Amazing YouTube Music Video Series #9: The Talking And Speaking Piano
Original YouTube Title:
Speaking Piano -Now with (somewhat decent) captions!
Original Date Posted on YouTube:
February 5, 2009
Original Poster’s Comments:
“A “speaking piano” reciting the Proclamation of the European Environmental Criminal Court at World Venice Forum 2009. Unfortunately it’s all in German, but what the piano says is all English, and it’s really neat to watch.”
Number of YouTube Views of this Video at the Time of its Posting on MusTech.Net:
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This is totally cool and somewhat science fiction “creepy”. The basic principle of this process is to analyze a complex voice wave and divide it into snapshots of the sound spectrum. Then you take the snapshots(or data) and play them back on the piano as closely as they match the piano key frequencies as possible in real-time succession.
Here is the direct translation of the page:
Pretty amazing, how all of a sudden the words of the Declaration become understandable to a European Environmental Criminal Court. Wien Modern was one out of ten cultural institutions asked for an artistic contribution to the event in Palazzo Ducale in Venice. The ambitious goal was to make this message audible with musical means, without falling back to a simple setting.
Berno Polzer: I think, its partially understandable, partially not. And it plays well with the limits of our construction abilities. That is, we hear sounds that obviously arent normal Music, but neither they are language, and one could say that sometimes, a bridging happens. Personally, I think you can understand individual words even without knowing the text, and the Eureka moment happens when you see the text, and suddenly, the language is there.
Yet another bridge: Miro Markus, an elementary school student from Berlin, narrated the text for the performance: Youth as a hope for the older generation.
The Austrian composer Peter Ablinger transferred the frequency spectrom of the childs voice to his computer controlled mechanical piano.
Peter Ablinger: I break down this phonography, meaning a recording of something the voice, in this case -, in individual pixels, one can say. And if I have the possibility of a rendering in a fairly high resolution (and that I only get with a mechanical piano), then I in fact restore some kind of continuity. Therefore, with a little practice, or help or subtitling, we actually can hear a human voice in a piano sound.
A great discussion on how this is done can be found here by createddigitalmusic.com:
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