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1916 __ Optophonic Piano
Vladimir Baranoff Rossiné (1888-1944)
Comment : The Optophonic Piano was an electronic optical instrument created by the Russian Futurist painter Vladimir Baranoff Rossiné (Born in 1888 at Kherson, Ukraine - Russia, died Paris, France 1944). Rossiné started working on his instrument c1916. The Optophonic Piano was used at exhibitions of his own paintings and revolutionary artistic events in the new Soviet Union, Rossiné later gave two concerts with his instrument (with his wife Pauline Boukour), at the Meyerhold and Bolchoi theatres in 1924. Vladimir Rossiné left the Soviet Union in 1925, emigrated to Paris where he continued to hold exhibitions of paintings and concerts of his instrument. The Optophonic Piano generated sounds and projected revolving patterns onto a wall or ceiling by directing a bright light through a series revolving painted glass disks (painted by Rossiné), filters, mirrors and lenses. The keyboard controlled the combination of the various filters and disks. The variations in opacity of the painted disk and filters were picked up by a photo-electric cell controling the pitch of a single oscillator. The instrument produced a continuous varying tone which, accompanied by the rotating kaleidascopic projections was used by Vladimir Rossiné at exhibitions and public events. (Compiled from various sources)"Imagine that every key of an organ's keyboard immobilises in a specific position, or moves a determined element, more or less rapidly, in a group of transparent filters which a beam of white light pierces, and this will give you an idea of the instrument Baranoff-Rossiné invented. There are various kinds of luminous filters: simply coloured ones optical elements such as prisms, lenses or mirrors; filters containing graphic elements and, finally, filters with coloured shapes and defined outlines. If on the top of this, you can modify the projector's position, the screen frame, the symmetry or asymmetry of the compositions and their movements and intensity; then, you will be able to reconstitute this optical piano that will play an infinite number of musical compositions. The key word here is interpret, because, for the time being, the aim is not to find a unique rendering of an existing musical composition for which the author did not foresee a version expressed by light. In music, as in any other artistic interpretation, one has to take into account elements such as the talent and sensitivity of the musician in order to fully understand the author's mind-frame. The day when a composer will compose music using notes that remain to be determined in terms of music and light, the interpreter's liberty will be curtailed, and that day, the artistic unity we were talking about will probably be closer to perfection...". (Extract of an original text by Baranoff Rossiné - 1916)
French comment : « Imaginez que chaque touche d'un clavier de piano d'orgue immobilise dans une position choisie, ou fasse mouvoir plus ou moins rapidement un élément déterminé dans un ensemble de filtres transparents qu'un faisceau de lumière blanche traverse et vous aurez l'idée de l'appareil conçu par Baranoff-Rossiné. Les filtres lumineux sont de plusieurs sortes : des filtres simplement colorés - des éléments d'optique tels que prismes, lentilles ou miroirs - des filtres comportant des éléments graphiques, d'autres enfin comportant des formes colorées à contours définis. Ajoutez à cela la possibilité d'agir sur la position du projecteur, sur le cadre d'écran, sur la symétrie ou l'asymétrie des compositions et de leurs mouvements et sur son intensité, et vous pourrez reconstituer ce piano lumineux qui servira à interpréter une infinité de compositions musicales. Interpréter en effet - car pour le moment, il ne s'agit pas de trouver une seule et unique traduction d'un ouvrage musical existant, pour lequel son auteur n'a pas prévu une superposition lumineuse. En musique, comme en tout autre art l'interprétation, le talent, la sensibilité de l'interprète sont des éléments par lesquels il faut bien passer pour pénétrer la pensée de l'auteur. Le jour où un compositeur écrira à la fois, avec une notation dont il reste à déterminer les éléments en musique et en lumière, l'interprète aura un moindre degré de liberté, et ce jour-là, sans doute, l'unité artistique dont nous parlions, sera beaucoup plus parfaite... ». (Vladimir Baranoff Rossiné, 1926 ?)
Urls : http://120years.net/machines/optophonic/index.html (last visited ) http://dbr.club.fr/piano.htm (last visited ) http://dbr.club.fr/optophon.htm (last visited ) http://www.umatic.nl/tonewheels_historical.html (last visited ) http://www.keyboardmuseum.org/pre60/1900/optophonic.html (last visited )

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