Foldings (duo version) for two grand pianos and electronics
Palle Dahlstedt and John Tilbury performed Dahlstedt's piece for two pianists and electronics, based on Dahlstedt's novel approach to live electronics.
The composition of the work, the development of the novel mapping technologies behind it, and the performance itself took place within the research project Creative Performance, funded by the Swedish Research Council.
Description of project
In 2006 I developed a novel mapping technique, allowing musical exploration of large parameter spaces from different performance interfaces, later expanded into a family of novel improvisation instruments. In 2011, I adapted it to my main instrument, the piano, creating an augmented hybrid instrument from a normal grand. In 2014, ti was first performed as a piano duo, together with legendary contemporary pianist John Tilbury, who has used my hybrid grand in a number of performances. Foldings consists of acoustic and virtual resonating bodies, all sounds originating from the piano, allowing for unorthodox playing (knocking, plucking, …). Processed sounds are projected from speakers behind the piano, and acoustic and processed sounds interact and blend into one new instrument. The processing is controlled from keyboard alone, with no faders or knobs, and no presets or timeline mechanisms. Each key has a certain effect on processing parameters, and effects of different keys are accumulated; essentially a dynamic vectorization of control parameters, allowing intuitive control of complex processing by ear. The instrument is not random, but somewhat unpredictable. This feeds into the improvisation, just like how ideas from a fellow improviser provides unpredictability and food for reaction, leading into a new direction, spurring further reactions. Like chasing a moving target. Hence, the instrument itself is an essential part of the musical outcome. The technology is simple but effective: A MIDI-enabled grand (Disklavier, or a normal grand with a Moog Piano Bar), four microphones, signal processor with custom software and two speakers behind the piano. Foldings consist of a mapping engine from keyboard to processing parameters, and a set of sound engines. Two engines have been used the most during concert performances: a microtonal adaptive resonator and an adaptive buffer shuffler. Both use only the sound of the piano, including the sound of the mechanics and the surroundings. The electronic sound is projected from speakers behind the piano, hence going back into the instrument, providing a truly hybrid acoustic-electric instrument. For example, the virtual resonance string provided by one of the engine allows for sophisticated play with resonances using knocks on the piano lid or shouts into the piano. The second engine is based on a shuffle mechanism, a kind of small autonomous looper, which is continuously collecting material, which is played back based on parameters generated from the keyboard mapping mechanism. This engine is very (but not at all entirely) unpredictable, and provides a lot of creative feedback to the performer during playing. Each key affects how the material is played back, and simultaneously enters new sonic material into the buffer. Playing it requires big ears and very fast response from the player. Still, it is very rewarding and fun to play. Palle Dahlstedt (b.1971), Swedish improviser, researcher, and composer of everything from chamber and orchestral music to interactive and autonomous computer pieces, receiving the Gaudeamus Music Prize in 2001. As associate professor in computer-aided creativity at University of Gothenburg, he does research in novel performance technologies for electronic music, and computer models of artistic creative processes. John Tilbury is an internationally celebrated interpreter of contemporary piano music. He is also well known as an improvising musician most notably through his membership of AMM, one of the most distinguished and influential free improvisation groups to have emerged in the sixties and which continues to this day. Se också bifogad pdf
Type of work
Konsert - del av projekt; Work for two pianists, two grand pianos and electronics.
Live Concert, Great Hall, Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK, within the peer-reviewed artistic program of the New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) conference.
Link to web site