Since 2018, we have been conducting an artistic research that aims to research sound production techniques of piano in the 21st century. We have been inspired by the words of a German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007) who declared in 1992 that "piano music has come to an end and something quite different is coming... With the claviers made up to this time, there is nothing new to discover anymore." The research resulted into a piece composed by a composer Eka Chabashvili in interaction with pianists Nino Jvania and Tamar Zhvania for 2 pianos, modified piano, video-installations, chamber and virtual piano orchestras.

The main aim of the piece “Has Piano Music Come to an End?” is to contradict Stockhausen and to demonstrate various new possibilities of engaging acoustic piano in contemporary music. The piece reflects the most important achievements of piano music history and presents one of instrument’s future perspectives – the modified piano MODEKAL developed within the project. The process aiming to bring piano closer to some principles of contemporary musical thinking resulted into changes in tuning system and mechanism of the upright piano.

In order to reveal the future perspectives of piano, we had to analyse the history of piano and piano music. We consider the history of piano music as a cycle consisting of several lives. Life, according to Eka Chabashvili, is a time-bound phenomenon, representing one of many phases of existence and it is constantly changing in multiple time and spatial dimensions. In her opinion, each life consists of invisible gravitational waves that pass through one phase of time and space and then disappear. Then new waves arise, creating a new phase of existence and a new life emerges. Thus, eternity is a sequence of those phases. The transitional period between the phases is the Apocalypse. The Apocalypse is a kind of the end of gravity, the longing for the end and the beginning of a new phase. Thus, Stockhousen’s announcement could be connected with the Idea of Apocalypse and “longing” for it. Actually, Chabashvili interprets some scientific theories (in this case – the theory of gravitational waves) liberally - as an artistic Idea that serves as a foundation of the construction of the work.

Based on Chabashvili’s idea, we divided the whole history of piano music into 9 lives represented by 32 composers who, according to us, influenced the development of the piano music genre.

As we all have a musicological background, it took us a lot of effort to avoid inclination towards scientific writing and to choose appropriate media and formats to present the results of our research. The vision statement of CARPA 7 motivating artistic researchers “to creatively utilise, challenge and supplement words and written texts, and to integrate reflective appraisal into artworks themselves” inspired us to offer to our colleagues an experiment: we introduced particular research results presenting a video-recording of the piece and later offered to CARPA 7 participants the verbal explanation of the same ideas formulated in academic writing style. We also encouraged the audience to help us to answer the question – are artistic forms of writing able to precisely convey the research concept and conclusions?

Now we encourage our readers to do the same.