Yann Tiersen (Amélie Soundtrack Composer, Musician) Plays Piano Using 6 iPhones

Tuesday, December 15, 2009
By OP Editor

Video of Yann Tiersen playing the memorable theme song “Comptine D’un Autre Été: L’après Midi” from the hit French movie Amelie. Bonus: Tiersen is a long term Mac user.

Yann Tiersen performing Amelie Theme on 6 Apple iPhones as piano

Yann Tiersen is known for his ability to play variety of instruments. Here is one of his experiment with six iPhones as a virtual piano. Looks like he is quite popular, as his phone range a few times while he was warming up for the video.

He probably turned on airplane mode so he won’t be interrupted.

Yann Tiersen Plays Amelie Theme Using iPhones

Yes, it’s not perfect, but can you do better? It is quite impressive considering that iPhones are designed to be used one at a time, not lined up in a row.

Below is Yann Tiersen’s Amelie theme, not affected by alcohol:

Amelie Theme, Comptine D’un Autre Été: L’après Midi

Yann Tiersen: Mac User

Would a successful composer and musician use Apple computers? Yes, of course Yann Tiersen is a Mac user.

Yann Tiersen, composer, musician portrait

In an interview with Sound on Sound published in 2006, Yann Tiersen said: “I record [in his custom built recording studio] on Logic or Pro Tools, with my Powerbook.” PowerBook is now the Apple MacBook Pro laptop. Tiersen also said that compared to some of other equipment, “it’s a lot easier for me to mix in Logic.” Logic is part of Apple’s Logic Studio software.

Here is Tiersen’s recording studio, looks like Apple Cinema Display connected to a equivalent of today’s Mac Pro:

Yann Tiersen Recording Studio uses Mac, showing Apple Cinema Display

He has a music room that houses his entire collection of musical instruments: harpsichord, spinet, Rhodes piano, mandolin, violins, guitars and amplifiers, lots of percussion and toy instruments:

Yann Tiersen musical instruments at his studio

More of Yann Tiersen music, performing live:

Yann Tiersen, Live Performance at Eurock

iPhone not the best choice of instrument for Popular People [macenstein]
Recording Les Retrouvailles [sound on sound]

The movie / album are great. You might want to check out the latest prices at Amazon:
Amelie: Original Soundtrack, $8.99 as of story posting
Amelie Motion Picture, $13.49 as of story posting


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Tags: Apple, iPhone, Mac, Music, Video

2 Responses to “Yann Tiersen (Amélie Soundtrack Composer, Musician) Plays Piano Using 6 iPhones”

  1. This is SO cool! But as a keyboard player, you are really hampered by the size of the keys — I noticed Tiersen only used 3 fingers and mostly only the index and middle fingers.

    How do you program which octave you play on your phone? Do you assign the tones to the keys manually? How else could he have the 6 phones lines up to approximate keyboard layout?

    Why was Tiersen doing this? Was is a promotion? Or staged for an iPhone event?

    • Looks like he’s using Piano apps that can choose the octave on each screen. Each iPhone would be set to a different octave.

      Perhaps he had a few drinks and thought it would be interesting?

      Note to self, there is a drunk recording of someone else somewhere in the story bin…


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