It can play songs as recommended to it via Twitter. Stanley had his first outing at Seattle’s Capitol Bloc Party this July where members of the public could tweet the piano a song recommendation which he would proceed to play – if he knew it of course.
Stanley, started life as a traditional upright piano but has been drastically modified to turn him into a self-playing DJ. Inside the piano, designed by creative agency, Digital Kitchen, is a custom made moderation programme called Stanford which scans Twitter for tweets directed to @stanleypiano, and can further analyse if it is a song request, which is filtered and put in a queue of songs lining up to be played.
Stanley was programmed to be able to play a song from every band at the Bloc Part festival as well as wide range of compositions from Vivaldi to The Beach Boys
When Stanley is about to play a song, an automated reply is sent from his Twitter account to the person who requested it. A pre-made MIDI file of the song, which has been written for piano, is activated.
A MIDI interface then sends the data to the piano’s hardware controller which in turn triggers electromagnetic devices called solenoid valves – these valves drive pistons mounted onto the key action mechanism inside the piano.
David Mikula, the creative director of Digital Kitchen, said: “It was a mashup of trying to create a physical and digital creation. We wanted to create something in the maker spirit of all of Seattle.”
There are a finite amount of songs the piano can play as it would take forever to write a MIDI file for every classic tune. However, Stanley was programmed to be able to play a song from every band at the Bloc Part festival as well as wide range of compositions from Vivaldi to The Beach Boys. On top of this, he could also attempt to learn a song not already in his repertoire by scanning the internet for MIDI data of the tune.
Three epic days. Thousands of requests. It’s time for a break. Keep an eye out for my next gig!
The person who requested the song, when alerted via Twitter that his/her song was about to be played, was invited to either come and see the piano play on Capitol Hill or watch him from a live feed on the website.
The last tweet Stanley gave was on the 25th July, saying: “Three epic days. Thousands of requests. It’s time for a break. Keep an eye out for my next gig! Y’all are the best. xo, Stanley” We are waiting to hear when and where he will be playing next. For the moment the company doesn’t have any plans to sell the piano or allow it to be rented, but Mikula said, “He is going to be hanging out at the office waiting for his next big gig.”