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Go at your own pace
5 Sessions / 6 hours of work per session
Price
Free
Included w/ premium membership ($20/month)
Skill Level
Intermediate
Video Transcripts
English, Spanish; Castilian, Chinese, Portuguese
Topics
Composition, Prepared Piano, Tuning, Temperament, Piano Design, Digital Instrument Building
Open For Enrollment

Reinventing the Piano

Starts in 2 days

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Enrollment for this course has closed. But you can enroll in a future offering (please select)

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Enrollment for this course is currently closed, but the next offering will be available shortly. Check back soon!

Go at your own pace
5 Sessions / 6 hours of work per session
Price
Free
Included w/ premium membership ($20/month)
Skill Level
Intermediate
Video Transcripts
English, Spanish; Castilian, Chinese, Portuguese
Topics
Composition, Prepared Piano, Tuning, Temperament, Piano Design, Digital Instrument Building
Course Description

The piano remains one of the great achievements of musical instrument design and has long served as a primary creative tool for musicians worldwide. In this course, we will look at how the piano’s design touches on a range of diverse topics, like: where musical scales come from and how the piano’s design impacts creativity; the expressive relationship between various keyboard instrument designs; the extraordinary range of color that emerges when we listen closely to how various intervals can be tuned, and in turn the choices we need to make when tuning a keyboard instrument. We will also consider how the piano can be reinvented, both acoustically and digitally. This will include study of the prepared piano, the autonomous piano, and the digital piano, as well as Trueman’s own prepared digital piano, which itself raises a host of questions regarding rhythm, meter and groove, music perception, adaptive digital systems, and the creative process.

This is not a history course, but it is course that uses the piano to bring together a range of subjects that are often ignored or under developed in traditional music curricula. Nor is it a composition course, but students will be asked to create in a variety of ways, and it should be of use to both experienced and aspiring composers, not to mention pianists. We will engage with a range of music, going back to Frescobaldi, Scarlatti, J.S. Bach and his son C.P.E. Bach, through Schubert, all the way to more recent composers like Conlon Nancarrow, György Ligeti, and John Cage. And finally this is in part an “artist practicum” course, focusing on the creative process and how composers today might invent, and reinvent, instruments to create new work; some of Trueman’s own work, including the Nostalgic Synchronic Etudes for prepared digital piano, will come in to play.

schedule

This course is in adaptive mode and is open for enrollment. Learn more about adaptive courses here.

Session 1: The Piano (September 25, 2018)
The keyboard layout, hammers and strings, timbre, overtones; clavichord, harpsichord, with Gavin Black; pitch and perception.
11 lessons
1. Course Introduction
2. Musical Scales and the Keyboard
3. The Action
4. The Harpsichord Action
5. The Clavichord Action
6. The Organ
7. The Piano Action
8. The Sound: Strings, Soundboard, Timbre
9. Pedals
10. For Coders
11. Closing
Session 2: Tuning and Temperament (October 2, 2018)
A tour of all the chromatic intervals and their flavors; tuning and temperament; Bach’s temperament; Inharmonicity; with Cristina Altamura, guest.
13 lessons
1. Tuning Unisons and Octaves
2. Dividing the Octave: 5ths and 4ths
3. Major 3rds
4. Major 6ths
5. Difference Tones, Combination Tones
6. Minor 3rds and 6ths
7. 2nds and 7ths
8. The Tritone and Beyond
9. Tuning and Temperament
10. Tuning and Temperament Continued
11. J.S. Bach's Temperament
12. J.S. Bach's Temperament Continued
13. Octave Inharmonicity and Closing Thoughts
Session 3: The Prepared Piano—the Autonomous Piano—the Digital Piano (October 9, 2018)
The prepared piano, with Adam Tender; the player piano and Conlon Nancarrow; the magnetic resonator piano; digitizing the piano, input, engine, and output.
11 lessons
1. Introduction to Synchronic and Nostalgic Preparations
2. Materials for the Prepared Piano
3. Materials for the Prepared Piano Continued
4. Preparing the Piano
5. John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes
6. The Autonomous Piano
7. Digitizing the Piano
8. Inside: The Sampled Piano
9. Input: The Keyboard and Action
10. Output: Algorithm to Sound
11. Closing
Session 4: The Synchronic Piano—Rhythm, Meter, and Groove (October 16, 2018)
The genesis of the synchronic piano; entrainment; perception and cognition of rhythm and meter; case study: the Norwegian telespringar.
8 lessons
1. The Genesis of the Synchronic Piano: 120bpm
2. The Synchronic Piano
3. Entrainment
4. Perception and Cognition of Rhythm and Meter
5. Perception and Cognition of Rhythm and Mater Part II
6. Perception and Cognition of Rhythm and Meter Part III
7. Case Study: Telespringar
8. Closing Remarks
Session 5: The Prepared Digital Piano—bitKlavier, the Adaptive Piano, Performance Practices, and the Nostalgic Synchronic Etudes (October 23, 2018)
Nostalgic, Tuning, and Direct preparations; adaptive tuning; adaptive tempo; the Nostalgic Synchronic Etudes; performance practices, with Adam Sliwinski and Cristina Altamura
10 lessons
1. Nostalgic Preparations
2. Tuning Preparations
3. Direct Preparations
4. The Adaptive Piano: Adaptive Tuning Pt. I
5. Adaptive Tuning Pt II "Spring" & Spectral Consonance Tuning
6. Adaptive Tuning Pt. III Bitklavier's Adaptive Tuning
7. Adaptive Tempo
8. The Nostalgic Synchronic Etudes
9. Performance Practices
10. Closing
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Learning Outcomes

Below you will find an overview of the Learning Outcomes you will achieve as you complete this course.

Instructors & Guests
What You Need to Take This Course

Knowledge of elements of music: scales, intervals, etc... While compositional experience is not required, a willingness to try is. Similarly, piano skills are not required, though being willing to put one's hands on the keyboard and try things out is!

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