New piano allows retuning for non-Western scales

Posted on: November 23, 2009

In Monday’s (11/23) Guardian (London), Mark Brown writes, “For a non-pianist, the idea of a microtonally fluid piano might seem either no big deal or baffling. But this weekend a composer will reveal the result of a 10-year mission—nothing less than the reinvention of one of the most important instruments in western music. Geoff Smith believes he has come up with the first multicultural acoustic piano—what he has trademarked as a fluid piano—which allows players to alter the tuning of notes either before or during a performance. Instead of a pianist having a fixed sound, 88 notes from 88 keys, Smith’s piano has sliders allowing them access to the different scales that you get in, for example, Indian and Iranian music. For good measure, Smith has included a horizontal harp. … It will be formally unveiled at the University of Surrey on Saturday and receive a London premiere at the Purcell Room in March. … At the premiere, three pianists will perform, including Pam Chowhan, the head of planning at the Royal Festival Hall. She admitted to being daunted when first confronted with the piano.”

Posted November 23, 2009