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Karlheinz Essl

for grand piano (two players) and live-electronics

Commissioned by the keyboard collective junctQn (Toront

Funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation

2012 by Karlheinz Essl


Karlheinz Essl

for grand piano (two players) & live-electronics

a grand piano with 3 pedals (Steinway D or Yamaha C7)
an E-Bow (see: http://www.ebow.com)
two malletts with rubber head
a drum stick
a tonebar (Dunlop Ergo Tonebar)
Apple computer (recommended: MacBook or MacBook Pro)
an audio interface with two mic preamps and 4 output channels (recommended: Edirol FA-66)
two sensitive and high-quality cardiod microphones (recommended: Neumann KM 184 or RDE NT5)
a USB MIDI controller (recommended: KORG nanoKontrol)
quadrophonic PA system (4 active speakers like RCF ART300 on stands)

A grand piano with open lid. Player I is standing besides the instrument, playing its inner parts. Player II is sitting on a piano bench, performing on the keys and
executing the pedals. The third player, who operates the electronics is sitting close to the piano on a small table (equipped with an Apple laptop and a small MIDI
controller), having eye contact with the other players.
Two loudspeakers on stands are positioned on the stage left and right of the piano, building a line with the edge of the keyboard. The other two loudspeakers are
standing behind the audience. Ideally, the four loudspeakers would form a perfect square in order to obtain the required immersive sound environment that the
computer is creating in realtime, only using the live input of the piano.

Notation symbols


sustain pedal


sostenuto pedal

B, D

positions on the piano string: towards the bridge / close to the dampers


continuos movement from bridge to damper position

continuos transition from muted to unmuted

slowly depressing and lifting of the pedal

depress key silently

pluck the strings with fingernails or a plectron

use hand inside the piano (for muting or striking the strings)

transversal scratch along the string

play an extended trill by randomly permutating the given notes (ms. 73 ff.)

1) Connect an audio interface and the USB MIDI controller to your Apple computer.
2) Plug the two condenser microphones into the two preamp channels of the audio interface and mount them on microphone stands. Now position the mics that
one is capturing the low range of the piano, and the other the mid and high region. Carefully set the input level of the microphones on the preamps of your audio
3) Start the juncTion program on an Apple computer. Choose "Audio..." from the "Settings" menu and select your input and your output devices. Afterward, switch
Audio to On.
4) The input level of the microphones (which are sent into the computer program) is notated a black curve in the IN field below the staff of Player II. The output
level is another line drawn into the OUT field. Both levels are controlled by two faders of a small MIDI controller.
5) Numbers in boxes refer to certain presets which start a pre-determined processing of the sound. Press the space bar on the computer keyboard in order to
switch to the next preset.
6) When hitting the <return> key on the computer keyboard, the next page of the score is displayed.