Instruction for the installation written for world premiere

"I am playing in one netroom"

A robotic network experiment with three autopianolplayer as an homage to Alvin Lucier's "I am sitting in a room" by winfried ritsch from the series "social machines" (robotics workshop medienkunstlabor Kunsthaus graz 2009) implemented for NetCOMEDIA

(Idea from the robotics workshop at Medienkunstlabor Graz of exploring the networking with robots within an transcription of a traditional piece of electronic music of the 20th century and adapted for the NetCOMEDIA event November 2010 in Graz)


(see also the partitur)

For each site you need

  • a room
  • a piano
  • a pianoplayer machine
  • a computer + Monitor >= 22'' or video-beam
  • a microphone and (web)cam
  • a small speaker setup (half as loud as the piano)
  • a computer with audiointerface and network connection (real IPs or VPN !!!)

The piano should be placed visible pointig with the keys towards the audience using for example a small stage. The monitor is in front of it like a music stand (on a small table or so) pointing to the audience or a beamer is used projection over the piano. The microphone can be near to the piano, but also should pick up the room signal. The camera points from audience to the playing piano, where the moving keys are shown. One or two small speakers are near the monitor (maybe on the table or on the piano). Light should be quite dark with the keys from the fron lighted bright.


  • a network connection for 2 webcam-streams and two audio-streams.

For example (used for the world premiere):

  • ports needed


    rtp/rstp port for video server each site


    jacktrip 2 x 1 channel each site out and in, that means 2 ports

    additional an OSC port can be used for control of remote installation

The remote videos are shown on the monitor or beam (eg.: with provided python/gstreamer programs) and the remote places are played back on the speakers (this is heard if the local piano is not playing). The remote places are shown as intercom views on the monitor (since to enforce the impression of big distance and augment audio reception they need not to have full quality).

The remote audio should be as low as hearable if piano is not playing in the environmental sound, so people must concentrate to imagine the remote room, but musical phrases should notable.

The composition/installation uses the same time schema as Alvin Lucier piece "I am sitting in a room", modified so each room is playing the other in a row.


instructions to perform:

%% Intro

<30 sec intro>
In the room 1, as a start, a 30~sec sentence is spoken aloud in the range of the microphone,
with all the reverb around by the Maschinist.  The recorded signal is sent to room 2 and recorded there. This could be the text from the partitur.

%% loop start %%

<0-30 sec>
The recorded audio (from room 1) is played back in room 2 transformed to piano notes using a
chord analyser and played on piano there. This audio, picked up by the microphone is sent to room 3 and recorded there.

<30-60 sec>
The recorded audio (from room 2) is played back in room 3 transformed to piano notes using a
chord analyser and played on piano there. This audio picked up by the microphone is sent to room 1 and recorded there.


The recorded audio (from room 3) is played back in room 1 transformed to piano notes using a
chord analyser and played on piano there. This audio picked up by the microphone in room 1 is sent to room 2 and is recorded  there.

%% loop end %%

All this should result in preferred played notes which represent the collected harmonics of all rooms, interpreted for piano. The aucoustics of the three rooms with their primary frequencies should be merged as if it is one room, forming some melodies.

The piece can played as long as needed, but all places have to have the same times, since it works only with all parallel.

Modified versions can be extrapolated from this instructions for 2 rooms or more than three.

Technical Data:

World Premiere at NetCOMEDIA Festival Graz/Belfast/Hamburg 5.-6.11.2010.

Net Experiment:
Winfried Ritsch
Peter Innerhofer (Belfast), Matthias Kronlachner (Hamburg),Marian Weger (Graz)


winfried ritsch (july 2009-okt.2010)