To support our site, Class Central may be compensated by some course providers.

Reinventing the Piano

Princeton University via Kadenze

students interested
  • Provider Kadenze
  • Subject Music
  • $ Cost Free Online Course
  • Language English
  • Certificate Paid Certificate Available
  • Start Date
  • Duration 5 weeks long

Taken this course? Share your experience with other students. Write review


The piano remains one of the great achievements of musical instrument design and has long served as a primary creative tool for musicians worldwide. In this course, we will look at how the piano’s design touches on a range of diverse topics, like: where musical scales come from and how the piano’s design impacts creativity; the expressive relationship between various keyboard instrument designs; the extraordinary range of color that emerges when we listen closely to how various intervals can be tuned, and in turn the choices we need to make when tuning a keyboard instrument. We will also consider how the piano can be reinvented, both acoustically and digitally. This will include study of the prepared piano, the autonomous piano, and the digital piano, as well as Trueman’s own prepared digital piano, which itself raises a host of questions regarding rhythm, meter and groove, music perception, adaptive digital systems, and the creative process.

This is not a history course, but it is course that uses the piano to bring together a range of subjects that are often ignored or under developed in traditional music curricula. Nor is it a composition course, but students will be asked to create in a variety of ways, and it should be of use to both experienced and aspiring composers, not to mention pianists. We will engage with a range of music, going back to Frescobaldi, Scarlatti, J.S. Bach and his son C.P.E. Bach, through Schubert, all the way to more recent composers like Conlon Nancarrow, György Ligeti, and John Cage. And finally this is in part an “artist practicum” course, focusing on the creative process and how composers today might invent, and reinvent, instruments to create new work; some of Trueman’s own work, including the Nostalgic Synchronic Etudes for prepared digital piano, will come in to play.


Session 1: The Piano: Design And History 
keyboard layout, hammers and strings, timbre, overtones; clavichord, harpsichord; the digital piano, sampling—building a digital piano
Session 2: Tuning, Temperament And Tone 
tuning systems, sonorities, melodies and modulation; sampling and synthesis substitutions; the prepared piano
Session 3: Digitally Preparing The Piano 
synchronic and nostalgic preparations; rhythm, meter, musical time
Session 4: The Changeable Piano 
instruments that change as they are played; adaptive and composed tuning; adaptive tempi
Session 5: Composing For (And With) The Prepared Digital Piano 
The Nostalgic Synchronic Etudes; the Mikroetude Project

Taught by

Dan Trueman

Reviews for Kadenze's Reinventing the Piano
5.0 Based on 4 reviews

  • 5 stars 100%
  • 4 star 0%
  • 3 star 0%
  • 2 star 0%
  • 1 star 0%

Did you take this course? Share your experience with other students.

Write a review
  • 1
杨玥 杨
5.0 9 months ago
by 杨玥 is taking this course right now.
I finished much courses from university , but I think these courses must understand teacher's thought and exchanged with your teacher and let them understand your thought , and then teach yourself according to your course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
5.0 9 months ago
Anonymous completed this course.
This course was quite a pleasure. Dan Trueman's instruction is fascinating, incisive, and informative, and the project/quiz components were an excellent complement to the course material. I would highly recommend this course!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
5.0 a year ago
Anonymous completed this course.
This was a great eye opening course, everything was spot on and very inspiring . I highly recommend it to any musician.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
5.0 6 months ago
Anonymous audited this course.
If you are interested in music/computer music, this course is a must. The content and quality of the videos are outstanding.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
  • 1

Class Central

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Sign up for free

Never stop learning Never Stop Learning!

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.