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Yamaha’s “The Joyful Piano” concert allows disabled pianists to perform thanks to AI

Forget the horror stories and doomsayers who want AI to disappear; artificial intelligence is surely being used at its best when it assists and enables people to do far more than they could otherwise do on their own.

In December, Yamaha hosted a special piano concert in Suntory Hall, Tokyo, where three pianists with physical disabilities were able to perform Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with an orchestra and chorus, thanks to the “AI-assisted piano” which automatically synchronised to, and accompanied, the pianist. This enabled them to play physically manageable parts and delegate the rest to AI.

The 9th was played in the style of a piano concerto. The arrangement, unlike any other in the world, made the performance of the three pianists stand out, with the orchestra and chorus harmoniously responding to the piano.

One of the pianists, Ms. Hiroko Higashino, said “I felt that I finally enjoyed playing Beethoven as I always wanted to, when the orchestra, the space, the audience and the AI-assisted Piano — the four of them came together in harmony. I feel it is out of date to give up something because of a disability.”

The AI-assisted piano is an innovative instrument which responds to a key strike by seamlessly generating accompaniment and pedal movements that align with the melody. It assists the players, regardless of disability, experience or age, to realize the performance they desire. New technologies included “ultra-low latency sound generation” were added to Yamaha’s Disklavier reproducing digital piano.

Event website