I recently posted a video of Jeff Kashiwa demonstrating the Akai EWI4000s wind controller. As part of his demonstration, he plays a movement from one of the Telemann Canonic Sonatas (well, sort of an arrangement of one).
The Canonic Sonatas are duo sonatas, with both musicians playing from the same part. (You can download free sheet music of the Canonic Sonatas from the IMSLP.) The first player begins, and the second player echoes, one measure behind. If you have ever sung “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” as a round, then you already understand how this works.
Jeff Kashiwa plays the Allegro movement from the first Canonic Sonata all by himself, playing the first part on the EWI and using a delay effect to create the second (echo) part. Here’s the video again—it should start playing about a minute and a half in, and the Telemann goes until about 2:40.
After the 2:40 mark, Mr. Kashiwa uses more sophisticated looping techniques, using some kind of external device. But you can perform the Telemann duet without any extra hardware, using only the EWI4000s’s onboard synthesizer.
To set this up, you’ll need to be able to hook your EWI up to a computer through a MIDI interface, and successfully connect to the EWI through the free and downloadable Vyzex EWI4000s patch editor. (That stuff is beyond the scope of this tutorial, but the Vyzex download includes pretty good documentation, and there is additional help available at the Vyzor support forum.)
We are going to edit an existing patch to have a built-in echo, so make sure you’ve got your favorite sounds safely backed up. I’m using the “Matt EVI4000s” patch from the Patchman sound bank.
The settings we are going to adjust are in the “Delay” section. I want my second part to be an exact echo of my first part, and I’ll be setting the delay accordingly, but you can experiment to get the results you want.
Time: This sets the amount of time between a note and its echo, so this will also determine the tempo of the piece. We need to set the delay time to the length in seconds of a single measure—it can be between 0 seconds and 1.27 seconds. We can use this formula to figure it out:
(beats per measure)/(tempo) × 60 = delay time
I want a tempo of about quarter note = 132, and this movement is in 2/4, so my calcuation is:
2/132 × 60 = .91 seconds
The slowest possible tempo for this movement, with a delay time of 1.27 seconds, would be about 94 beats per minute. (Stay in school, kids.) For more flexibility with the tempo, you will need an external device.
Feedback: We want only a single echo here, so set this to 0%. Setting it higher creates more echoes.
Damp: This affects the sound of the echo. To make the two parts sound the same, we set it to 100%.
Level: This affects the volume of the echo. To match the volume of the first part, we set it to 100%.
That’s it—we’re ready to save this edited sound and transfer it to the EWI’s memory (consult the Vyzex manual).
And here is the result, recorded direct from the EWI: