In 1902, the Leipzig company Hupfeld developed the Phonola, a suction-air-driven mechanism that is connected upstream of a piano keyboard and operates it. The music is played by pre-punched music rolls; however, through pedals and dynamic and tempo levers an interpreter can nuance the mechanical reproduction musically.
The composer and pianist Wolfgang Heisig (*1952) interprets works for paper rolls. Conclon Nancarrow (1912-1997) and James Tenney (1934-2006) are classics of the composition for self-playing piano. They are juxtaposed with recent works for phonola by Wolfgang Heisig, Christian FP Kram, Knut Müller and Steffen Schleiermacher, as well as by Christian Diemer, Thomas Leppuhr and Zachary M. Seely (all three premieres).
Conlon Nancarrow – Study #21 (Canon X)
Wolfgang Heisig – Links und Rechts
Christian FP Kram – Paysages sonores
Thomas Leppuhr – 3 Miniaturen (UA)
Christian Diemer – Movements (UA)
Zachary M. Seely – Capital I (UA)
Knut Müller – Gnomon
Steffen Schleiermacher – Treppentänzer
Wolfgang Heisig – Aus den Fugen geraten
James Tenney – Spectral CANON