MIDI Merlin for Mac and Windows

Posted: 6/14/2012 8:10:16 PM
randy george

From: Los Angeles, California

Joined: 2/5/2006

[Update 9/18/2017] : MIDI Merlin 2 is in the final stages of closed beta testing. The version 2 Mac beta is available for pre-order customers before it is released. please contact: midimerlin [at] randygeorgemusic [dot] com for more information. Version 1.02 will no longer be available for download. 

Greetings theremin friends and thereminworld, 

I'm pleased to announce a something great. Today, I've published version 1.02 of MIDI Merlin, now compatible with both Mac OSX and Windows!

The new version has several enhancements and new features. The most significant changes are: 

-cross-platform mac/pc compatibility

-mouse clicks can engage MIDI directly from the Keyboard window

-octave offset buttons added to Keyboard window enabling a 121 note range

-added Interactive Help window with dynamic help text on-mouseover

-aux Input device can engage MIDI to convert a MIDI keyboard into a toggle sustain switchboard and for output of monophonic MIDI data and

For anyone that is only now discovering this software, MIDI Merlin is a custom Audio-to-MIDI application that I designed as a live performance AND ear-training tool for theremin players.  As I am aware, there is nothing like it in the world. It is software written by a theremin player, for theremin players, and it's FREE.

  Check out the details at the MIDI Merlin project page (link at the bottom)

As a performance tool it can be used as a new kind of unlimited sustain MIDI Instrument. As a MIDI translator, it can convert the Nintendo Wii Remote into a totally new musical instrument interface.  As an ear-training application, it can help anyone improve his/her relative pitch acuity, regardless of his/her level of sensitivity to intonation.  For theremin players that focus on precision, when it is used with care, it can help reveal many of aspects of theremin playing that were previously invisible. 

The MIDI Merlin application was constructed in Cycling'74 Max (formerly called Max/MSP). It operates as a standalone application.  I have no plans to develop a VST plugin version, but I am planning on building a Max4Live Patch for use in Ableton Live music software. 

MIDI Merlin works as an assistant to MIDI note generation.  It listens to two continuous data values for note and velocity and with a separate trigger merges the two components together to output standard MIDI note information that can be routed to a software or hardware synthesizer or sampler instrument. 

The continuous valued can be generated by two custom MIDI CC controllers OR the Pitch/Amplitude of an Audio Input, OR the computer Mouse cursor's X/Y screen position.  The notes are triggered by a single "note-on" function OR automatically when using an Audio Input with the "Audio-to-MIDI continuous mode".  

For theremin players, this means that with a trigger device, a theremin can be used to trigger carefully placed MIDI notes. (I recommend using the Nintendo Wii Remote/OSCulator for users with a Mac --OR-- the Wii Remote with GlovePIE for users with a PC --OR-- a MIDI foot controller that can sent data to Mac or PC through a MIDI Interface) Further meaning, with a theremin, computer audio interface and MIDI Merlin, anyone could play virtually any MIDI controlled instrument with a theremin.  And not just sweeping chromatic scales, but carefully placed notes that can be sustained.  

The next version of MIDI Merlin (the next big one) will feature a customizable note palette, so that any scale of notes can be pre-programmed (suppressing MIDI notes that are not contained in the custom scale). This means that if a palette is programmed in,  by holding a 'sustain' key and doing a sweeping motion with the theremin, a chord of notes could be generated and sustained effortlessly. AND preset palettes can be dynamically switchable.  What the heck does all this mean?  It basically equates with infinite awesomeness (if you have an imagination and some technical savvy). 

Another feature to be added in an upcoming version is the plotting/recording of tracked pitch over time across a 12 semitone graph. The ear-training capabilities of MIDI Merlin can easily be expanded upon now that there is a good foundation in place. 

I am publishing this multi-dimensional software for free download, but I realized that there may be people out there in theremin-land that would like to help me with my future development as a software creator and as a theremin musician and teacher. In case anyone is inspired to help support me, I have included a donation link directly inside the program itself.  MIDI Merlin was developed over the course of a year and a half. It's the biggest project I've ever worked on, a labor of love, and I felt like sharing it more than selling it.

In the near future I will be creating a new theremin workshop centered around the most important aspect of theremin playing:  INTONATION.  In this one of a kind workshop, I will demonstrate how to most effectively use MIDI Merlin to improve relative pitch acuity, sensitivity to dissonance, pitch transition time, consistency of vibrato depth/speed, and overall awareness of movement. MIDI Merlin helps increase awareness of theremin playing by providing a real-time visual feedback of intonation and accuracy that goes 12 steps beyond a chromatic tuner. I hope you come join me whenever the day comes.

For now, I present MIDI Merlin version 1.02 for you to use and enjoy, and hopefully unlock something new in your theremin playing or creative pursuits.   Included in the installation are a PDF User Manual and a Wii Remote setup guide. Soon I will post demo videos  and tutorials to get everyone up and running quicker. 

[Update 9/18/2017]: updated project website, version 1 download links removed. Please contact midimerlin [at] randygeorgemusic [dot] com for information. MIDI Merlin 2 will be a commercial release available exclusively from RGM and Z Prism.

Project Page at : http://randygeorgemusic.com/midimerlin 

Facebook Page at : http://www.facebook.com/midimerlin 

If you like magic (and for news, updates, upcoming videos, tutorials) click "like" at the above page. :) 


Randy George 

Posted: 6/16/2012 3:02:18 PM
RS Theremin

From: 60 mi. N of San Diego CA

Joined: 2/15/2005

Took a look at this program yesterday and when I fired up my computer this morning Windows XP malfunctioned saying "The Volume is Dirty". CHKDSK kicked in automatically and after about 30 min corrected the issue.

This MIDI program seemed to run without installing anything.

Did it cause my moment of computer crash panic, I don't know?

Posted: 6/16/2012 8:50:10 PM
randy george

From: Los Angeles, California

Joined: 2/5/2006

The MIDI Merlin windows application does not have an installer. It runs directly from the program folder. "The Volume is Dirty" sounds like a hardware issue, not software.  I do not think it's MIDI Merlin, because the standalone application is actually Max Runtime in disguise. Cycling'74 would not release software that would cause such problems.  I hope this helps.

Posted: 6/16/2012 9:03:09 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

RS Theremin, you might want to download a disk health inspector, like CrystalDiskInfo found here.  I'd recommend the v5.0 Portable Edition.  Unzip contents to a folder and run it, no need to install. 

A couple of months ago it showed my wife's drive as dying, so I quickly backed it up and replaced it with an SSD.

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