Synthesis On An Electromagnetically-Enhanced Acoustic Piano

This video, by Andrew McPherson, is a few years old, but captures a demonstration of his electromagnetically-enhanced Magnetic Resonator Piano

The Magnetic Resonator Piano is a hybrid acoustic-electronic instrument explores territory similar to Paul Vo’s Acoustic Synthesizer – using electronics to expand the range of sounds that are possible with an acoustic instrument.

McPherson’s Magnetic Resonator Piano preserves all the sounds and techniques of the acoustic piano, while expanding its vocabulary to include:

  • Infinite 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

In contrast to the conventional (hammer-actuated) piano sound, the sounds of the MRP are pure and ethereal, emphasizing the fundamental frequency of each string over its high partials.

McPherson is also the creator of the TouchKeys system, a keyboard overlay that adds continuous expressive control to any standard keyboard. You can find out more about McPherson’s work at his site.

via Jeremy Wentworth

7 thoughts on “Synthesis On An Electromagnetically-Enhanced Acoustic Piano

    1. Agreed. The eBow has been around for decades. Then someone rigged an acoustic guitar for six strings of harmonically enhanced tones.

      As you say, it was a matter of time. Also, the added feature of continuous monitoring of the key position (which hints at what was promised with the failed NDVR Note) is a very welcome technology.

  1. This is cool. It’s not far from the “piano-like” instrument described in Fred Hoyle’s 1966 novel _October the First is Too Late_.

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