Godfried-Willem Raes

"Schroeder's dream"

for robotic toy piano and voice (bocca chiusa)

This composition was written for my little robot <Toypi> when it was just finished, as a special request from Moniek Darge. It takes advantage of the quite unique possibilities of an automated toy piano, particularly with regard to the extremely high possible note repetition speed as well as the very precise control over the force with which the hammers strike. The singer either follows the high voice of the perceived pitches (not always equivalent to the scored notes because of the very high inharmonicity so typical for the tone rods inside toy pianos), or spectral analysis and pitch tracking performed on the sung notes is used to decide on the notes and chords played by the robot. However, only bocca chiusa singing is allowed. The score is also embedded in the algorithmic composition program underlying the piece. The interactivity is based on real time audio analysis and feedback, whereby the performer is an integral part of the feedback system. The written out score serves only for rehearsal purposes, since the staged piece is to be performed from memory. Any text is only in the imagination of the performer. The setting is a bit theatrical and makes reference to the Peanuts comic strips, where we encounter Schroeder with his toy piano dreaming of great Beethoven performances and admired by curly-haired female groupies...

So far the piece has been performed by Moniek Darge, Yvan Vander Sanden and Dominica Eyckmans. With the latter performer, we extended the piece a bit: a part for muted viola was added and some wind sounds, produced by our Thunderwood robot and controlled by the gestures of the performer captured by our invisible instrument, came in to enrich the piece.

The piece is about 6 minutes long.

Link to <Toypi>

Premiered: September 2008 - Gent, Logos Tetrahedron.

Enhanced viola version premiered: December 2009 - Gent, Logos Tetrahedron.

Godfried-Willem RAES
Public Domain,October 2008

P.S.: Voor uitvoeringen van dit stuk moeten noch mogen auteursrechten worden betaald. Elke poging tot inning van auteursrechten naar aanleiding van publieke uitvoeringen van dit stuk, inklusief opnames ervan, kan gerechterlijk als poging tot afpersing worden vervolgd

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Last update: May 27, 2011