The Intervalic Keyboard

The construction of the intervalic piano could mean a basic point of inflection in the History of Music. It is not folly to affirm that Western music, tonal music, would not exist if the tonal keyboard, and above all the tonal piano hadn't been invented and built.

The piano is the catalyst that causes musical creation to explode. We can be sure that if instead of the tonal disposition of the keyboard there had been another, the History of Music would have been different. To this extent is the piano an influence on music. On the contrary, the rest of the string and woodwind instruments had no more influence on music than what was generated by the sonorous factor, and the other way round, the tonal theory or the intervalic theory have not influenced the manufacture of these instruments.

It is of course possible to compose and play tonal music on an intervalic piano, and vice versa, but these combinations are shoddy to say the least.

Music is committed to introducing a metricalness into its space of frequencies. Whichever metrical geometry is chosen, it will be forcefully within the limits of Mathematics, which also means within the Intervalic System. Music has been submerged in a black hole for the last half century, and desperately needs to get out. The Intervalic System is not a personal theory but rather an unconscious and collective discovery of the true nature of the sonorous space. I have simply been lucky enough to be its spokesman. The Intervalic  System is setting the theoretical basis for the future which is already the present, but for the spirit of music to recuperate life it needs a material vehicle, and that material vehicle is the intervalic piano.




by Sydney d'Agvilo

A new Piano concept

Apart from what was already been said about the intervalic keyboard and the Intervalic System, I would like to draw attention to a new type of sonority that arises from the piano in these recordings as a consequence of a pianistic treatment I believe to be without precedence (even for an indirect disciple of Franz Liszt -a technical and musical inheritance of extraordinary value that I am proud to maintain, transmit and continue as far as possible-). From an aesthetic point of view it is characterized by the elimination of the percussive timbres of the piano, and a prolonged maintenance of the sound in long lines of natural reverberation, producing an illusion of listening to a velvety instrument of plucked or bowed rather than percussive strings.

I must confess to the great pleasure I receive from loosing myself while listening to a rainfall of natural harmonics, from disappearing and becoming immersed in a calm sea of sounds that are soft and deep, sinuous and relaxing or sensual and fluctuating, and in so doing recovering -or inventing- the pure sound of the piano, a sweetly liquid sound, rich, full-bodied, espherically diffused in space like an ever present melodious voice. I believe that the sound of the piano -depending on the performer- can become as personal  and exposing as the sounds that traditionally belong to other instruments, particularly those of plucked or bowed strings.

On the other hand, the architecture of a musical composition derived from intervalic principles enables the composer to create what one could call an organic musical structure whose generating strength is born of the same basic intervalic material, the intervals themselves, organized as if they were bricks that, little by little, create a building. At the other end of the spectrum, in the great musical styles of the past the structure was inevitably predetermined even before composing the piece, by a pre-existing structure. No matter what musical form was chosen the shell and the structural underpinnings came beforehand. In addition, this structure's own intrinsic characteristics predetermined the way in which it had to be filled in, using tonal constructions or functions such as the musical phrase, functionality, musical forms etc. or by systematically negating them either partially or totally, as in dodecaphonic music and related tendencies.

The concept of organic structure is closely linked to the use of rhythm. In the intervalic concept of rhythm, the traditional tempo, based on a monotonous and regular pulsation, disappears and is substituted by vibration. Vibration in itself produces a sense of movement, but this movement never becomes monotonous or regular because by increasing or decreasing the frequency of the vibration you produce a delicate, permanent and almost imperceptable acceleration or de-acceleration (or transitory and perceptable, depending on the desired effect at a given moment). In this way great plains of vibratory waves are created in the midst of a vast oceanic world inextricably linked to the structure of the "building" you are creating from sound. All of these characteristics give these compositions a special and surprising quality that might prove disconcerting to the new listener, since many of these subtleties, the constant play of intervals and even the musical structure itself may go unnoticed at first. Upon repeated listening, however, one discovers an infinite world of relationships and shadings. It is both surprising, and sometimes even annoying, to realize that we have been unaware for so long of sound relationships that now apear obvious to us. Fortunately, one of the characteristics of good music, indeed, its principal characteristic, is that it is timeless and we never tire of it. And we never will tire of it because as we continue to listen we will discover to our delight new sensations and shifting shadows that never fade no matter how often we listen to and enjoy them. I sincerely hope that my improvisations for intervalic piano fulfill this promise.

In effect, such a radically new sound seems to belong more to an unidentified instrument floating in a cosmos than to the usual percussive tonal piano, opening doors to a new aesthetic and interpretive universe in the subtle and incomparable art of piano performance.

A French luthier living in Mallorca, has just finished crafting the world's first intervalic keyboard using components commissioned from the Japanese manufacturer Roland. As you can see from the photo, although there are still a few details to be perfected regarding the form and distribution of the keys, the keyboard is impressive. The keys of the intervalic keyboard are all meant to be equal and symmetrical, in contrast to those used in today's conventional tonal keyboards.



A new Piano concept