January 31, 2018

Yamaha Artificial Intelligence (AI) Transforms a Dancer into a Pianist

Dancer: Kaiji Moriyama, Accompanied by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Scharoun Ensemble

HAMAMATSU, Japan, Jan. 31, 2018 — Yamaha Corporation is excited to announce that Yamaha artificial intelligence (AI) technology enabled a world-renowned dancer Kaiji Moriyama to control a piano by his movements. The concert, held in Tokyo on November 22, 2017, was entitled "Mai Hi Ten Yu"' and was sponsored by Tokyo University of the Arts and Tokyo University of the Arts COI. Yamaha provided an original system, which can translate human movements into musical expression by using AI technology, as technical cooperation for the concert.

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Drawing on the system provided by Yamaha, Moriyama gave a brilliant performance with synchronized beautiful piano sound. Moreover, the performance was accompanied by other leading players, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Scharoun Ensemble.

The concert performed by the talented players with Yamaha technology showed "a form of expression that fuses body movements and music."

Yamaha believes this performance represents steady progress in the pursuit of new forms of artistic expression and will continue to develop this technology to further expand the possibilities for human expression.

The AI adopted in the system, which is now under development, can identify a dancer's movement in real time by analyzing signals from four types of sensors attached to a dancer's body. This system has an original database that links melody and movements, and, with this database, the AI on the system creates suitable melody data (MIDI) from the dancer's movements instantly. The system then sends the MIDI data to a Yamaha Disklavier™ player piano, and it is translated into music.

To convert dance movements into musical expression, the Yamaha Disklavier™ is indispensable because it can reproduce a rich range of sounds with extreme accuracy through very slight changes in piano touch. Moreover, we use a special Disklavier in the concert which was configured based on Yamaha flagship model CFX concert grand piano to express fully and completely the performance of the talented dancer Moriyama.


An original system developed by Yamaha, the Disklavier™ is a hybrid player piano that performs automatically and can reproduce the movements of the keyboard and pedal with extreme accuracy. The latest model, the Disklavier™ ENSPIRE, includes recordings of the original sound sources of world-famous artists. This feature enhances the enjoyment of musical performances that users can experience at their leisure.

Kaiji Moriyama, Dancer

As the AI system processed and translated my dance movements into music, I felt reawakened to the incredible power of human beings to sense thought and action.

Peter Riegelbauer, Representative Member of the Berlin Philharmonic Scharoun Ensemble

It has been very impressive for us to play with such a wonderful dancer, and we are extremely grateful to have had this great opportunity

Isao Matsushita, Composer and Vice President of the Tokyo University of the Arts

Art must change in tandem with the changing times. This time, many persons were involved in creating this performance, including a dancer and engineers. This style of creating musical compositions is challenging, but these initiatives have opened up new possibilities and given us even more powerful inspiration than we have experienced in the past.

Motoichi Tamura, General Manager of Development Department No. 1, Research & Development Division, Yamaha Corporation

At Yamaha, we believe that AI will become a bridge between human beings and musical instruments. We are continuing our AI development activities to enable human beings to have freer and more direct expression through musical instruments.