• Kris Lennox - Reinventing the Piano

    46,597 views 3 years ago

    Have a look at https://www.facebook.com/kr... for future projects etc.

    Ok, so for the past 2 years i've been reinventing the piano as an instrument. I see using the keys i.e 'stick pushing' as only one way of creating sounds on the instrument. To be honest, it now seems, to me, like quite a limited palette.

    At the start you'll see my piano looks a lot different - it evolved over time. Pieces were in the way, so I removed them/chopped them off - the lid was blocking access, so it is now gone :) as were other parts, as you'll see (i.e the continuous bent rim at the left has been cut down - this allows me to mute the strings in the bass end to create a huge 80's modular bass sound).

    My leg was getting very tired by having to stretch under the piano to reach the pedal, so I redesigned the entire pedal unit - I deactivated the central pedal and redesigned it to have the same function as the right pedal (i.e sustain). An extension was then added to it so that I didn't have to stretch under (tiring on the hamstring).

    I wanted to remove everything that resembled tradition, so I changed every part of it i.e colour etc.

    I have colour-coded the strings (and the keys to show how the system would be on the keys) - this is for identification - the colours outline a diminished 7th chord - not for any harmonic reason, but for ease of identification when inside the piano - every string can be easily worked out, as every note is only one away from a colour.

    C is red, Eb yellow, F# green, and A blue (i.e spectrally ordered). The pattern is colour, two spaces, colour etc

    This vid was made about 8 months ago - my piano has changed a lot since - I have colour-coded the soundboard (the colours kept coming off the strings), and there are many other changes that have evolved.

    Personally i'd like the white and black keys to go completely, and the keys to continue the colour-coding system throughout their length (with all others being black). This would make the transition to playing inside far easier. I've had to develop the system myself and relearn the piano accordingly, as no system was in existence. White/black is ok, but I don't think it is the best system.
    How easy would it be for a kid to learn the notes - instead of having first to learn the alphabet to learn where C is on the piano, you could simply say to the kid 'play the red one'.

    OK to the music - yes, it's by Korn (a personal favourite of mine growing up) :)
    The audio was recorded first, then the parts were recorded on vid and sync'd with the audio (apologies for any little slips in timing with sync), made with Premiere.

    And yes, I am striking the bone of my finger to create the bassline :)) yes, I have damaged my fingers in the process of creating new sounds, but hey, it's worth it, listen to the sounds!! PS there are no effects on this vid - all sounds are acoustic.

    I have discovered a whole world of sound - this vid was simply to show what it is assumed can't be done on a piano i.e slides, vibrato etc etc (i.e a small selection of the new sounds). For me, what is important is the discovery of a new acoustic sound-world.

    Presently I have around 53 original tracks like this (i.e 3 albums worth) - more on this soon :))
    I also recently signed a music publishing deal, partly due to this work on the piano. Also, more on this soon :)))

    'Prepared' piano is ok, but personally I feel it lacks spontaneity - now that my piano has been altered, I can simply walk up to it and create a new world of sound without having to spend hours beforehand placing bits and bobs between strings at certain points. I find this a tad stale. Cage/Crumb etc made good steps with developing the piano, but they still essentially relied on the keys as the primary striking mechanism - they needed to find a plectrum :)

    My piano still operates as a normal piano (aside from the sostenuto pedal), but I see it as a piano 'plus'. The beginnings of the pianos of the future.

    Opinions welcome

    PS I don't advise anyone to spend thousands on a grand piano then take it to bits without first reading as much as they can on piano construction, or having some basic joinery skills! You'll end up with nothing more than a huge pile of wood on your floor!!

    :))))) Show less
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