What is an EWI?
The EWI (Electric Woodwind Instrument) is a musical instrument that acts like a keyboard synthesizer. Most of them are MIDI controllers that trigger a synthesizer that creates the sounds by use of wind. The earliest versions of the EWI were developed in the 1960s and introduced in the 1970s. However, it did not gain popularity until the past decade when it further developed into the modern version.
The EWI is a woodwind instrument which has keys with fingerings like that of most woodwinds, particularly in the finger placement on the recorder (an early version of all woodwinds). There is one extra button which is used in a similar fashion to the one used on the saxophone. Therefore, almost any woodwind player can pick up an EWI and play it. There are several models with different ranges. Rollers are placed in the back of the instrument to change the octaves. Smaller models have a range of 3 octaves, while more advanced models have up to 7 octaves. Given the specifications of these instruments, EWIs can play in every range of all woodwinds. One other feature of the EWI is the ability to blend notes with ether the note bending pad in the back or by slightly biting on the mouthpiece.
Some EWIs have their own internal sounds while others do not. Nevertheless, they all have the capacity to be attached to an external synthesizer for more sounds (either digitally or through a physical synthesizer). With this broad spectrum, the EWI can sound like any musical instrument, digital synth sound or sound effect. This makes the EWI a suitable and valuable instrument for an electric orchestra. The Andromeda Electric Orchestra has an EWI section (currently 2 players but planned expansion to 4 players). AEO has used this instrument for various purposes, including sounding like brass, woodwinds, or synth sounds. When AEO performed the Dr. Who theme, the instrument had a feature of a duet in the piece. Below are several videos that demonstrate the capabilities of the EWI, including a video featuring Soli Jones performing a piece by Dr. Alfred Surenyan.
AEO’s EWI section is made up of two outstanding woodwind players in the Los Angeles area: Soli Jones and Mark Day.
Naming of the Blog
Welcome to The Upsilon Andromedae Chronicles, the new blog of the Andromeda Electric Orchestra (AEO). We are excited to bring the community this blog with current information on music, musicians, AEO, and other related topics. Naming this blog was done very carefully and the first article is about the name.
AEO is named and themed after space and science fiction. The name is derived from the Andromeda Galaxy, the closest galaxy to the Milky Way Galaxy. The Andromeda Galaxy is also part of the Andromeda Constellation. Although it would have been nice to name the blog after a star in the Andromeda Galaxy, scientists are currently unable to locate individual stars in the galaxy due to the immense distance between that galaxy and Earth. It has been said that one planet may have been found in that galaxy, but as of this writing, it has not been confirmed. Therefore, the next best place to find a star for the naming of this blog is in the Andromeda Constellation. In this region is a series of stars named after the Greek Alphabet. Among all of them, Upsilon Andromedae is unique. It is the only one that has confirmed planets orbiting the main star thus far in research. Due to this unique phenomenon, it was decided that the blog would be named after this star.
Information on the Upsilon Andromedae Star System
The Upsilon Andromedae is a binary star system. It has both the main star, officially named Titawin and its companion unnamed Red Dwarf. Titawin itself is a yellowish dwarf star is smaller than our Sun, yet brighter. Titawin is one of the brightest stars in the night sky. The four planets in this system orbit around the main star, while the Red Dwarf has a gravitational pull, with the main star outside of the orbiting planets.
The 3 of the 4 stars have been given official names and are gas giants. The second from the star, in the habitual zone, might have a moon or multiple moons and could be locations for life. The names of the planets are Saffer, Samh, Majriti, and Upsilon Andromadae e. Research exists regarding the elements that these planets are made up from and as well as artist conceptions of them. Below is a video that shows how this star system behaves and how the planets rotate around the star. An interesting feature is Saffer, the closest planet to the star. Only one side of the planet is always facing the star and has daylight constantly while the other side is always dark, much like our Moon orbiting around Earth. Take a trip to this star system in this video. It’s pretty amazing.
Alfred Surenyan, Editor