Assuming a very clean digital delay with a "repeat n times" mode set to one repeat (like "Multi" on the EHX Canyon), mix at 50/50, and time starting at zero ms and increasing from there, could one convincingly emulate Piano Phase? What am I missing here? I don't have any such delay to test that idea.

  • I’m sure you could get some kind of delay set up to recreate Piano Phase. As you say, you’d have to gradually increase the delay time, which means it would probably be easiest in a DAW. I presume you want to do this live with just one player. If you just want to record it, of course, you could record either one or two versions of the loop, chop, and slightly time stretch some the sections that “move”. Jun 26, 2020 at 15:32
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    Might be more successful with a looper.
    – Tim
    Jun 26, 2020 at 15:33
  • Years ago I set up a file to play Piano Phase in Sibelius. It was really easy to do. I created long bars at some multiple of 3/4 (can’t remember what), started off with semiquavers in both piano parts, and then had tuplets in the part that speeds up, using a ratio of (12n+1):12n, where n is how many bars you want the semiqauver change to happen over. Sounded pretty good, surprisingly... Jun 26, 2020 at 15:38
  • Absolutely, Tim. Because the looped part would stay at the same speed and then the live player just has to get a little faster as required. I’m inspired to try this later today! Jun 26, 2020 at 15:40
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    @BobBroadley - I just stumbled upon your comment. If you use the '@ with Tim' it'll reach me toot sweet! Not allowed to type it proper! Computer says no.
    – Tim
    Jun 26, 2020 at 16:50

1 Answer 1


Playing with an arpegiator and a looper today and I succeeded in reproducing the same kind of effect as in Piano Phase, as @Tim said.

The arpegiated phrase was not the same than in Piano Phase, but looping a few bars with the arpegiator set at tempo 90 (say) and then looping the same phrase with the arpegiator at tempo 89 on another track of the looper (not synced) is reproducing the same effect. I found the hard part was to stop the second loop correctly as, the first playing and just starting to be out of phase it is hard to follow the beat… Synchronising the MIDI tempo should solve that, as the original piece is very hard to play, you do not want to makes things to easy.

The only problem to reproduce Piano Phase is that small variations sometimes occur (if I remember well), and you cannot do that with a looper…

  • Eh, you can't imitate every imperfection. Jul 8, 2020 at 20:54
  • @JohnnyApplesauce haha, I did not look at the score! If it is intended to be always the same, then the looper will do!
    – Tom
    Jul 8, 2020 at 20:55

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