Jonathan Pitkin

L.V. for magnetic resonator piano (2017)

Duration: 11.5 mins
Click here to see the SCORE.

The Magnetic Resonator Piano is an augmented acoustic instrument (taking the form of a kit which may be installed in any grand piano) which brings new possibilities of dynamic shaping, modulation and microtonality within the performer's reach. Using electromagnets to induce resonance in the piano strings, it allows notes to be sounded independently of the hammer action, and makes possible special effects such as harmonics and pitch bends.

These capabilities are used in a variety of ways in l.v. Sustained chords are 'faded' back up - with slightly different constituent notes - as their initial attacks die away. Higher notes seem to emerge from the decay of lower ones. Overtones from higher up the harmonic series (which differ slightly in tuning from the conventional, tempered pitches nearest them) are combined into microtonal chords, or micro-intervals which create rhythmic beating effects as their constituent pitches come in and out of phase. And conventionally-played, sharp attacks (both shorter and more sustained) are combined with more gradual emergences of notes, following one another unpredictably.

The title is taken from a common instruction in harp and percussion music, an abbreviation of 'laissez vibrer', meaning 'let vibrate' or 'let ring'.

You can hear (and occasionally see!) some excerpts from l.v. in the following video about Jonathan's SoftMRP project:

Other works involving electronics

Study: Boots…
Playing Up
Con Spirito