Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 48

products are quality recordings that enable pianists and other soloists to prepare for performances with orchestra. There was a big difference in this case, however. As each of these youngsters played, a virtual orchestra actually followed the soloist, speeding up and slowing down as necessary. Amazingly, the technologies that made this possible are accessible to most piano teachers and musical schools and even to many students at home.

In search of the intelligent virtual orchestra
In the old days of MMO recordings— and here I am talking about vinyl records—you had a very serious limitation: you could not change the tempo to any substantial degree. If you had a sophisticated turntable that featured pitch control, you could make the record spin a little faster or slower. However, doing so changed the pitch of the recording as well as the tempo and was only useful for tuning the record to your piano. MMO later released its library on CDs.

At that point, the tempo/pitch problem became worse because you could neither change the tempo nor the pitch with a standard CD player. Eventually, Superscope (www.superscopetechnologies.com) and other companies came out with CD players that could process the digital audio on the CD in real time, enabling customers to change tempo and pitch independently. Today, you can do the same thing with a $49.95 computer program called Amazing Slowdowner (www.ronimusic.com). Changing the tempo of a recording for play-along practice is a useful thing to be able to do. Performing the solo part of a concerto and having the orchestra actually follow you is a substantially different matter. In the early 1990s, pianist and selftaught computer programmer, Frank Weinstock (recently retired as acting dean at the University of Cincinnati CollegeConservatory of Music), undertook the challenge of coming up with a software program that would “listen” to a soloist, match the soloist ’s playing to a music score, and output a coordinated orchestral

accompaniment. He called his prototype software, Concerto Accompanist. I discovered Frank in the early 1990s while researching an article that I wrote for the Summer 1992 issue of Piano Quarterly called Using a Computer Piano. This article appeared in my column, Tackling Technology. With a Yamaha Disklavier piano connected by MIDI cables and interface to a Macintosh computer, Frank’s program was able to track a piano performance in real time. As each note was played, a message was transmitted to the computer informing it of the exact pitch, and Concerto Accompanist was able to match the note to an existing score (in the form of a MIDI file). Even more remarkably, Concerto Accompanist was able to evaluate the importance of each note, accommodate mistakes, make musically intelligent decisions about the tempo as it fluctuated in real time, and output a musically coordinated accompaniment. In the mid-1990s, I had the opportunity to use this experimental software program with my own Disklavier while preparing

48

CLAVIER COMPANION

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2012



Clavier Companion - January/February 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clavier Companion - January/February 2012

Clavier Companion - January/February 2012
Contents
Editor's Page: New discoveries
Variations: Tackling a twelve-year old's slump
Musings: Creative being and the disciplined life
An interview with Jean-Yves Thibaudet
The story of music on board the RMS Titanic
The enchanted world of piano fairy tales
Jazz & Pop: The rhythms of jazz: Syncopation
Music Reading: Recipes for effective teaching
Perspectives: Coping with burnout
Technology: Virtual reality in the piano studio
Tech Tips
First Looks: What Music Means To Me
New music reviews
CD & DVD reviews
News & Notes
Pupil Saver
Keyboard Kids' Companion
Advertiser Index
Questions & Answers
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Clavier Companion - January/February 2012
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Cover2
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Contents
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 2
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 3
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Editor's Page: New discoveries
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 5
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Variations: Tackling a twelve-year old's slump
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 7
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Musings: Creative being and the disciplined life
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 9
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - An interview with Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 11
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 12
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 13
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 14
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 15
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 16
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 17
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - The story of music on board the RMS Titanic
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 19
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 20
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 21
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 22
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 23
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 24
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 25
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 26
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 27
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 28
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 29
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - The enchanted world of piano fairy tales
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 31
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 32
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 33
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 34
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 35
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Jazz & Pop: The rhythms of jazz: Syncopation
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 37
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Music Reading: Recipes for effective teaching
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 39
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 40
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 41
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Perspectives: Coping with burnout
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 43
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 44
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 45
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Technology: Virtual reality in the piano studio
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Tech Tips
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 48
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 49
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - New music reviews
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 51
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 52
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 53
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - CD & DVD reviews
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 55
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - News & Notes
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Pupil Saver
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 58
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 59
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Keyboard Kids' Companion
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 61
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Advertiser Index
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 63
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Questions & Answers
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Cover3
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Cover4
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