Ever heard of Geoff Smith and his “fluid piano”? Dig this article and video. Now, forget all the experimenting-with-eastern-scales-a-genuinely-new-world-awaits claptrap. That’s as may be; I’ll leave that to the—um—visionaries. I’ve got my bona fides, after all; I published an article on Raga Rock once, so I’m, y’know, all cross-cultural and about breaking down barriers and like that.
Not!, but never mind. What this instrument would be for me is the ideal workshop instrument for experimenting with unequal temperaments and the music of Chopin, which has been an ongoing research project of mine. So forget (until later) the tuning hammer, the SAT III electronic measuring device, forget all of it. Just me and Chopin and my ears and his music, and tuning slides that would enable me to change things as subtly as I can, almost instantly, to get his music into focus with what I conceive the exact right tuning to be. My methodology has been, more than anything else, to tune the temperament to the music (if that makes any sense at all), and though I’ve published a short and very obscure piece on the subject I’ve yet to write it up in more readily available form. Some of the effects are truly astounding, though.
I don’t, frankly, see the fluid piano as a concert instrument, at least as a classical concert instrument; I can’t tell but I don’t think it has 88 (or even 85) keys, and that lets it out for much of the Romantic repertoire, really. I don’t know what one of these things would cost, but I’d sure love one.
Let me finish with the incomparable chutzpah of quoting Wagner: “But will such a prince be found?”
Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving!