Magnetic Resonator Piano is a sound art piece by Andrew McPherson. Andrew McPherson is lecturer in Digital Media in the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary, University of London. His research aims to quantify aspects of creative musical expression, particularly the interaction between performer and instrument.
Efforts to establish an artistic role for computing are often hindered by a mutual lack of understanding between musicians and computer scientists. The problem is partially one of terminology: engineers tend to analyze audio signals in terms of amplitude, frequency and spectrum, where a musician might hear dynamics, intonation and timbre.
The magnetic resonator piano is a hybrid acoustic-electronic instrument augmenting the traditional grand piano. Sound is produced without loudspeakers using electromagnetic actuators to directly manipulate the piano strings, expanding its vocabulary to include infinite sustain, notes that crescendo from silence, harmonics, and new timbres. A sensor on the keyboard reports the continuous position of every key. Time and spatial resolution are sufficient to capture detailed data about key press, release, pretouch, aftertouch, and other extended gestures. The system, which is designed with cost and setup constraints in mind, seeks to give pianists continuous control over the musical sound of their instrument.