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Kaps Freed : for piano and electronics

by Cat Hope (2016)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Gabriella Smart, Stuart James from the CD Works For Travelled Pianos

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Works For Travelled Pianos


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Work Overview

This work aims to bring the sound of the piano as close as possible to the sound of Percy Grainger's Free Music ideals, using pitch tracking and spectral filtering. It aims to transform the sound of the piano as closely to the Free Music ideal as possible, by sampling its pitches and transporting them into theremin like tones where the tempered scale becomes irrelevant.

The 'Kaps piano' is the childhood piano of Percy Grainger, and lives in the Grainger Museum in Melbourne. It was made in Dresden, Germany in 1887. Percy practiced on this piano for two hours daily as a child, presided over by his teacher and mother, Rose Grainger. I have always been fascinated with Grainger's Free Music, and this work explores the link between his childhood practice routine and lessons with his later investigations into Free Music. This was a music characterised by the emancipation of rhythmic processes and pitch, both explored in this, and most of my, work. The piano part is my response to the same lake, Albert Lake in Melbourne, that is said to have been the inspiration for Grainger's theory of Free Music.

Each colour represents a finger on each hand. The blue shades being the right hand, the red shades being the left. Use the sustain pedal to keep the notes ringing as long as possible. A grey dashed line shows middle C for reference purposes. A thinner grey dashed lines assist to show when notes remain the same pitch.­ The electronics part is indicated in opaque parts. This samples the piano at different moments, turning the piano tone into a sine tone (like a Theremin tone) and the colour represents the 'hand tonality' to be sampled at the moments marked on the score.

Work Details

Year: 2016

Instrumentation: Piano, live electronics.

Duration: 20 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Dedication note: Dedicated to Gabriella Smart

Commission note: Commissioned by Gabriella Smart.. Commissioned by Gabriella Smart.

First performance: by Gabriella Smart, Stuart James at Gabriella Smart (Robert Blackwood Concert Hall) on 22 Apr 2018

To perform this piece you will need the Decibel ScorePlayer, an iPad application that puts the score in motion and coordinates the performance.


Performances of this work

22 Apr 2018: at Gabriella Smart (Robert Blackwood Concert Hall). Featuring Gabriella Smart, Stuart James.

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