COMPUTER CONTROLLED PIANOS

Early Instruments

Video of the Pianos can be viewed on request.

Audio CD

Sturm und Drang

Works from 1982-87

In late 1981 I had an idea to operate pianos through computer control. Much time, money and youth was spent bringing this idea into the physical world. The instruments documented here no longer exist. They were used to make the Meta-Action described below.

The recordings on Sturm und Drang cover the period of 1982-87.
See also : A Perspective on the Acoustic Piano as a Performance Medium under Machine Control

The Meta-Action

The Meta-Action was funded from an Australia Council grant in 1986. It was designed and constructed at the Physics department workshop between 1986 and 1989 when it was shipped to the US. Design and construction was undertaken through the guidance and technical assistance of Marshal Maclean.

"A META-ACTION FOR THE GRAND PIANO"
Paper from the 1990 ICMC in Glasgow and see photos below.

"NeXT, MusicKit, DSP 56001 and the Grand Piano : A Study in Interfacing Computing Technology to an Acoustic Instrument"
Paper from a Computer Music conference and Festival held in Delphi, Greece in 1992

Chapter 1. The MetaAction Project
(From my 1993 PhD Thesis)

Meta-Action images

plate1

Meta-Action installed in a piano at Princeton University (1992)

plate2

Front view of Meta-Action

plate3

Close up of controller boards and solenoids

EarlyInstall1

Early protoype test installation using Chris Mann's Piano at Launching Place, Victoria (1989)

EarlyInstall2

The first real sense of how difficult the internal space for the Meta-Action would be

EarlyInstall3

It was very kind of Chris to let me take his piano apart

PhysicsWorkshop1

A view of the underneath side of the Meta-Action under constuction in La Trobe University's Physics Workshop

PhysicsWorkshop2

Showing some of the complexity of the Meta-Action's design

PhysicsWorkshop3

Considerable effort was taken to make the Meta-Action light by creating space where possible

PhysicsWorkshop4

Meta-Action near completion (mid 1989)

PhysicsWorkshop5

The Meta-Action assembled for the last time in the Physcis Workshop at La Trobe Uni

PhysicsWorkshop6

At this point, all the Meta-Action needed was a control system

FlightCase1

Mount points inside the custom made flight case

FlightCase2

The internal box would contain the controller boards, tools and spare parts.