This article describes a new kind of digital musical instrument, a novel assemblage of the familiar MIDI keyboard with custom interactive software. Inspired by John Cage's prepared piano, our instrument both takes advantage of and subverts the pianist's hard-earned, embodied training, while also inviting an extended configuration stage that “prepares” the instrument to behave in composition-specific, idiosyncratic ways. Through its flexible—though constrained—design, the instrument aims to inspire a playful approach to instrument building, composition, and performance. We outline the development history of our instrument, called bitKlavier, its current design, and some of its musical possibilities.

This content is only available as a PDF.

Supplementary data