The Talking Piano

The Talking Piano

In the original work, the Austrian composer “Peter Ablinger” transferred the frequency spectrum of Miro Markus narrating the Proclamation of the European Environmental Criminal Court at World Venice Forum 2009 to his computer controlled mechanical piano.

I set my goal to recreate this installation in the digital environment using Max/MSP and finally implement the solution in Ableton Live! by creating two Max4Live devices.
One device analyzes the audio stream for amplitude peaks in seperate frequency bands with a fast fourier tranformation (FFT). The result is then mapped to the 88 notes of a full piano scale in respect to the according frequency.

webe.AtoM-Audio_In (M4L Audio Plugin): webe.AtoM-MIDI_Out (M4L MIDI Plugin):
AtoM1 AtoM2


I am still looking into the possibilities of setting this up as an interactive installation using a MIDI-controlled Grand Piano, that looks like it is directly connected to a microphone.
The Audio to MIDI conversion would take place inside the Max/MSP Patch and feed the resulting MIDI Notes to the Piano’s MIDI-Interface – triggering the notes in real time.


Visitors are encouraged to sing and talk into the microphone, creating a playful exchange between the piano and the people.



Omnicube is generative visual patch that mainly consists of three oscillators that manipulte simple geometric objects. By default the oscillators produce sine waves an octave apart at 1Hz, 2Hz and 4Hz.
These three sine waves manipulate the geometric properties of the objects rendered in the Jitter engine of Max/MSP.

Watching the objects makes you feel like you can grasp the moments where all oscillators reach the same peak amplitude. This process can get totally random when different frequencies are chosen or if the phases get shifted over time.


The patch allows different shapes, styles, positions and colors of the render. Every parameter can be mapped to the oscillators or be triggered by random chance.
Hooking up an interesting human-machine interface, such as a leap motion makes it all the more fun.

The Pd-Version (GEM) of the Patch is Open Source and freely available in GitHub.
The Max/MSP-Version (Jitter) is not released yet, since I want to add more features and build a nicer GUI.