Karlheinz Essl - Kalimba
  Year :   2005
  Location :   Austria
  Worktype :   for toy piano and CD playback
  Materials:   Dedicated to Isabel Ettenauer
  Info :   Komponisteforum Mittersill

  Work Details  
  Kalimba is a piece for toy piano and CD playback which was composed in April 2005 for the pianist and toy piano performer Isabel Ettenauer. The primary aim of this piece is an attempt to break up the restricted sound world of the toy piano - not by superficial means of additional sound processing, but by the sound of the instrument itself. This is achieved by a CD which is played back by a small loudspeakers which is hidden inside the toy piano; this creates a perfect blend between the sounds of the instrument and the sounds from the loudspeaker. Furthermore, as the listeners wont notice any electronic devices, they might assume that all the music comes from the toy piano itself. The piece is entirely based on an eight-tone scale which alternates whole and halftone steps. It was recorded from the Schoenhut Concert Grand Piano that Isabel uses to play in her performances. This material was processed by a computer program which was written be Karlheinz Essl in Max/MSP using compositional algorithms from his Realtime Composition Library. It creates five layers of the same basic soundfile which are affected by very slow glissandos. The result of these operations is stunning: starting from the original scale (which is also played synchronously on the toy piano), the sound gradually transformes itself from a rich variety if sonic transformations into a chaotic distribution of the 8 tones which finally fall together into chord repetitions. In the adjacent part of the piece, the glissandos are expanded to a much wider range and - by forming an ambitus of 4 octaves in the end - a proportional canon of the form: 1/4 : 1/2 : 1 : 2 : 4 is created. Continuously, all layers except the (s)lowest are fading out, so that in the end only a transposition of the original recording 2 octaves lower (and 2 times slower) can be heard. Accessed 10.12.06 from http://www.essl.at