Most of our DEN discussions about composition involve how to make the Disklavier most accurately record or perform in special circumstances. Many composers like to use Disklavier to explore rhythms and speeds that are beyond human playability. We've dealt with MIDI ins and outs, prepared strings, algorhythmic mutations of playing, you name it.
Composer Hans Tammen
turns all of that exactitude on its head, exploring the sonic creations made possible by the LIMITS of the Disklavier's own mechanical elements. In Music for Choking Disklavier
(2006, Clang) Tammen built projects in the authoring environment Max/MSP
to tax the Disklavier BEYOND its limits of velocity and data. In some moments the volume is set too low to make the hammers actually strike strings, producing extended spans of muted rhythmic thumping. In others, data overload causes the Disklavier to "choke", punctuating spans of silence with clumps of note-data all at once. The result is an eerie soundscape with its own beauty and interest. Don't take our word for it, though--listen for yourself
What's the most unusual thing you've ever done with a Disklavier? Let us know! Email