Karlheinz Essl

Portrait

The Art not Playing a Bösendorfer

for analog synth, keyboard controller, transducer and grand piano
2022



Basics | Watch


Part of the "digital detox" project by Karlheinz Essl, performed on 9 August 2022 with a Doepfer DARK ENERGY modular analogue synthesizer controlled by a simple Yamaha MIDI keyboard. The sound is transmitted via a transducer to the piano's soundboard, where it can create panchromatic resonances when the pedal is pressed.


About

After working with computers since 1985, I felt the need to explore a completely different area of sound production. So I dug out an analogue synthesizer which I had never used before, trying to avoid those dangerous traps that any hardware offers due to its incorporated aesthetics. (With software, I feel much freer in that respect.) When I took on this self-imposed challenge, I tried to find methods to overcome the weak points of such a device.

The first problem was the keyboard, which represents a well-tempered tuning that has no meaning here. So I modulated the pitches with the velocity of the MIDI keyboard which allows me to play different (microtonal) pitches even on a single key.

The second point was sound projection. Since I am very sensitive to conventional loudspeakers, I placed a transducer on the soundboard of my Bösendorfer. This filters the synthetic sound of the analogue synthesiser through the acoustic properties of the grand piano, creating a fascinating fusion between an electronic and an acoustic instrument.


setup-darkenergy-boesendorfer

Performance Setup


Watch

The Art not Playing a Bösendorfer, 1st part
Performed live on August 9th, 2022
© 2022 by Karlheinz Essl


The Art not Playing a Bösendorfer, 2nd part
Performed live on August 9th, 2022
© 2022 by Karlheinz Essl


The Art not Playing a Bösendorfer, 3rd part
Performed live on August 9th, 2022
© 2022 by Karlheinz Essl



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Updated: 14 Aug 2022

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