A lab for art-music performance research

Tekhnee is a privately run R&D lab that sprouted in Aalto University’s innovation center in Finland. With our artistic-training and professional-development programs as research fieldwork, we investigate integrated practices in music performance, tonal theory, and motion analysis. In tandem, we are developing an ecosystem of sensor-based practice aids for classical instrumentalists.

Research



Schenkerian hearing & performance

Virtuosity, formal reasoning, and creativity are too often independent or even antagonistic priorities in a musician’s training. In response, we investigate performance pedagogies informed by Heinrich Schenker’s theory.

Piano playability modeling and assessment

We research theoretical frameworks, instructional techniques, and data capture technology enabling more granular adjustments of difficulty levels during piano training.

Sensor-based practice aids for instrumentalists

We prototype and field-test devices enhancing unsupervised practice and providing artistically relevant feedback during music performance training. (Patents are pending.)


Open Courses & Fieldwork


Piano Lessons

Piano Training on Schenkerian Principles

Comprehensive training blending a traditional piano syllabus with original materials inspired from Heinrich Schenker’s ideas on musical logic and interpretation. For beginning & intermediate students with possible professional aspirations.

Details
Professional Development Workshop

Schenkerian Analysis on the Instrument

How does a tonal masterwork actually “work”? A professional-development program in Schenker’s technique for instrument teachers, advanced students, and musicologists searching new hearings and vocabularies.

Details
Advanced Repertoire Study

Schenkerian Performance Preparation

A performance workshop in preparation for competitions, auditions, examinations, or concerts. Unfolding each work’s “tonal drama” through Schenker’s technique, we clearly articulate and crystallize expressive intuitions prior to performance.

Details

select course

Piano Training on Schenkerian Principles    Customize
For whom  Beginning and intermediate-level students  of piano with possible professional aspirations.
Description A research-derived program of  piano training  based on  Heinrich Schenker’s ideas on musical logic (structure) and interpretation . The course blends a traditional piano syllabus with original material that applies Schenkerian procedures in a performance context.
Locations Piano lessons are available in  Helsinki/Espoo, Saint Petersburg, Tallinn, and Moscow  .
Learning goals In addition to imbuing every single tone in the music with a specific and unique expressive function, Schenkerian reasoning helps  overcome “technical” pianistic obstacles by intrinsically musical means , and specifically through an awareness of the work’s tonal structure. We cultivate automatisms for reading and hearing hierarchies of simpler musically meaningful entities, which serve as a framework for creative yet methodical work on interpretation and tone production as a unity.
Our research goals The program serves a double function: first, as  field research for an ongoing investigation of Heinrich Schenker’s tonal reduction and diminution as primary concepts in studio-based instrumental learning. ; second, as a testing environment  for sensor-enhanced pedagogies , including the collection of sensor data and usability feedback from our participants.
Sensor use Frequent (upon the participant’s approval).
Duration Piano lessons take place once or twice a week. Their duration varies depending on age and level.
Fees See our FAQ.
Schenkerian Analysis on the Instrument    Customize
For whom  Primarily a professional-development course for instrument pedagogues .

Also suitable for performers, advanced students, musicologists, composers.

Prior study of textbook four-part harmony is essential. Familiarity with modal or tonal counterpoint in two parts would be helpful but is not a prerequisite.

Description A comprehensive course in Schenkerian analysis with three features:

  • a studio setting replaces the typical seminar room: students are encouraged to use their own musical instrument as a means for  generating, evaluating, and communicating analytical ideas in sound ;
  • instruction individually or in groups of four or less participants;
  • primary and secondary bibliography is supplemented with original material drawn from our ongoing and published research on Schenker pedagogy and Cognitive Load Theory.
Locations Training sessions take place  online  with students from most time-zones.

Also available onsite in  Helsinki/Espoo, Saint Petersburg, and Moscow .

We are typically able to provide online students with a Wacom tablet—our digital collaboration tool of choice—on long-term loan.

Learning goals The program generally follows the plan of a university-level Schenker sequence, but is designed to  address common reasons for the resistance of performers to music analysis :

  • the impression that analysis is a writing-intensive activity that distracts from the instrument;
  • the absence of considerations of sound and timbre from conventional Schenker training (even though the technique was originally intended, at least in part, as a theory of performance).
Our research goals We try to assess and predict the comparative cognitive loads of different analytical representations.

