Thawing the Scale

FluidPiano.jpgSomeone has finally come up with an easily retunable piano. Looks (and sounds) a little more like a clavichord, actually, and while I’m pleased about the retuning, each string appears to have only about a whole tone’s leeway. You’re still more or less limited to 12 pitches to the octave, but there’s a lot you can do with that: not only meantone and other historical temperaments, but the tunings of most of the standard pieces for retuned piano: Ben Johnston’s Suite for Microtonal Piano, The Well-Tuned Piano, The Harp of New Albion, and so on. It’s presumably far more affordable than the piano Trimpin once designed for me on a napkin, which could be automatically retuned via computer while you played. They’ll have a whole world of microtonal acoustic instruments invented by the time I’m too old to lift a pen to write for them. (h/t to McLaren)

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Comments

  1. Jon Szanto says

    Good to have you back, Kyle.
    KG replies: Thanks, Jon. I’ll have to blog someday soon about why I feel disillusioned with blogging, I guess, won’t I?

  2. Henry Lowengard says

    It seems a little limited, but not any more than the piano that dynamically retunes by heating the strings (http://bit.ly/hot-string-piano). It’s nice and mechanical – I like the “hands on” aesthetic.
    In fact, I’d like a system like this for my hammered dulcimer – I have a real need for it, actually.
    The device I’d create would use very long strings to keep the tension down and pitch accuracy high, a carbon fiber body to keep the weight down, and bridges on rails, with three bridges on each string course so the intervals played on both sides could be unrelated instead of being held to a fixed interval (usually 3:2, but on some systems, not. )

  3. Bob Gilmore says

    hey Kyle, blogging sucks! Write music and books instead.
    KG replies: That’s sort of what I’d been thinking.

  4. Ernest Ambrus says

    It’s good to see you back. Your take on things is refreshing, to be honest. Merry Christmas :)

  5. Richard says

    Kyle,
    Don’t give up blogging. Your’s are one of the few I look at. With your replies we kind of get a dialog. What would be great would be a place where everyone here could get together and bull-shit. The problem with chatrooms is that we all have to be there in “real time”. Keep it up, you are anh interesting person.