STUDY OF THE AUTOMATIC PLAYING ROBOT OF SAXOPHONE：STUDY OF THE AUTOMATIC PLAYING ROBOT OF SAXOPHONE ： COMPACTIFICATION OF THE PLAYING CONTROL SYSTEM AND SOPHISTICATION OF MUSICAL EXPRESSIONS
There are several amusement robots in our laboratory and the automatic music playing robot of saxophone is the most long life one of them. In this study, the control problems of the robot are discussed. The robot controls reed pressing force by an artificial mouth system, controls blowing air pressure by a special pressure control valve and operates fingering system. Under these controls, it can perform any sheet music with original sheet music data or MIDI data just like a human player. Wind instruments usually require hard practice to control embouchure, breath, fingering and musical expressions. Especially the most difficult task for playing the saxophone is to keep proper embouchure. It is because human mouth is a very complex muscle and it can move very skillfully. It will be very useful to acquire knowledge, knowhow, engineering techniques and theoretical hints as the results of creating music performance robots aiming good performance like a human professional player. The control system of the existing saxophone robot consists of a desktop PC and PCI bass interface boards, a power source, and other electrical devices. The control commands are sent to each device from PC through interface boards. Because the whole system is pretty large, it has a problem of portability and mobility considering the situation of attending the concert and playing with human players. To solve the problem, compactification of the system is considered. The compactification is attained by using a note-PC as a control device and using USB interface of D/A and DIO. Furthermore, the power supply and the actuator driving circuits are also compactified. The saxophone robot can play any musical sheet of slow or fast, short or long, easy or difficult. The technical ability is enough to play music but the artistic ability is beyond the reach of human professional player. It cannot use more sophisticated musical expression techniques of Jazz players such as some kinds of attacks, glissando, sub-tone, over-tone, high level vibration control and other Jazz-like rhythm and tonguing although envelope control, vibration control can be realized by including them in MIDI data. In this paper, improvements for some of these more sophisticated performance abilities are attained.