News: Creepy Talking-Piano Hack

Creepy Talking-Piano Hack

Austrian composer Peter Ablinger has created a "speaking" piano.

Ablinger digitized a child's voice reciting the Proclamation of the European Environmental Criminal Court to "play" on the piano via MIDI sequencer.  Apparently, the computer is connected to the piano, which analyzes the human speech, and then converts it to key-tapping.

Interested in the world of electronic music hacks? Try out these circuit bending tutorials

Video in German, with a translated English transcript below.

Translation from Hack a Day:

"Pretty amazing, how all of a sudden the words of the Declaration become understandable to a European Environmental Criminal Court. Wien Modern was one out of ten cultural institutions asked for an artistic contribution to the event in Palazzo Ducale in Venice.

The ambitious goal was to make this message audible with musical means, without falling back to a simple setting.

Berno Polzer: I think, its partially understandable, partially not. And it plays well with the limits of our construction abilities. That is, we hear sounds that obviously aren't normal music, but neither they are language, and one could say that sometimes, a bridging happens. Personally, I think you can understand individual words even without knowing the text, and the Eureka moment happens when you see the text, and suddenly, the language is there.

Yet another bridge: Miro Markus, an elementary school student from Berlin, narrated the text for the performance: Youth as a hope for the older generation.

The Austrian composer Peter Ablinger transferred the frequency spectrum of the child's voice to his computer controlled mechanical piano.

Peter Ablinger: I break down this phonography, meaning a recording of something the voice, in this case -, in individual pixels, one can say. And if I have the possibility of a rendering in a fairly high resolution (and that I only get with a mechanical piano), then I in fact restore some kind of continuity. Therefore, with a little practice, or help or subtitling, we actually can hear a human voice in a piano sound."

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