So, I was listening to some work by Ryuichi Sakamoto today, and on one of his albums, he used a Prepared Piano. I started looking into it, because I had heard the term before, but never got a concrete definition.
Today, I got them. Taken from here:
Although theoretically any object could be used to prepare a piano, in practical application preparation objects are usually expected to have certain characteristics: They are applied directly to the piano strings; They must fit in the desired location inside the piano; They (usually) should not move from their location during playing; They must be reversible (that is, when a properly prepared piano has been "unprepared", it should be impossible for anyone to tell that it had ever been prepared; no permanent damage is done to the piano). Additionally, most preparations will change the timbre of the string in such a way that the original pitch of the string will no longer be perceptible, though there are occasional exceptions to this.
Using these parameters, I think it would be really fun to make a “Prepared Piano” in Sonic Pi.
The way I can see this implemented is.
1.) You must use the stock piano synth preset in sonic pi (Simulating an irl piano)
2.) The piano can be “prepared” using effects.
3.) Every preparation is a function that can be called. For example, lets say you have one prepared piano where you are emulating a screw inbetween the strings, then another where you have that as well as a book on some of the strings. (This is done in service to the “reversible” part)
4.) The only rule is you CAN NOT modify the original piano synthdef, since that would be, in my opinion, breaking the last rule about “reversible” because it is not the same instrument.
They can be realistic, like trying to emulate real life effects, or your own that you come across. As long as it fits in the parameters, it is fair game.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgph8aPmRJs(I really like this one. I would love to try to recreate the sound of the ping pong balls on the strings)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0-y8oNDLgU(The original, John Cage’s Sonatas for Prepared Pianos)
Would anyone be interested in exploring this idea? in making a “prepared piano” for Sonic Pi?
If all else, I think it would be a fun experimental exercise.