How is it played?

To evoke sounds from the piano, and to better aid in making these sounds musical, one plays the Electronically-Prepared Piano through any programmable software synthesis environment. In theory, any electrical audio signal source (e.g. an iPod) can be routed through the piano, though the recommended synthesis environment is Cycling74's Max/MSP or Miller Puckette's open-source version, pure data [pd]. Having the abilitilty to precisely control the waveforms fed into the strings is perhaps one of the functions which distinguishes this instrument from its predecessors, and makes available a level of instrument control necessary for composers and performers.

As an HCI instrument, a pianist might use this to perform single note crescendos at the keyboard - allowing the resonating string to be heard as the key is depressed and damper raised. Additionally, the damper pedal allows for further interaction between the software driven interface, the piano, and the performer.

Capabilities Patch
(updated 4/18/05)

The pd patch posted here represents a baseline program which can be used to run the instrument in "demo mode". It showcases some, but not all, of the palette of basic sounds available from the instrument.
[All files required. Right Click "Save Link As.."]

capabilities.pd - top level patch
noteList.txt - fundamental frequencies of strings used (MIDI keynum format)
emp_toss~.pd - routing bus to handle 12+ independent channels
emp_osc.pd - oscillator unit
emp_ph.pd - phasor unit
emp_gliss.pd - glissando unit

Future Returns - An etude for Electromagnetically-Prepared Piano written for MUS220C.
FutureReturns_102805.tar - Archive contains Max/MSP patch plus other necessary files.