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John Walker Re-creates Great Performance

johnqwalkerImagine hearing great, departed pianists play again today, just as they would in person. John Q. Walker demonstrates how recordings can be analyzed for precise keystrokes and pedal motions, then played back on computer-controlled grand pianos.


Software entrepreneur John Q. Walker uses computers to bring piano legends back to life — digitally reconstructing their performances from audio tracks and playing them on real instruments, live.

Glenn Gould, Thelonious Monk, Art Tatum: legends of live piano performance lost to time. But John Q. Walker asks us to imagine hearing those great, departed musicians play again today, just as they would in person. Such is the promise of Walker’s company, Zenph Studios, which builds technology to re-create live music performances. Piano tracks are converted into precise keystrokes and pedal motions — then played back on computer-controlled grand pianos.

Before founding Zenph in 2002, Walker was a leading developer of VoIP, and was influential in the creation of the IEEE 802 local-area network (LAN) and the 802.11 wireless LAN (“Wi-Fi”) standards. He is himself a devoted pianist.

“This is a crucially important release in musical history.”
Stereophile’s review of the re-performance of Art Tatum’s “Piano Starts Here”


Weblink: www.ted.com/talks/john_walker_re_creates_great_performances.html
Photo credits: audaud.com

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