Jim Aikin's Oblong Blob

Random Rambling & Questionable Commentary

Is That a Piano?

Posted by midiguru on December 24, 2012

I’m pretty sure you won’t know quite what to make of this. (I’m not sure I know what to make of it.) But I think a good way to approach it may be to listen first and then read about it after you’ve heard it. So here’s the track:

To answer your first question, no, that’s not a real piano. Building a real piano that would play those notes would cost, I’m sure, a quarter of a million bucks, if not more. Nor is it sampled. It’s ModArtt PianoTeq 4, a software-based physical modeling instrument. (And scary good, I might add.)

If it were a real piano with enough keys, you might be able to play the whole piece. I’m not sure. There are a couple of three-handed moments. But I did try to make it sound quasi-playable.

You want to know about the tuning, though, don’t you? It’s 19-tone equal temperament. You’d need a piano with a gray key between each pair of white keys, which would mean learning, oh, a few new fingerings. The fifths in 19 are not quite as good as those in our standard 12-note tuning, which is why the opening sounds faintly honky-tonk. But once you’ve listened to this tuning for a minute or two, you hardly notice.

I sort of know what some of the chords are — the obvious ones, anyhow. Other places I just trusted my ear. Chopin? Debussy? Or just a train wreck, you be the judge. If you want a title, I think I’ll call it “Koi Pond.”

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One Response to “Is That a Piano?”

  1. Lovely piece. And thanks for listeing to my music and commenting.

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