ForumsSoftware ← Note rounding vs. continuity


I am considering buying a Soundplane and am wondering how "note rounding" works when you slide between notes. For instance, say I start on one square then slide up 2 squares to a new note. When I land on the new note, will the software round the frequency to the note specified for that individual square, or will I need to land on a very particular part of that square? Alternatively, when I am sliding continuously across multiple squares, will I hear little bumps in the tone because of the rounding (like when you do slides on a guitar), or will the frequency change be truly continuous? Also, is the rounding for the x-axis the same as the rounding for the y-axis? are they both truly continuous?

It seems like it must be very hard to handle this and I am wondering what type of solution the Soundplane offers vs. what type of solution an instrument like the Continuum offers.


ok, with quantisation ON,
when you slide it will slide automatically to a quantised note.
the portamento dial helps control the rate of the slide, so that you get a smooth slide (so no bumps unless you you set it to 0). the vibrato control allows you to adjust the amount of 'movement' within a cell.

(there is also a note-lock and glissando feature)
it actually works well, and when using quantised, I leave on defaults and its great.

I believe (and it feels like) if you turn quantising off, then vibrato/portamento have no effect, as you can obviously control this directly (as quantisation is not 'interfering'

yes, both X and Y (and Z) are completely continuous.

One thing to be aware, y is not note quantised.
i.e. if you have the SP in 'rows in fourth mode', i.e. tuned like a guitar,
you don't slide UP/DOWN for notes, only across ...
this makes sense... as you are using y for timbre control, so it wouldn't make sense to slide to the cell above/below.

so like the continuum, Y is never quantised.

the continuum has a slightly different note quantisation 'modes', its probably best to read the manual to understand them. (explains better than I can), but in practice they are similar.

Im planning on making a small addition to the Soundplane software (its awesome that its open source, so we can make our own mods), which will allow for a 'percentage' of quantisation, rather than just on/off. This the continuum allows, and I think could be useful, particularly when you start to learn to play un-quantised. (as i am at the moment)

so summary, soundplane and continuum, have slightly different models, but to the musicians /end result - I think they are pretty similar, and both even with quantisation on, you cant really hear it... except that you are always in tune :)

The Soundplane is a lot like the Continuum. The underlying sensor is very much a continuous device capable of smooth changes. The grid of keys on top of it is applied after the initial data is gathered.

so like the continuum, Y is never quantised.

I would say it's always quantized. Which is to say, it always sends the nearest grid value and does not vary continuously. You are either in one row of keys, or another, not between.

It's probably clearer to talk about what data generated from the Y measurements are quantized, because this is what is really going on. Pitch data generated from Y is always quantized to the note grid. Timbre control data generated from y is continuous within the row of keys, or zone.

Ah, this makes a lot of sense, thanks you two! Here's what I gather, let me know if I am mistaking:

1) Pitch sliding in x is truly continuous. Quantizing only effects the beginning and ending pitch (it would not round at intermittent points during the slide unless you stopped on a square).
2) Y is quantized into the rows and continuous within each row. Randy, if I define two adjacent cells within a column to be the same note, would the timbre shift be continuous over the two cells together or each one separately? Could I basically turn the Y quantizing off by setting each cell in a column to be the same note? Then it would effectively function the same as the Continuum fingerboard.

The ability to quantize the Y-axis into rows is something I really like and definitely an advantage over the Continuum for my music. It offers a lot of flexibility for note layouts, which I like to experiment with :)

Thanks again! I hope I can get my hands on one of these soon.


Could I basically turn the Y quantizing off by setting each cell in a column to be the same note? Then it would effectively function the same as the Continuum fingerboard.

yes, there's a default setting that does exactly this. If you set every row to send the same notes, there is one whole axis devoted to controlling timbre. If each row sends different notes, you can trade this timbre control for more notes, while still using y within each key to control timbre.

I should add for context that when the Soundplane talks to a computer, it just sends the raw pressure data. So everything we are talking about can be changed easily in software and if there's a useful option that doesn't exist for some reason I will add it.

Awesome! Great to know, thanks Randy!

Hi Guys,

I've been planning some note layouts for the Soundplane and ran across another question.

Is it possible to place two note-rounding positions within the same grid square? For microtonal stuff some notes are really close together, so I might like to do this rather than use two separate columns, which would space out all the notes a lot more. Would this require some custom code, or is it easy to accomplish in the software? Is there anywhere I could get a look at what the interface/process is like for defining note maps?

Thanks for all your help!

  • Steven