Introducing the Disklavier Laptop Remote Controller (DLRC)
for the Yamaha Disklavier Mark IV piano
Created by Matthew Teeter and Christopher Dobrian
The music technology industry is only recently beginning to realize the potential of wireless communication technology for control and communication of data for music and multimedia applications. A new breed of musical devices are starting to integrate technology that allows the wireless transmission of MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) messages, real-time audio and video data, control data for performance synchronization, and commands for remote hardware control of these instruments. The Yamaha Disklavier Mark IV piano, which debuted in 2004, is the first instrument with wireless capabilities built-in. It communicates via the 802.11b protocol (WiFi), which allows the piano to transmit and receive information from nearby wireless controllers. The piano originally comes with two such controllers: the handheld Pocket Remote Controller (PRC), as well as the larger Tablet Remote Controller (TRC). Both of these devices are proprietary, closed systems that accomplish the specific function of controlling the piano. We wished to create platform-independent software having the same functionality as these existing controllers which could run on a conventional laptop. Although this solution has several advantages over the prepackaged solutions, it is unsupported by Yamaha because it was developed entirely at the University of California, Irvine. Our software can control a Mark IV piano from a Windows, Mac, or Linux laptop, thereby opening new possibilities in music creation and performance.
We invite all interested owners of a Yamaha Disklavier Mark IV piano and a laptop to try our software, shown above. Our software has been tested to work with either the V1.2 or 2.0 Disklavier firmware. We encourage other software developers to improve the software, add additional capabilities, and improve the user interface. The source code and accompanying documentation is available for download below. We also appreciate comments (via email) about the software.
The above diagram explains the architecture of our system. Our software connects wirelessly to the piano, just as the original PRC and TRC do. Because our software was written using Java and Actionscript 2, the client computer must have at least Java 5 runtime, the JDBC PostgreSQL driver, and Flash Player installed.
Our software works in a web browser. Download the Flash file and the Java program. Open the Flash file in a web browser. Flash may need to be configured to allow connections outside of the local computer. The Flash software will prompt you to enable this the first time the software is run. If it does not prompt you, you can manually change the settings here. In addition, the Java backend must be running. This Java program is best run from the command line using java oSckSrv. Go to Start -> Run, and type cmd in the Run box. Then, in the black Command Prompt, navigate to the directory where the two class files reside (using .. to go up a directory and cd dirname to switch directories). Once in this directory, type java oSckSrv, and the backend will start. Leave the backend running in a command prompt window while you are using the DLRC.
Source Code Downloads:
For additional information about the software and its development process, we invite you to read our paper entitled Wirelessly Interfacing with the Yamaha Disklavier Mark IV, published in the conference proceedings of the 4th Sound and Music Computing conference.