A gestural instrument for pianist, ordered by Utopik Ensemble.
The original idea is that of the composer Arturo Gervasoni who imagined a wood surface for his composition Mechanical Area "for pianist on surface". The purpose of the instrument / interface Mechanical Instrument is to capture the vibrations produced by the pianist with his fingers on different wooden plates specially designed to obtain a wide variety of sounds and distribute the in space, with the possibility to act directly on the sound parameters.
It is a two-part instrument - a gestural interface involving research on the production and capture of sound on wood, and a corpus for final audio production, processing and distribution in space.
Component 1 - Gestural Interface
The dimensions of the interface are 80 x 60 cm. The surface is divided into three parts in length and depth, thus forming nine different surfaces. Each surface produces a particular sound in contact with the fingers of the musician - tapping (like the play on the piano keys) glissandi, etc...
The plates are mounted on a wooden frame and fixed on one side only. This allows a vibration of the plates and a change of the sounds following the contact of the plate with the structure.
Inside the wooden structure there are 4 microphones capturing the sound produced by the fingers or by the clicking of the plates against the frame.
Component 2 – Audio management and amplification
The second component is a box allowing to manage the audio signal from the interface. More precisely, it is a declination of the Sampo box, adapted to the specific needs of the interface (four outputs instead of two, 2 to 4 microphone inputs instead of a single input, specific software for sound management and spatialization, etc.)
With the Sampo box and its pedals, the musician has access to the sound settings of his instrument.
All interface, transformation and sound diffusion settings are made by special software created specifically for the instrument and which is a specific version of the original software used in Sampo. The audio management software is written in Max / MSP for a Windows environment.
The software manages the audio signals captured by the microphones installed on the interface, and the distribution of the signals on the four outputs. In addition to managing spatialization, the software transforms the audio signal using information from gesture sensors triggered by the musician.
The software can save the parameter states for later use as steps of the composer's work with the interpreter.
The 4 audio outputs are supplied with signal and ready for quadraphonic diffusion in a dedicated environment.
Musinfo manufactured Mechanical Instrument in close collaboration with the composer Arturo Gervasoni in order to meet the specific needs of his composition.
Gervasoni’s work Mechanical Area was premiered on 10 June 2017 at Stéréolux in Nantes, performed by Ludovic Frochot of Utopik Ensemble.