Announcing The bitKlavier course 2018!

A course for piano students and teachers of every level, using technology to expand musicianship.

This course is ideal for students who want to combine their interest in the
digital tools of the modern era with their love for playing music.

January 27 - May 5, 2018

Dan Trueman describes the bitKlavier (formerly called the "prepared digital piano").

What's Happening

Starting in January, the second edition of the bitKlavier course in Princeton will commence on Saturday afternoons at the beautiful new Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University. This year's course culminates in a performance at the Princeton Arts Council Community Stage on Saturday, May 5th 2018.

Dates of sessions:

What do we do?

Last year's group ranged in age from 10-17 years old.

We will study the ways in which this fascinating instrument can augment traditional piano study, such as:


Adam Sliwinski - Member of So Percussion, Princeton University faculty. Adam was the first performer to develop an interpretive approach and practice on the bitKlavier.

Cristina Altamura - Pianist, founder of Legacy Arts International.

Kristin Cahill - Pianist and teacher, the New School for Music Study.

(guest lecturer) Dan Trueman, Professor of Music at Princeton University and inventor of the bitKlavier.

For more information and to sign up, fill out the form below, or email Cristina Altamura.

Enjoy this live-stream of last year's concert!


TEACHER INFO (if applicable)


Anything else you'd like to tell us?
(interests, past repertoire played, etc)

Dan Trueman's bitKlavier

represents a revolution in how we think about the keyboard. Simply put, it is a digital expansion of the possibilities of the piano as we know it. While a physical instrument must obey the physical laws of action and reaction, a digital one can splay out into realms of algorithms and abstract processes.

Cristina Altamura, Kristin Cahill, and Adam Sliwinski have devised a course using the bitKlavier to augment and enrich traditional piano study. Premiering with performances from the Mikroetudes and Treuman's Nostalgic Synchronic etudes at the So Percussion Summer Institute in 2017, this course has already proven wildly popular among students who use digital technology every day of their lives.

With the bitKlavier, the performer can touch one combination of keys - say, a chord - and provoke one response, while another combination might produce something else entirely. For instance, a single note held down might play itself backwards when released, but played staccato as part of an octave, it could trigger a rhythmic metronome.

Behaviors change depending on the settings which are composed into a piece (a note is not simply a note). This requires the musician to develop an understanding of the digital context of each piece distinctly, much the way that our interaction with a smartphone changes depending on which app is open on our screen.

The bitKlavier contains several main settings, which can be altered and combined in infinite ways. Because the digital keyboard is not just playing notes but also sending digital input, any key can also be a button that changes the program. Just as we might press "control-C" to copy text, a bitKlavier piece might ask you to hit the lowest A-natural on the keyboard (which you will also hear) to move through the program settings. Performance and program usage are linked in real time.

TUNING - A digital instrument doesn't need to have a fixed tuning. Any possibility, from the ancient tunings of Pythagoras to modern well-tempered to an entirely theoretical tuning, can be programmed. Not only can that tuning be set, but it doesn't have to be fixed in place for an entire piece. Tunings can change when certain notes or chords are struck. It is therefore possible to write a piece that toggles back and forth, where a physical instrument would require constant, laborious retuning.

NOSTALGIC - Trueman's term for an effect where the computer "listens" to the note you attack as it decays, and then plays it backwards when you release the note. This allows for a certain chorale texture and extension of notes that the normal piano can't achieve.

SYNCHRONIC - The computer can capture and chop up any note you play. Depending on the settings, it can then be redeployed as a metronome or rhythmic delay effect that the performer must react to and incorporate.