Tag Archives: piano

First test of the Hailstone Piano

I’m currently working on a composition which uses the Collatz Conjecture (or Hailstone Numbers) as source data in a piece for solo Disklavier Piano. Below is a screenshot from a (currently too messy to post) Processing script I wrote to get a better idea of the behavior of these numbers.

The first run is essentially just about getting the Javascript to calculate the numbers, and Max/MSP to spit them out to the Piano. Still looking for an effective way to map the numbers into notes, but for now just getting all the tech to play nice and a feel for the instrument’s behaviour.

Collatz Piano (test#1) from Ithaca Trio on Vimeo.

The main inspiration behind the piece is György Ligeti’s Piano Etude no.1: Disordre. I love the frenetic pace, and the algorithmically derived recursion of the piece, but with the Collatz project I’m toying with the concept of softening the aggressive/human element of that speed (the Disklavier can play very fast with a ‘softer’ touch/velocity), in a falling ‘hailstone’ pattern.