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Blog posts tagged in Composition

Posted by on in The Disklavier Frontier

Award-winning
composer John Nichols, III first wrote for the Disklavier to create Pillars (excerpted above), which won the Conlon Music Prize in 2013. Though Pillars was written more or less within the scope of what someone could play with two hands, Nichols' subsequent works have challenged that notion altogether.
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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .