Touch represents an experiment in transparent electronics. I wanted to create a performing environment where technology expands, magnifies and projects the musical gestures of the performer. Four identical musical objects are observed from different points of view, each time using a different transformation tool in order to emphasize a different aspect of piano playing: touch, resonance, the harmonic and melodic dimensions.

The performer is completely in control of the technology and external intervention is kept to a minimum. I achieved this by creating an interface that reacts to the nuances of musical performance in a very subtle way. Specific attention has been given to the detection of the attack of the piano sound: the pianist’s touch triggers each time the whole transformation process.

Premiered by Laure Pinsmail in 2002, Recital Hall, Birmingham Conservatoire. Live recording of the performance given by Jonathan Powell in 2005.

Technical Notes

The performance requires another person to operate the computer and control the sound diffusion.

The electronics consist in a MaxMSP software patch. The score indicates which “performance environment” needs to be loaded at the beginning of each section.

Technical requirements for the performance (between brackets minimum requirements):

computer (Mac or PC) running MaxMSP
4 in/8 out audio interface (4 in/4 out)
1 small condenser microphone to be placed inside the piano for detection
2 condenser microphones on stands for piano amplification
Reverb unit
6-point sound diffusion system with 6 speakers: front L/R 1-2, sides L/R 3-4, rear L/R 5-6 (4-point, front L/R 1-2, rear L/R 3-4)