Design of a new piano instrument, a piano hybridised by machines.
Since 2019 I have been conducting organological research on my instrument. After having carried out a research of timbres around the prepared piano, I wanted to extend this work, to deepen it with an instrument that I finally imagined to measure.
I carried out an initial six-month research phase with about thirty students from INSA Lyon, supervised by two professors. The students built prototypes that allowed me to make the first experiments with the machines in the piano. The Sonopopée collective, which specialises in computer, electronic and hybrid instruments, adapted my device to the context of the stage.
This technology gives me the possibility of opening up a new playing space inside the piano, of making a kind of sonic autopsy of it. By grafting machines into the body of the piano, I come closer to the notion of the “desiring machine”, also envisaged as a “body without organs”, as reflected in the reflections of Deleuze and Artaud. Here, these forces contribute to undoing the hierarchy of the instrument’s original organs. The usual zones of listening are thus displaced, even disinvested. A new space opens up, offering the possibility of new mechanisms, arrangements and circulation.
The instrument was created thanks to a commission from GMEM-CNCM Marseille and the support of Saintex Culture Numérique Reims, INSA Lyon.
Two projects are created in 2021 from this device:
The Sonopopée collective has produced the digitally controlled electromechanical device that hybridizes and increases the piano’s lutherie, following an initial period of research and prototyping (from January to June 2019) led by Claudine Simon with students from the INSA in Lyon.
This lutherie allows for both real writing and sound improvisation for the performer, whether it be the pianist herself or a second instrumentalist at the controls of the electromechanics and electroacoustics.