This avant-garde aleatoric piano symphonic cycle consists of four symphonies:
Piano symphony for three notes (playing on piano using only three notes)
Piano symphony for two notes (playing on piano using only two notes)
Piano symphony for one note (playing on piano using only one note)
Piano symphony without notes (using only percussion techniques on the piano)
Thanks a lot to Irina Kazanskaya for playing this piece live:
Played by Alexey Arkhipenko:
The idea to create this work suddenly came to my head when I was going home from my work. I decided to create a long work using only three notes. I chose major triad, because its sound is most versatile. I recorded it without any preparation on midi piano in one take, developing composition during the recording process.
The next idea was to create two more compositions for two and for one note. When recording two-note piece I started to play to youtube in the middle of the piece (about 4 minutes in total): I played some song on youtube and played some improvisation on piano without recording youtube sound. I chose several Nirvana songs.
When I got to recording one-note piece, my new idea was to remap all keys on the keyboard to a single sound so that I could play passages using different keys but would get a sound like playing a single key. When recording this way I found out that releases of old keys in MIDI were cutting off new notes, which led to a staccato effect and sometimes to not-very-realistic cut-off effects. Then I thought that a better solution could be mapping each key to a separate instance of virtual piano instrument, but this could lead to phasing, so I did not do it. In general I liked the sound, although one-note piece sound is closer to sound design than realistic recording due to key remapping.
I used NI The Maverick for three first tracks. Irina Kazanskaya used The Giant library.
At the same time I decided that the next track could be for zero notes. To make it part of a cycle I decided to also use piano for this track, but without playing notes. An obvious way to do it was to use pedals and muted keys as percussion. I did not find appropriate library and decided to make live audio recording. We muted keys with paper and I recorded performance using four microphone positions. Later I used only AKG C-214 condenser microphone track, which was facing piano from above. I did not use other microphone tracks, because they had too much noise. I added a little reverberation to it later with 2C Aether (Garage). Please see comparison of tracks of each microphone in video below (you can also download each microphone track synchronized here).
I am not a professional pianist and my recording of this piano symphonic cycle is not aimed at uniform rhythm and dynamics. I would be glad if a pianist performs this cycle with a different approach.