Little Cluster Essay for Player Pianos – October 2013

Having extended my Bosendorfer sample set to a ten octave piano (EXS24 in Logic), I set about an exercises in phasing or offsetting small groups of gradually changing arpeggio passages.

The three players, at low, middle and upper ranges of the instrument, are binaurally spread around 270 degrees of a hemisphere.

The effect should be as though sitting up close to an enormous piano, curved around you.

I furthered thickened the sound with synchronous doubling of each part to an identical track played using the EXS24 Yamaha grand piano sample set.

This is phased in over half a minute from around 40 seconds in.

Binaural panning of the three Yamaha pianos was offset from their Bosendorfer counterparts, to widen each pitch range’s virtual field but not permit blurring between their spatial zones. 

Now two holographic, giant instruments occupy the same, impossibly curved physical space in front of and around you.

This music was inspired most I think by Nancarrow’s 11th Player Piano Study, which actually changes your pulse and breathing – it has an effect upon the body unlike anything I have ever listened to. 

I was trying to approach something of this effect; it certainly was energising to compose.