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#1249206 - 08/14/09 02:55 PM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: EDWARDIAN]
cinstance Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 104
Thanks again for all the comments and the discussion.

My son's problem is not because he can not control his power, but that he simply does not have enough power to produce the loud sound while maintain his normal action. I have since tuned down the touch to the normal position from the "heavy 1" setting. I can immediately hear the difference it makes.

I will read Larry's book first, and begin my searching for a good acoustic piano. During the buying process, I probably will have more questions and I will come back and ask your guys for advices. Anyway, we will keep the digital piano too, so my son can enjoy the benefit of both sides.

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#1249217 - 08/14/09 03:15 PM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Mrs.A]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3187
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Mrs.A
Consider that you are not actually making a tone on a digital piano. . When you play that digital piano, you are playing a RECORDING of at piano tone through a speaker. When you play a chord you are not getting a true harmony in terms of sound waves and physics. It is not true harmony.


I have a CD set of Glen playing the Goldberg variations. Well, of course I have other CDs, piano and instrumental; I just listen to that one fairly often.

Guess what? They are ALL digital recreations of a tone, played through a speaker.

So unless you are such a purist that you never listen to anything but live music, I think this particular criticism is misplaced.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1249234 - 08/14/09 03:31 PM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Gyro]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
Originally Posted By: Gyro
Mrs. A, I don't believe you when you
say you've played digitals "extensively."
Trying one out in a store--with a
mind set completely against it--is
not playing a digital "extensively."
If you knew anything about digitals,
you couldn't say the things you did,
because they are more than capable
of taking the place of an acoustic piano.
Certainly a big-time classical
concert could be played on a state of
the art digital today. All that's
preventing it is people in the
piano establishement like you,
who won't have anything to do with digitals.

I've been playing digitals extensively
since 1989, hard playing of the most
difficult classical repertoire, like
the Chopin op. 14 Concert Rondo,
for example. So I know what they
are capable of. I suppose you
would consider silent keyboards--
which you know nothing about--
as something to avoid too, even
though Arrau used one all his life.

Digital pianos have literally been my
salvation as a pianist, and have
enbled me to progress from a
run of the mill terminal advanced-intermediate player to
an advanced-intermediate player
who can tackle the most difficult
concert repertoire.


Gyros,

First of all, I have played digital pianos for large churches and praise and worship bands for 20 years.

You said "If you knew anything about digitals,
you couldn't say the things you did" What did I say that was so incorrect about digital pianos? Backup your responses with specific. You also said digitals are more than capable of replacing acoustics. HOW? Again, you post flaming generalities and no specifics.

I always assumed digitals were not used in concerts as they were not good enough.....It never occurred to me it was a big conspiracy theory. Thank you for enlightening us.


I am so glad for you Gyro that your secret to your success is your digital piano…..I will pass this amazing discovery on to my colleagues in the “establishment”
_________________________
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.


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#1249404 - 08/14/09 08:32 PM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: daro]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: daro
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
I saw a film of Katsaris playing an AvantGrand. They must have paid him bloody well, because within two or three notes it was obvious that it was merely a very expensive keyboard. I'm stunned that anyone would waste their money on such a heap of crap, when you could by a real 'hybrid' (which the Avant certainly is not) upright for vastly cheaper.


Them's some mighty fancy magic powers you got there that let you make such extreme, dogmatic assertions about an instrument you've never played or even seen. What's your next trick, stock market predictions based on hearing an mp3 of the opening bell?


Why would I want to play or even see a $20,000 piano that sounds like a MIDI playback within the first few seconds? If I had that kind of money to burn, I'd buy a piano that is actually a 'hybrid' (not merely one that is referred to as one) between both a genuine upright and a keyboard. And I would literally burn the rest. At least, I'd sooner do that than waste it on something as primitive as a vibrating keyboard.

