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Piano Sonata No. 1 (Toccata Furioso)

by Ben Harper

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    ● PDF of cover art for your own CD version.
    ● 80 track cuesheet to help you find the good bits.
    ● 19-page booklet of obsessive nerding out over the compositional process and technical analysis. Also, a mysterious encounter in a bar...
    ● Link to artist's secret web page for exclusive previews and tracks not for public release. (Updated March 2020.)
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  • Full Digital Discography

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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Early Attempts To Speak With The Dead, Compromise, Terminals (Galleon, autumn.), German For Bad Luck, Decommissioned, Piano Sonata No. 1 (Toccata Furioso), Breiteis, Unstained Melodies, and 8 more. , and , .

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A relentless fractal cyclone of microtonal madness, pushing rigorous systems and the concept of the piano as a keyboard instrument to the edges of chaos...

A pianist with three hands is playing three pianos, at the same time. One hand to each keyboard.

Each piano is tuned to a different scale; each scale is made of unique pitches, with no repeating notes, no octaves. None of the pianos share a common pitch between them.

Our pianist not only has long arms; the fingers are also unusually long and flexible, so that each hand may cover the entirety of its respective keyboard. Each hand, of course, has only five fingers and so no more than five notes may be played on each piano at any time.

Each of the pianist’s fingers is individually playing complex curves across the keyboard. The curves are segments of 1-dimensional projections of fractals created by iterated function systems; specifically, chance mutations of the Barnsley fern.

The curves may be projected onto the keyboard in different ways. Each finger may be playing the same curve segment in different projections, different segments of the same curve, or different curves entirely.

From one period to the next, the hands may all play in the same tempo, in different tempi, or with individual fingers in the same or different tempi. These tempi may change or stay the same.

Dynamics are subject to the same possible combinations, independent of tempo.

All these decisions, as well as other considerations such as length of each period and choice of hands, were guided by chance. The odds were weighted in favour of fast and loud.

Ben Harper, 2018


released December 2, 2018


all rights reserved



Ben Harper London, UK


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Cool music for cold people.

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