Pianist blends nanotechnology with music

Nov 15, 2007
Pianist blends nanotechnology with music

If the hard science of nanotechnology took on the soft curves of classical music, what would it sound like? The two will come together at a concert Friday, under the nimble fingers of pianist Milton Schlosser, a University of Alberta music professor.

Schlosser, based at the U of A's Augustana Faculty in Camrose, is premiering a series of 'nanosonatas' written specifically for him by American composer Frederic Rzewski. The work, entitled Nanosonatas, Volume 1, was commissioned by Schlosser through the U of A's Humanities, Fine Arts and Social Sciences Research grant program.

The composition reflects Rzewski's interest in biomolecular nanomachines. He essentially compresses the form of 20- to 40-minute, 19th-century sonatas into seven three-minute segments which challenge music-lovers in exciting new ways, Schlosser said.

"You are left having to refocus your expectations of what music is. It challenges the notion of art as always pretty," he said. "The melody becomes pin-pointed, and listeners are going to have to remember states of being, moments of sound."

Each tiny piece in the 21-minute work stores a wealth of musical ideas. It is challenging to perform, he admits. Not surprisingly, "every note counts."

The nano-notes are inspired by a friendship Rzewski struck up with a physicist who also happened to be an amateur pianist. Rzewski, who will visit Augustana Campus in February, set out to compose a reflective piece after his physicist friend showed him a video of a rotating nanomotor - a device that is 300 to 500 times smaller than the width of a hair.

"In terms of sound, the music of the first nanosonata imitates the changing pace of the nanomotor," Schlosser said. He describes the entire collection of nanosonatas as avant-garde with a touch of the abstract.

The blending of technology and music bridges the chasm between art and science, Schlosser said. "It also shows on a human level that technology has to have its expression in the arts as well."

Source: University of Alberta

Explore further: Best of Last Week–Can space travel faster than light, another planet behind the Sun and should we allow head transplants

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Korean tech start-ups offer life beyond Samsung

17 hours ago

As an engineering major at Seoul's Yonsei University, Yoon Ja-Young was perfectly poised to follow the secure, lucrative and socially prized career path long-favoured by South Korea's elite graduates.

NASA satellite sees a warm winter in the Western US

2 hours ago

While people in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S have been dealing with Arctic Air, the bulge in the Jet Stream over the eastern Pacific Ocean has been keeping the western third of the U.S. in warmer than ...

Recommended for you

Bribery 'hits 1.6 billion people a year'

Feb 27, 2015

A total of 1.6 billion people worldwide – nearly a quarter of the global population – are forced to pay bribes to gain access to everyday public services, according to a new book by academics at the Universities of Birmingham ...

How music listening programmes can be easily fooled

Feb 26, 2015

For well over two decades, researchers have sought to build music listening software that can address the deluge of music growing faster than our Spotify-spoilt appetites. From software that can tell you ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.