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Magnetic Resonator Piano

Continuous Note Shaping on an Acoustic Piano

Magnetic Resonator Piano

The magnetic resonator piano (MRP) is a hybrid acoustic-electronic instrument augmenting the grand piano. By using electromagnets to induce the strings to vibration, the MRP allows the performer to continuously shape the sound of every note. It preserves all the sounds and techniques of the acoustic piano, while expanding its vocabulary to include:

  • Indefinite sustain
  • Crescendos (including crescendos from silence)
  • Harmonics on each string (8 to 16 harmonics are usable on the lower strings)
  • New timbres which can be shaped in real time
  • Subtle pitch bends

During the International Space Apps Challenge, Dr. Youngmoo Kim participated by modifying the Magnetic Resonator Piano. Dr. Kim used sonifications of Keplar data from several stars which drove the MRP to produce music. Each star has its own unique sound as each had its own data. You can listen to the MRP play from one of the star's data below.

Below are demonstrations of the magnetic resonator piano, which is an electromagnetically-enhanced acoustic piano that allows the pianist to continuously control the volume and timbre of every note.

See more coverage of the Magnetic Resonator Piano, as well as other ExCITe and Science Festival events, via the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Appearances

Science of Jazz

This unique performance allowed attendees to experience the science behind the music, augmented with large-screen visuals and an interactive iPhone app illustrating the principles of frequency, harmony, and acoustics. Acclaimed keyboardist Marc Cary lead his Focus Trio along with featured soloist and Grammy-Award winning percussionist Will Calhoun and other special guests in a tour de force of virtuoso jazz.

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Technical Details

The magnetic resonator piano is a research project by Drexel's MET-lab. Interested in learning more about the MRP? Visit MET-lab's magnetic resonator piano research page.

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