Of all extended playing techniques available inside the piano, harmonics are surely among the most important, offering a wide range of attractive timbres and a rich micro-tonality. It is therefore surprising that harmonics have usually been treated by both composers and performers more or less in an ad hoc way. It is not unusual to see even very famous composers writing harmonics that cannot be played as written in most of the world’s concert halls, and most pianists would find it very difficult to locate any higher harmonics than the 5th (conveniently located a few centimetres behind the dampers).
The aim of this project has been to explore the harmonic sounds available from a grand piano in a systematic way, and to make the results available to composers and pianists around the world. This site contains a two-dimensional interactive map of harmonic nodes on the bass strings, as well as high-quality recordings of over 700 different harmonics. Both the map and the recordings can also be downloaded freely from this site.
The project is run by pianist Jonas Olsson and composers Johan Svensson and Martin Rane Bauck.
The project is supported by:
- Konstnärsnämnden (The Swedish Arts Grants Committee)
- Helge Ax:son Johnsons stiftelse (Helge Ax:son Johnson’s Foundation)
- Steinway Norge (Steinway Norway)