“who says piano keys have to be just black and white?”
— Maggie Malloy, Second Inversion

Like the prepared piano, the prepared digital piano feels just like a piano under the hands and often sounds like one, but it is full of surprises; instead of bolts and screws stuck between the piano strings, virtual machines of various sorts adorn the virtual strings of the digital piano, transforming it into an instrument that pushes back, sometimes like a metronome, other times like a recording played backwards. The virtual strings also tighten and loosen on the fly, dynamically tuning in response to what is played.

bitKlavier is the software engine that drives the prepared digital piano, running on MacOSX, iOS, and Windows. An open-source project developed by Dan Trueman and Mike Mulshine at Princeton University, bitKlavier bas been used by dozens of performers—from young students to renowned professionals—in a range of compositions by Trueman and others. A new online course—Reinventing the Piano—presented by Kadenze makes extensive use of bitKlavier to teach about the history and ongoing development of the piano.

Learn more, in this short video made about the origins of bitKlavier, before it was even so-named:

Much has changed since this video was made, and much is planned for bitKlavier’s future! Learn more about its history, including an FAQ.

Development of bitKlavier has been sponsored by the American Council of Learned Societies, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and Princeton University’s Center for Digital Humanities, Council on Science and Technology, Council of the Humanities, and Department of Music.

fortune favors the prepared!