Further Developments in the Electromagnetically Sustained Rhodes Piano

Shear, Greg and Wright, Matthew

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

The Electromagnetically Sustained Rhodes Piano is an orig-inal Rhodes Piano modified to provide control over the amplitude envelope of individual notes through aftertouch pressure. Although there are many opportunities to shape the amplitude envelope before loudspeaker amplification, they are all governed by the ever-decaying physical vibra-tions of the tone generating mechanism. A single-note proof of concept for electromagnetic control over this vibrating mechanism was presented at NIME 2011. In the past year, virtually every aspect of the system has been improved. We use a different vibration sensor that is immune to electromagnetic interference, thus eliminat-ing troublesome feedback. For control, we both reduce cost and gain continuous position sensing throughout the entire range of key motion in addition to aftertouch pressure. Finally, the entire system now fits within the space constraints presented by the original piano, allowing it to be installed on adjacent notes.