Pianist and Piano, Disconnected, in Composition for Kinect and Grand

The piano is a conventional grand, but with digital interface and camera, the composer is separated from it by air, playing without touching. It’s a Theremin interface for a keyboard instrument. Piano post-modern? Gestural post-digital? Whatever it is, in a work composer Benjamin Martinson composed for player piano, computer, and Kinect camera, the piano work holds up as musical content – compositional gesture, not just gimmicky digital hand-waving. Martinson himself looks oddly isolated and awkward, a man making rough mime gestures in unseen water, molasses, and wind. I can’t tell whether this is more about our expectations of human movement, …

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Flight of the Bumblebee: Ableton’s Push Gets Its First Virtuoso Demo – And Lovely Piano Ambience

The melodic layouts of pads on Ableton’s new Push hardware do place notes in closer proximity, allowing you to perform virtuosic materials with added ease. Well, some added ease. You can bet what you see in this video isn’t that easy. Yes, even before Push is available to the public, there’s already one insane video on YouTube of Flight of the Bumblebee. In fact, I’m not sure how anyone will top this, exactly, even once Push is publicly available. While requiring less dexterity than the piano might, this still requires some dexterity – and practice adapting to a layout that …

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Roland’s RD-64 is a Mobile Piano That Actually Sounds Like a Piano And Is Mobile

The problem with the music instrument industry releasing all their new stuff at the same time – as they do annually at the USA’s NAMM trade show – is that useful but not-particularly-sexy stuff can easily get lost. So, here’s one example that I think a number of pianists and keyboardists wanting mobile keyboards might really appreciate. Digital pianos, done right, might live up to this scene from the movie Crazy People. There are plenty of digital pianos. They tend to fit in two categories: good, but massive and heavy, or light, small, and … slightly crappy. (At least if …

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Pinball Pianola: Pinball Game Meets a Piano in a Wild Constructed Instrument

Pinball Pianola from Lucas Abela on Vimeo. The mechanical and kinetic collide – literally – with the sonic, in a devilishly-inventive hybrid instrument that cross-breeds a pinball table with a piano. Australian artist Lucas Abela is joining us next month as part of CTM Festival: The Golden Age. In the meantime, he shares this work. I’ve devised a Frankenstein experiment, combining the greatest musical invention of all time, the Piano; with the coolest amusement machines ever conceived; Pinball, to create an interactive sound installation like no other; ‘Pinball Pianola’, a musical device constructed by replacing the keyboard, hammers and front …

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Punched-Hole Tunes: Ritornell’s Musicbox Business Cards, as Delicate and Magical as the Music

Experimenting with twinkling timbres made both by acoustic and electronic means, the music of Ritornell (the duo of composer Dr. Richard Eigner and pianist Roman Gerold, Austria) is effortlessly expressive and spontaneous. Little wonder that that spirit could translate even to a small object. Designer Katharina Hölzl made business cards into both a signature identity for Ritornell and a physical manifestation of how they play their music. They’re not just a physical gimmick, though: audiences get to participate with music making in the production of live, performative loops. (Sadly, no site for Katharina – you just have to get hold …

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Androidcontrollerism: Hardware Options on Android, in Detail; Android Player Piano

Adding hardware to tablets, as it has with decades of computing technology, can open up new worlds for software and music. It can animate a conventional piano, or provide new physical interfaces for touching music. But let’s not wait for it to happen; let’s get hacking. Following on today’s line of thinking about hardware-augmented touch, I’d like to look a bit at the recently-transformed landscape on Android. iOS users can connect to external hardware via the Core MIDI protocol or, via official channels, through the Apple Dock Connector. That’s not a perfect situation, however. Hardware developers have to be approved …

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Free Ableton Live Racks from Old Upright Piano, Bowed Guitar

Speaking of goodies for Ableton Live, NYC-based electronic artist and songwriter AfroDJMac has been creating some unusual, nicely quirky Device Racks for Ableton Live. Unlike a Max for Live patch, these are accessible to anyone with a copy of Ableton Live – and may be easier to edit for those of you not comfortable tinkering around with Max patches. Each creation begins with a sample, then twists it into playable instruments in virtual device racks. AfroDjMac has been releasing these racks on a weekly basis; weeks two and three are already looking good. At top, a 1960s Gibson acoustic guitar …

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Roland Round-up: A Mobile Juno Workstation, Realistic Piano Models, More

Roland dropped a slew of news announcements today, from new keyboards to software. There’s a new JUNO-Gi, which takes Roland’s economical synth workstation and adds multitrack recording and BOSS effects. The virtual piano lineup has all been remade in the image of the V-Piano, with more realistic sampling tech. And there’s a set of offerings as broad as what we’re accustomed to seeing at trade shows, including one nice-looking harmonic stompbox. Here are the highlights, focusing on what you need to know. The JUNO that Records A keyboard workstation, multitrack recording, and BOSS effects, mobile at just over a grand …

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Rock Band 3 to Add Keyboards; No Idea How it Works, Great News for RB Network

This’ll work great! (Artist rendering; final product may differ.) Bach manuscript image (CC-BY-SA) Nathan Siemers. Mock-up created by the createdigitalmusic.com Future Prediction Department… intern. Kotaku notes that Rock Band 3‘s icons tease something we’ve been awaiting a long time — keys. It’s ironic that in order to make guitars playable in games, they were effectively made into keyboards, yet it’s taken this long to actually get keyboards. Oh, wait — yeah, there is that whole problem of having as many as 88 keys, two hands, and no convenient way to fit the staff notation into the descending gems view. Not …

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