Piano Plays Piano

Elico Suzuki

At Islington mill, Manchester / 6th to 8th March 2017

This project is the study of how to play a piano with a piano using an ever expanding user interface for a piano.

It is the study of prepared pianos made by expanding the user interface of the piano but without modifying its oscillators, that is, the piano strings.
User interfaces determine the behaviours of both mechanisms and humans.

And user interfaces for musical instruments determine both the sound of the instrument and the behaviour of the performer
- especially for the piano, who'se interface is already complicated and from who'se complicated mechanism comes out complicated compositions.

This work consists of an automatic player device, timer switch circuits , strings and wires, an upright piano and toy pianos.

Each instrument is connected and activated by a series of fragile and vulnerable strings,
so they won't be played precisely, rather an unexpected composition will be played.

Could we expand this interface more and more to make even more new instruments and compositions?
This work both asks, and tries to answer, such a question.


Connect strings to the hammer of the upright piano. Connect one contact of the switch to the strings, and make it touch the other contact when the strings move. The switch triggers the timer device to move the other devices which push the other piano’s key. When the key of the main piano is pushed, its hammer strikes the strings, And the strings turn on the switch. And the switch moves the device. And the device pushes the other piano’s key.

Using hammers for such usage seems to be the first time appeared in the prepared piano and the composition history.

Concept sheet

This project was presentated at 'Harvard University Graduate Music Form 2018'.
This slide was the presaentation material.(need flash player)

Tech rider

This work needs an upright piano and toy pianos. If there isn't any upright piano, it can be replaced by another toy piano. Strings should be stretched from the ceiling and/or the floor, and connected from piano to piano.
There can be as many switches as the number of keys of the piano.

The connections can be expanded depending on the size of the room and the number of pianos. Toys, gadgets and instruments other than pianos can be added as they will expand the range of sounds and composition.
The device playing the piano is constructed of a clamp and a solenoid which can be fixed to any kind of piano.

The switch and timer device consists of an Arduino nano and handmade circuit. It is a simple timer circuit which runs on electric power.

This work can be exhibited as the sound installation and can also be played in an improvised performance.


This works was made for the project of full of noises "Yo-No-Bi".

Composition and Gimmick : Elico Suzuki
Circuits and Software : Elico Suzuki, Kazuki Saita
Helps : Glenn Boulter, Ryoko Akama,Makoto Oshiro, Kazuki Saita, Jonathan Kemp
Curation: Ryoko Akama
Organize:Octopus collective, Full of noises
Supports:Arts Council England, Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, the Japan Society and the Japan Foundation.

Related links


The event page of Octopus collective

Full of Noises

Islingotn mill

Elico Suzuki / suzueri