Piano Street Magazine

The Fluid Piano – The world’s first multi-cultural Acoustic Piano.

June 11th, 2010 in Piano News by | 20 comments

Pam Chowhan & the Fluid Piano™

Pam Chowhan & the Fluid Piano™

British composer Geoff Smith has invented a new instrument – The Fluid Piano – an acoustic piano which enables musicians to alter each note individually and separately by precise microtonal intervals per note before or during performance.

“…here, at last, is a piano that can easily sit within any musical context in the world, and that opens up new and infinite horizons of expressive possibilities.”
Pam Chowhan, pianist, composer,
Head of Planning, London’s Southbank Centre.

So what makes the Fluid Piano so special?
If you imagine an Acoustic piano with no tuning restrictions, a piano with an immense diversity of ‘bespoke‘ tuning layouts and ‘indigenous’ scales from around the world (e.g. from Middle Eastern cultures) and a piano that even allows you to alter the tuning whilst playing – or simply to remain in the standard ‘western’ tuning should you wish – then you are half way to imagining the Fluid Piano. One of its beauties is that it enables musicians to alter each note individually and separately by precise microtonal intervals per note, before or during performance. This liberates the instrument from the restrictions of ‘western’ tuning to make the Fluid Piano the first ‘multi-cultural’ Acoustic piano.

Feature in BBC News

The Guardian:

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  • H Moy says:

    Quite special. Music evolution. Love it!

  • Progress23 says:

    This brings to mind the works of Don Ellis with his quarter-tone trumpet and the Hindustani Jazz Sextet. I think he would have loved this.

  • That is fantastic, I need to get one. That guy has put so much work into that piano. What an achievement.

  • Bruno says:

    I have a passion for classical music and I love the piano (do not know how to play).
    I was enchanted by your fluid piano, and I ask you: what do you think if the microtonalities adjustment mechanism could be used by feet?
    Do you think that would be more practical for a player (always leave the hands free)?
    Thank you

  • Rick says:

    I am involved with Flamenco….what a great instrument for a Flamenco musician. So much of the guitar, vocals, and other instrumentation of Flamenco REQUIRES bending the pitches. What a brilliant concept. Ole!!!

  • kaarin says:

    For heavens sake ? Let a PIANO be a PIANO and call this “TOY” something else !!!

  • Norberto says:

    It is interesting for the culture of the music

  • Roger Jones, P.Eng, SMIEEE says:

    As a western music classical pianist I see only one advantage to this thing – you can tune the piano without tools or pin/pin-block damage and keep it at “concert” pitch over the seasons. Don’t need to pay a tuning tech, either. That said, it’s not cross-strung (obviously) so it’s “long for it’s size” and may sound a bit thin compared to a normal grand of same nominal size, sort of “pre-modern grand” sound. If wanted, this effect could be done more cheaply and effectively as a digital piano, plus a good sound system of course. The various tunings could be refined and stored for the various instruments being emulated. Ingenious, but not for me!

  • KenH says:

    Hey kaarin, if people had the ‘let a piano be a piano” attitude when the first advances in piano making were introduced we’d all still be playing clavichords!

  • felix chimes says:

    Hello, i am a piano buff ,i would like to know if this piano is for sale and the current price ,lets say in US$ .I am in South Australia .Hope its on the market. Felix.

  • felix chimes says:

    well i have 6 pianos and 3 are digital, i could`nt appreciate the utube vidio as it was stop start 7sec off 3 sec on. however if this instrument is based on a concert grand then i want one. The other thing the action ,”can this be moderated”?. as a short note i am the proud owner of the worst digital piano on the planet from China sold in Australia under the name MeloDIC, words cannot describe this heap of junk i bought it on the net. My best digital is a Technics love it. Sorry to rant on .Felix.

  • Hanna says:

    Pretty G! is what my sister would say. I like it -it’s kind of like piano 2.0 well since there was the harpichord and all sorts of pianos invented before until the standard acoustic one. Then came the digital kind. An acoustic that can make a wide range of tonalities is COOL! It’s very unique -the ability to adjust microtonalities and such -still the better question is: who can play this instrument to the breath of musicality it has to offer?

  • Robyn says:

    I agree with, “Let the piano, be a piano” and call this instrument something else. I believe a sort of macro-evolution has occurred here, a new species has been developed. This makes the possibilities BEYOND piano, so it really is a whole new animal. The music that would be composed on it will be different with the bending of notes, etc…yes, a marvel, but not a traditional piano. The beauty of that is to be appreciated separately. Changing it so drastically, really makes it something else.

  • kaarin says:

    Hi KenH, good point ;o) … however – at least in my opinion – the development from clavichord to piano was an ‘improvement’. No need to improve a good piano!!! Therefore I repeat:Let a piano be a piano and call this toy something else ;o)

  • John Berg says:

    Your opinion would register more effectively with me if you would cease use of the pejorative “toy” characterization of this instrument. Your choice of that term comes across as pretty snobbish. I wonder what word you would apply to a Fender-Rhodes electronic piano? Or a Mellotron? Or any number of other keyboard innovations over the past 40 years that are used commonly in the world of jazz, rock and world music. Are those “toys” also? But even for those who are acoustice “purissts”, it seems to me that this new instrument is a serious effort at expanding the acoustic realm of tuneful percussion instruments — which is what a piano is. I happen to love the flexibility demonstrated in the demo shown here, and look foward to hearing more.

  • I don’t think the reference to this being a toy has to be a negative. After all, you play a piano, you don’t work a piano. In any case, it’s the kind of toy I would love to have and play with.

  • c says:

    I did feel the restrictions when I firstly learned piano~ this is just wonderful!!

  • Hmmm says:

    I love the idea.
    I wish the timbre, though, wasn’t so “harpsichord-like”. More resonant, the better, in my view. At any rate, I think this instrument has the potential to unlock a whole range of music, previously unaccessible, or at least less privy, to Western pianists.

  • pc says:

    Nice one. How much will it cost please?

  • keith burchnall says:

    I think it is perfectly legitimate to call this a piano. Technically one could call it a non-fixed pitch forte-piano. If it were simply tuned to a mean-tone or equal-temper scale, it would be great for playing Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and the like. With this new effect allowing portamento, vibrato, “blue” microtones, all sorts of expression short of swell, this is really a useful addition, in my opinion.

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