Department of Music

Magnetic String Resonance

This project uses an innovative but underutilised instrument designed by Andrew McPherson, the Magnetic Resonator Piano (MRP). Electromagnets are suspended above the piano strings, allowing resonance to be “shaped” from the keyboard while retaining the use of the original action.

Principal Investigator: Dr Xenia Pestova Bennett



Performance with new technologies is a rapidly growing area of artistic expression, yet little research has been done from the performer's perspective, and existing works often employ unergonomic approaches.

I approach the MRP from the performance perspective, pushing the limits of the instrument and the technology while developing techniques which are natural to use for the musician.

Current work

I am currently building on these foundations to explore this instrument in a new context through combining it with non-keyboard instruments.

I will work with the renowned Ligeti Quartet who have expressed interest in commissioning a new semi-improvised piece. We plan to workshop, perform, record and disseminate the resulting composition.

Past work

I created radical new versions of scores by Alvin Lucier and Pauline Oliveros followed by my own four-movement piece, Glowing Radioactive Elements (2018, 20’).

This is the first piece created in order to identify specific sonorities and physical performance gestures on the MRP. The piece explores four distinct techniques I discovered. One of these, the “mechanical stutter”, exploits an unintentional defect in the keyboard scanner in order to produce a shimmering soundscape.

This is just one new element that can be added to the sonic vocabulary of the concert grand piano, an instrument which hasn’t evolved since the introduction of the sostenuto pedal in the late 1800s.


This project is supported by the RPA Development Fund and PRS Foundation's Women Make Music.




Department of Music

The University of Nottingham
Lakeside Arts Centre
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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