The program also serves as a generator and field-test of instructional material for possible publication.

Sensor use On rare occasions (upon the participant’s approval).
Duration One or two cycles of 8–12 weekly meetings. Meetings typically last 60–90 minutes each.
Fees See our FAQ.
Schenkerian Performance Preparation    Customize
For whom Instrument pedagogues.

Performers and advanced students preparing for specific engagements ( competitions, auditions, examinations, concerts ).

Knowledge of harmony (four-part writing) is a prerequisite.

Description In these individual workshops we unfold each work’s “tonal drama” through  a fusion of analytical reflection and sound production . The approach is fundamentally Schenkerian but most terminology is typically hidden from view.

We alternate  between microscopic (the local dramatic detail) and macroscopic hearings (the entire work as a synoptic “landscape” view) , experimenting with spontaneously scribbled analytical graphs (Bilder) and a variety of realizations in sound.

We are in search of large-scale motives, long-range lines, multi-level designs, and other dramatic structures and revelatory events that are as salient to a convincing performance as they are  concealed from ordinary score-reading or hearing  .

Locations Sessions take place in  Helsinki/Espoo, Saint Petersburg, Moscow, and Tallinn .

In certain cases  online  sessions may also be possible.

Learning goals Schenkerian training recasts harmonic hearing as a horizontal phenomenon, and accordingly the workshop emphasizes  long-range continuity, finely nuanced tonal closures (cadences, lines, transitions between formal units), a subtle and variegated hearing of meter and rhythm, and sensitivity to tonal tension (e.g. eradicating unintended “dead spots.”) . We also pursue more elusive but no less palpable performance values within the purview of Schenker’s original project, such as authenticity, conviction, and coherence.
Our research goals The programs serves as field research for an ongoing investigation of Heinrich Schenker’s tonal reduction and diminution as primary concepts in studio-based instrumental learning.
Sensor use During the sessions (upon the participant’s approval) we occasionally test sensor-enhanced pedagogies and solicit device usability feedback.
Duration As agreed on a case-by-case basis, depending on study goals, any forthcoming performance commitments, and repertoire.
Fees See our FAQ.
Back to list

Some training programs are available online. Locations vary otherwise. For inquiries, please book an appointment.


FAQs


  • Can I participate online? Where do you operate?
  • Which programs are suitable for me?
  • What is the typical musical background of participants?
  • Do you use sensors in all your programs?
  • How many participants can you accommodate per program?
  • Are your programs available free of charge? Do you offer scholarships?
  • What fees apply?
  • How are you financed?
  • What are your guiding principles?
  • Are you hiring or seeking partners?
  • Is your scholarship open? What is your intellectual property policy?
  • Music scholarship aside, what technologies and toolchains do you employ?
  • Why Finland?
Can I participate online? Where do you operate?
We are based in A Grid, Aalto University’s innovation hub, in Espoo, Finland. In addition to all the advantages of the academic campus infrastructure, this location provides proximity to the Helsinki metro system, meeting room and teleconferencing facilities, and maker’s spaces. We are also operating in Saint Petersburg and Moscow, as well as Tallinn, actively seeking partners in these cities. Participation in several of our programs is possible from anywhere in the world via synchronous conferencing technologies and tools (e.g. Wacom tablets), which typically provide to participants on long-term loan. Our bot will factor-in your location prior to determining your program eligibility.
Which programs are suitable for me?

Our training programs serve simultaneously as research platforms to the benefit of everyone involved, so we seek participants whose musical background is aligned with our current research needs. We invite you to run TekhneeBot, our decision engine, which will consider your individual background and suggest relevant projects. At the end of the process you’ll be provided with the option to arrange a follow-up discussion with us.

What is the typical musical background of participants?
While our programs and development projects are generally not designed for hobbyists, we do seek participants across the spectrum of formative stages in professional-track training, from early childhood to full-time musicians. For instance, we are keen on working with teachers of piano, voice, and orchestra instruments; beginning pupils and intermediate students pursuing enrollment in music schools; pre-college or college students of music theory; conservatory-trained but “lapsed” instrumentalists; competition- or audition-bound performers; and other professionally-minded learners.
Do you use sensors in all your programs?

