A small handpan that offers a wide range of musical possibilities to users has been devised by Barcelona-based performers. Jim Drury reports.
This is the Oval, an electronic handpan developed by these Barcelona-based researchers. The digital percussion instrument has just eight notes, but connected to an App via smartphone or tablet it allows professional musicians and beginners to create a wide array of sonic styles. UPSOT: OVAL Co-creator Alex Posada..... SOUNDBITE (Spanish) CREATOR OF OVAL, ALEX POSADA, SAYING: "The Oval is a digital interface that controls music. It has eight pads sensitive to pressure at multiple points. We can do an XY track as if it was a touch screen so that we can identify different moves of a finger and identify patterns. Not only intensity, but also where you press and how you move your fingers across the pad. That makes the sound that comes out of it more expressive as it gives the sound different layers of samples. So the final sounds will depend on where you place your fingers and how you move them on the Oval." It has a comparable shape to other handpan instruments and is played in a similar way, but co-creator David Goldschmidt says the app connection makes it superior. SOUNDBITE (English) CREATOR OF OVAL, DAVID GOLDSCHMIDT, SAYING: "It's not an acoustical sound that you can get with a metal instrument. But, it brings you to a different level. It has a much, much, much bigger variety of sounds and diversity of things you can do. It's a new path in the music world." Its open source hardware controller allows users free creative rein. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) CREATOR OF OVAL ALEX POSADA, SAYING: "The app needs the instrument and the instrument needs the app. The complete Oval is composed by the control interface - the physical part - and the app. The two together make the global instrument. Through the control instrument you can express what you want and the sound is created through the app. The sound does not come from the instrument itself, it comes from the phone. So you connect to a sound system through headphones or a cable and then you are able to intensify it and listen to what you are creating." Crowdfunding pledgers can buy an Oval for 399 euros, two thirds of its eventual retail price. The ongoing campaign raised 100,000 euros in its first three days... music to the ears of its creators. UPSOT: OVAL