Well, having looked through the resources I was kindly given I decided I hadn’t a clue what they were or what to do with them! No hard and fast rules about what software or hardware to use, I pressed on and decided to have a go at pairing the game-trak we were given with some modular software that was compatible with my PC and hopefully with the controller. I downloaded VCV Rack modular synthesizer and plugged the game-trak in. It worked! Simultaneous sense of achievement and relief at such a simple thing may not blight others but after fiddling about for so long without success, this was a breakthrough!
I selected a ‘MIDI CC’ (continuous controller) MIDI bridge, which was included in the rack as an interface, selected an oscillator to start experimenting, then patched the control from the interface into the 1 volt per octave (v/oct) input of the Oscillator’s frequency voltage control. (Fig. 1.)
Each string of the Game-trak offers 3 channels of control: X, Y and Z axis. The first 3 channels of the interface corresponded to the planes of the left hand string control. I selected channel 3 to assign the pitch to the Z plane as this was the up and down movement of the string. This felt more natural in terms of movement.
Although there are 3 channels of control, the whole of the capability of the string control under these parameters was not being used and so to gain another 3 channels on the left hand string I had to use an ‘Attenuverter’ module. (See Fig. 2.) This enables the 6 channels of control by setting a zero voltage point at the central position of each axis and used a +/- voltage to control other modules.
Further Attenuverters were used to convert the voltage from negative to positive and vice versa as required. (See fig. 3.)
For the right hand string controller on the Game-trak, I have repeated the above and have created several patches to control sequencers, utilities, LFO’s, samples, graintables and oscillators, plus sound elements such as timbre, harmonic content, filters, sequencers and clock rates etc. (See Fig. 4.) I have yet to get to grips with the foot pedal though and cannot get that to yield! Anyway, onwards and upward from the techy bit, now to get composing. More soon about the inspiration for the piece….