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How To Play the Piano (2014-5)

automatic music for piano, computer and live score projection

music and programming by Richard Hoadley; text by Katharine Norman

How to Play the Piano in 88 Notes (a part of Piano Glyphs) from Richard Hoadley on Vimeo.

More images in the gallery

Poetry by Katharine Norman
Music and programming by Richard Hoadley

Performance on 12th May 2015 by Philip Mead
Anglia Ruskin University Recital Hall

How to Play the Piano in 88 Notes (a part of Piano Glyphs), poetry by Katharine Norman, piano by Philip Mead from Richard Hoadley on Vimeo.

How to Play the Piano in 88 Notes is one of a number of pieces that together form the larger piece Piano Glyphs. These pieces together investigate approaches to live notation and cross-domain expression.


How to Play the Piano is a version of a passage originally from the dance-music-text piece 'Semaphore' by Richard Hoadley (music and programming), Jane Turner (choreography) and Philip Terry (poetry) (http://rhoadley.net/semaphore). It uses a live audio analysis of the reading of an original piece of poetry to generate audio and, in 88 Notes, live notation to be played simultaneously by a pianist. In the first part of the piece, the poem is algorithmically remodelled textually, graphically and aurally and orally.

How to Play the Piano in 88 Notes is a new, original poem written and recorded specifically for this piece by the composer and writer Katharine Norman. The music is created live through a combination of prepared programming (using SuperCollider) with elements of live coding. All material is produced and generated live.

Live notation (including music, text and graphics) is dynamically created at the time of performance in response to algorithms, code, physical action or any other source of data. Features of my use of live notation include the exploitation of performers' instrumental virtuosity and learned response, the use of common practice notation, if required, to optimise virtuosity (while encouraging improvisation), the synchronisation of notation with live performance and physical action, and the investigation of novel forms of notation. The software used for live notation is called INScore (http://inscore.sourceforge.net).

An expressive domain is a form of artistic expression such as music, dance, text, or images and patterns. In cross-domain expression, information is taken from one domain and translated into another in real-time allowing synchronous performance. (Music is already significantly cross-domain, formed as it is from the creation of patterns through physical action.)

The piece is primarily composed in the music programming environment, SuperCollider.

This piece uses the software INScore and Guido significantly, both currently being developed by the Grame Computer Music Research Lab.
- More information on INScore.
- More information on Guido.

See also: Calder's Violin, Fluxus, Fluxus Tree

Papers involving Piano Glyphs

In preparation.

Other video and audio examples

In preparation.