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Analysis of a Unique Pingable Circuit: The Gamelan Resonator

This paper offers a study of the circuits developed by artist Paul DeMarinis for the touring version of his work Pygmy Gamelan. Each of the six copies of the original circuit, developed June-July 1973, produce a carefully tuned and unique five-tone scale. These are obtained by five resonator circuits which pitch pings produced by a crude antenna fed into clocked bit-shift registers. While this resonator circuit may seem related to classic Bridged-T and Twin-T designs, common in analog drum machines, DeMarinis’ work actually presents a unique and previously undocumented variation on those canonical circuits. We present an analysis of his third-order resonator (which we name the Gamelan Resonator), deriving its transfer function, time domain response, poles, and zeros. This model enables us to do two things: first, based on recordings of one of the copies, we can deduce which standard resistor and capacitor values DeMarinis is likely to have used in that specific copy, since DeMarinis’ schematic purposefully omits these details to reflect their variability. Second, we can better understand what makes this filter unique. We conclude by outlining future projects which build on the present findings for technical development.

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