Sensor usage is more frequent in the performance-intensive programs. Most participants will be invited to wear one or more coin-sized sensors on a regular basis during piano lessons and performance workshops. In relevant cases we request acceptance of a standard “non-disclosure agreement,” as a token of understanding that any information on the devices or associated pedagogic materials, to which you’ll be privy, will remain confidential. Participants are given access to all data collected from their playing.

How many participants can you accommodate per program?

The number is limited and depends on current resources, the possible involvement of collaborators, and the number of active participants, among other factors. Space is especially constrained for piano lessons.

Are your programs available free of charge? Do you offer scholarships?
Tuition fees are a significant income stream for the lab, and the majority of slots for piano lessons, Schenker training, or performance workshops are not free. However, we are occasionally able to offer free study opportunities in the following cases:
  • Students whose individual background is essential to our research.
  • Investigational study programs at early stages of development.
  • Participants affiliated with institutional partners (orchestras, conservatories, music schools, etc.).
Efforts are under way to reduce our reliance on fees. Subscribe to our email list and follow us on Twitter to receive any relevant announcements.
What fees apply?

Please contact us, either directly or after running TekhneeBot, for information on fees.

How are you financed?
We are funded by a combination of investment, grants, and tuition fees. Earnest efforts are ongoing to minimize our dependence on tuition fees, and to fund both piano lessons and professional-development workshops, through partnerships with educational institutions, academia, and arts organizations. As much as possible, we strive to adhere to the Sustainability principle of “Open Scholarship Infrastructures” (Bilder, Geoffrey, Jennifer Lin, and Cameron Neylon. 2015. ‘Principles for Open Scholarly Infrastructures-V1.’).

What are your guiding principles?

The academic integrity of our research and the artistic relevance of our practices and technologies.

Are you hiring or seeking partners?
While we do not advertise a position at present, we welcome collaboration proposals or employment applications from individuals with up-to-date expertise in a range of areas, such as:
  • Schenker, partimento, thoroughbass.
  • Piano pedagogy (either in the form of piano lessons or as keyboard-based harmony or music analysis coursework).
  • College-level music theory, including harmony, form theory, and counterpoint, with fluency in the Russian- and/or Chinese language.
  • Inertial motion sensor data analysis, the Julia programming language, Pd, Mokka, etc.
  • Audiovisual technologies for documenting piano lessons and masterclasses.
  • Arduino/Raspberry Pi coding and basic circuit design.
  • MusicXML, MEI, music21.
  • Piezoelectric materials and e-textiles.

We are particularly keen on working with graduate students and junior researchers in any of the above areas.

Is your scholarship open? What is your intellectual property policy?

Most of the resulting research is intended to be released in the public domain via academic and open scholarship channels. Until that happens we count on your confidentiality. Some of our work is also patent-pending. In special cases, especially when sensors are involved, Tekhnee may request a non-disclosure agreement with you.

Music scholarship aside, what technologies and toolchains do you employ?

Among others: Swift, Julia, Pd, RStudio, OSC, music21, and the mbientLab platform.

Why Finland?

More reasons than would fit in this space: former affiliation of Tekhnee staff with the Sibelius Academy, a vibrant art-music scene, a penchant for innovation in education, proximity to Russia and its outstanding performance tradition, the open entrepreneurial culture and infrastructures, and much more.

Team

Founder & Research Lead

Dr. Yannis Rammos

Yannis is a concert pianist & music theorist with a Ph.D. in Performance from New York University, and an active schedule of performances, academic research, and innovative teaching activities. You may follow his artistic and scholarly work at www.rammos.co.
Sensor & Motion Capture Engineer

Dr. Vlad Marochkin

With a D.Sc. in Technical Physics, an M.Sc. in Electronics and Microelectronics, and eight years of R&D experience in semiconductor technologies and startups, Vlad brings in technical excellence and design imagination at Tekhnee’s intersection of art and technology.

Contact


Subscribe to our news & announcements









Tekhnee


Online appointment booking


info @ tekhn.ee
Registered in Finland
VAT# FI28640114