Click here for video documentation

In Unprepared Piano, a Yamaha disklavier grand piano is connected to a database of music MIDI files appropriated and compiled from all over the web. This library of electronic scores is then “performed” automatically according to a simple set of rules.The musical scores found online contain a wide variety of instrumentations and are not generally intended simply for piano, so our Unprepared Piano is told to perform each piece from beginning to end by randomly picking and choosing from its different parts. This means it might play bits of drum parts and percussion alongside chords and melodies intended for the other instruments.
The result is a transformation, where traces of the original remain, but form part of a new generative piece of music that could be thought of as an automatic random improvisation. The piano performs and reinterprets each score every time it is played, and although there is no person playing the piano itself, it retains a kind of innate authority because we recognise it as a complex and traditional instrument built and perfected over hundreds of years for the virtuoso.
The title of the work also refers to the idea of, 'Prepared Pianos' developed for the most part by the artist John Cage, and although software is used in this case to alter the scores, rather than objects being used to alter the timbre of the instrument, we like to think of these rules or instructions contained in the software as a bit like John Cage's preparations in his prepared pianos

The MAX patch running this work was built by Justin Randell.

Click here for video documentation (7.8 MB)