OK that's really loud, possibly pitchable, how then could it be musical?

Well, klaxxons are, by design, operating at about the same frequencies as an animal call, albeit it at a cuckolded seal's roar of complaint. If you put one in a padded box, such that sound could only escape through a tube, and then modelled the dimensions of the tube on a human vocal tract, you could get the box to sing an 'eeeeee'. If you could fabricate efficient programmable tube stoppers, you could add more formants, and potentially use mitxela's slide whistle technology to make dipthongs. Acoustic wah wahs (Wuh wuhs, etc)

It might just be a funky mono clavicord, but should the emerging sound be mellifluous, one could do multi passes of different harmonies of God Only Knows, but now with vowels!



Last edit by kaisersozehongbatemp at 19 Apr 2021, 12:04 AM

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mit Posted: 21 Apr 2021, 06:04 AM
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yeah whatever

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I see.

This might be the first use of the word "mellifluous" in such close proximity to "klaxxon".

Instead of stepper motors, you could use DJ turntables for your undulating disk. I'm not sure the result would be that mellifluous though.

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kaisersozehongbatemp Posted: 22 Apr 2021, 02:04 AM
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EDIT: I have to add, it'd be about as melifluous as a sliding whistle.
I don't understand how you could use DJ turntables. Because you can vary the motor's speed, slightly?
The grooves on a record are on the wrong axis...you'd need a centimetres thick vinyl with the oscillations moving towards and away from the surface - your suggestion implies that your 'I see' assertion is misplaced.
If you need help conceptualising how klaxxons work, it's not quite like a phonograph, technology connections has an excellent deep dive
https://youtu.be/adD5oC2asXI
It's not at all patronising.


Last edit by kaisersozehongbatemp at 22 Apr 2021, 10:04 PM

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kaisersozehongbatemp Posted: 22 Apr 2021, 08:04 PM
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QUOTE (mit)

I see.

This might be the first use of the word "mellifluous" in such close proximity to "klaxxon".

Instead of stepper motors, you could use DJ turntables for your undulating disk. I'm not sure the result would be that mellifluous though.

The whole thng could be laughably unviable, but on reflection, I bear some responsibility for your ignorance here, I should ensure you understand the concept before drawing conclusions about your response. Let me try again using your record analogy.
Imagine the wrapper from a cupcake. Lay it as flat as you can, and then hold it up, by the axis of the circle, between finger and thumb. Viewed edge on, there remains a concertina pattern. If you take your other hand, and rotate the circle about the axis held by your finger and thumb, again viewed edge on, you will see that the concertina pattern forms an undulating edge. The movement of this undulation, and the amplitude of this wave, is along the same line that you are rotating the disk around.
So, if you lay the disk on a gramophone, the needle would move up and down, not left and right.
Let's take the bend in the needle (assuming you know how gramophones work) and unbend it, turning the whole arrangement so the needle goes straight up to the diaphragm. The diaphragm is horizontal, on the same plane as the rotating disk, and there is a much more efficient transfer of the energy used to rotate the disk, to the oscillating movement of the diaphragm; not least because you're able to make waves of much larger amplitude than a conventional arrangement would allow.
You can imagine fabricating a wrapper with tracks of different rates of oscillation, A SMOOTHER, LESS HARMONICALLY RICH WAVEFORM, perhaps a chromatic octave at 45 and another band producing a lower octave at 33 1/3 - moving the needle about as required.
Then, yes, you could use a "DJ's turntable" - but wouldn't it be easier to stick with one 'track' and just change the speed of rotation?

Last edit by kaisersozehongbatemp at 22 Apr 2021, 10:04 PM

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mit Posted: 23 Apr 2021, 11:04 AM
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I understand how a klaxon works, what I meant was that the disk could be driven with a free coupling that would let a human player interact with the speed of rotation, a la scratching a record. Just a stupid idea...

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kaisersozehongbatemp Posted: 23 Apr 2021, 09:04 PM
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QUOTE (mit)
I understand how a klaxon works, what I meant was that the disk could be driven with a free coupling that would let a human player interact with the speed of rotation, a la scratching a record. Just a stupid idea...
If that's true, I owe you an apology. I am sorry. It's a 'slipmat' in the parlance. It might be really handy to disengage the diaphragm when changing pitch. Although I don't see how it fits into the oscillator I originally described, the idea of physically interacting with the mechanics of a digitally controlled, perhaps sequenced, acoustic oscillator is really interesting. Anything that can add human expression to a mechanically derived noise is a potential canvas, right?
I was in a band with an avid percussionist, he showed me how they will physically manipulate the resonance of what they're hitting with the non-hitting hand. So playing a triangle, they are using the grip of the holding hand to change the length of the note and vary the tone of ghost notes. A shaker, their cupped hand is opening and closing along with the groove, to filter the sound.
You can get a bit of a wah from a small keyboard, by holding your cupped hand over the speaker and opening a gap. But there's an idea somewhere here, if somehow, you could mute and control the ring of an acoustic oscillator...that might be a giggle.
Maybe not a 'bad idea'
Just take away this . Digitally controlling acoustic resonators; for example, changing the length of a tube through which your sound is exiting as a functional variable resonator; this seems an obvious and fruitful seam to mine, and something that builds directly on your sliding whistle work. Acoustic resonators are filters, you may well think of better mechanisms to explore that.


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