Piano of Hanoi or Recursive Piano

Elico Suzuki

Hanoi New Music Festival 2018,Vietnam Museum of Ethnology / 15th December to 18th December 2018

The work consists of an upright piano and four toy pianos and the aim is to realize a concept of an 'Air-prepared piano' to 'Expand the user interface of the piano' by adding 'Recursiveness to the interaction'.

'Air-prepared piano' is an idea to expand the concept of John Cage's 'Prepared Piano' by extending the physical movements of pianos into the performance space by connecting the hammers of an upright piano to the keys of the toy pianos to generate space between the piano sounds.
To 'expand the user interface of the piano' is the idea to try and exaggerate the behaviors of keys as a piano interface without players. Extending the movements of the piano's parts highlights the complicated structures and counter-intuitive mechanisms of the piano.
'Recursiveness of the interaction’ means how the work is defined by the recursiveness of its processes. When a key is hit its movement turns on a switch, such that a different piano is played. If this simple condition is continually satisfied, a process of music generation takes place. That is to say, the interaction takes place over an arbitrary length of time as defined by its one and only condition being recursively satisfied.

The five pianos are connected to each other by wires and their keys are moved by solenoids. When a key moves, wires attached to the keys and hammers move switches. Circuits of switches move the solenoids, and these movements transition from piano to piano.

It is a little similar to a 'Rube Goldberg machine' , but this work is much more recursive. The title of the work echoes the 'Tower of Hanoi', which is a mathematical game that uses a recursive algorithm - as this work plays with the idea of recursiveness, it is named after the game, especially as the work was made for the Hanoi New Music Festival in Vietnam in 2018.


Performance: There were two live performances by Yii Kao Hoe and Elico Suzuki at the Festival.

Yii Kao Hoe is a Malaysian composer and improviser and he made an improvised performance with the installation on 17th December 2018.

On the 18th December Elico performed using the installation - firstly, she expanded the installation with extra wires and solenoids and then she gradually took apart the installation, incorporating the sounds and movements of the deconstruction into the performance.

What is Tower of Hanoi?

'The Tower of Hanoi (also called the Tower of Brahma or Lucas' Tower and sometimes pluralized) is a mathematical game or puzzle.

It consists of three rods and a number of disks of different sizes, which can slide onto any rod. The puzzle starts with the disks in a neat stack in ascending order of size on one rod, the smallest at the top, thus making a conical shape.'

There are some solutions, contain recursive solotuion. wikipedia "Tower of Hanoi"

How does it work for the piano ?

 After the first piano plays piano happens,

 "piano plays piano" plays piano

 ""piano plays piano" plays piano" plays piano

 """piano plays piano" plays piano" plays piano" plays piano ...


There was also a presentation by Elico at the Festival Symposium to explain the concept of this work and show some related examples.



Circuits, program and devices :Elico Suzuki
Helps: Kim Ngoc Tran , Nguyễn Anh Tuấn, Nguyen Duc Tang , Van Do, Kazuki Saita, Jonathan Kemp
Sponsors : Japan foundation Asia center, British Council, caffe Italia, Kenh14.vn

Related links


Hanoi New Music Festival 2018

Elico Suzuki / suzueri