Quite how hearing something and deciding that it sounds like a heap of shit has a thing to do with predicting the future of markets from audio files, I'm at loss to discern. The failings were so characteristic of the typical 'digital piano' (or rather 'keyboard') sound I could have picked it out as being fake within seconds, even if I had never been told what I was listening to.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKktyeuIs1U

Try it for yourself. His sparse pedalling in the Chopin Waltz reveals the limitations in an instant. Long notes also reveal how the tone merely drones- rather than blossoming after the instant of sounding. Any serious professional would smell a rat in an instant (unless paid as well as Katsaris blatantly was).

If this can even be called a 'piano', it's a poor man's piano masquerading as a rich man's one (and worse, literally being sold at the price of a rich man's piano).

PS. Regarding 'bias', I personally forked out over a thousand pounds for my own keyboard. It's useful for practise purposes, but a person who restricts himself to that alone can only be poorer for doing so. Sorry for being harsh, but if a person cannot discern what cannot be produced from a digital piano (but which can even be produced from plenty of acoustics that are in rather poor condition) it only serves to illustrate that they have not learned how to approach tone-production to the high standards which acoustics permit. Perhaps that's the reason why some people prefer digitals- because they prefer the guaranteed tone-quality to the ugly tone that ensues if you use poor technique on acoustic? As I say, sorry for being harsh, but if anyone seriously thinks that a Horowitz or Cortot would not have been frustrated by the prerecorded (as opposed to personally instigated) tone quality of any digital, that's only a reflection on their own limitations as a pianist. Stick with digitals alone, and you'll never come to understand why you can't access the greater possibilities that even a lot of very cheap uprights can open up.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/14/09 08:50 PM)
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1249507 - 08/14/09 11:03 PM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3187
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi

Why would I want to play or even see a $20,000 piano that sounds like a MIDI playback within the first few seconds?


Frankly, your bias is showing.

Even a $1,000 digital piano sounds better than a MIDI playback, to my ears. Maybe your ears are different.

Seriously, your position is that a 7 year old beginner needs a top of the line grand. How can you defend that, given what Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin learned on?
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1249542 - 08/14/09 11:23 PM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
daro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/09/07
Posts: 167
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


Why would I want to play or even see a $20,000 piano that sounds like a MIDI playback within the first few seconds?


For one thing, it might actually allow you to make an informed judgment instead of just sounding like a pompous ignoramus. And of course we all know that youtube represents the very pinnacle of sonic fidelity.


Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


Quite how hearing something and deciding that it sounds like a heap of shit has a thing to do with predicting the future of markets from audio files, I'm at loss to discern. The failings were so characteristic of the typical 'digital piano' (or rather 'keyboard') sound I could have picked it out as being fake within seconds, even if I had never been told what I was listening to.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKktyeuIs1U

Try it for yourself.


Um, I've actually tried the real, non-youtube variety AvantGrand for myself, thank you very much. Why don't you do the same - it might not change your opinion, but it would make it a tad more credible.

Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


PS. Regarding 'bias', I personally forked out over a thousand pounds for my own keyboard. It's useful for practise purposes, but a person who restricts himself to that alone can only be poorer for doing so.


And when exactly did I or anyone, with the possible exception of Gyro, ever say that one should restrict oneself to digitals.

Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


Sorry for being harsh, but if a person cannot discern what cannot be produced from a digital piano (but which can even be produced from plenty of acoustics that are in rather poor condition) it only serves to illustrate that they have not learned how to approach tone-production to the high standards which acoustics permit. Perhaps that's the reason why some people prefer digitals- because they prefer the guaranteed tone-quality to the ugly tone that ensues if you use poor technique on acoustic? As I say, sorry for being harsh, but if anyone seriously thinks that a Horowitz or Cortot would not have been frustrated by the prerecorded (as opposed to personally instigated) tone quality of any digital, that's only a reflection on their own limitations as a pianist. Stick with digitals alone, and you'll never come to understand why you can't access the greater possibilities that even a lot of very cheap uprights can open up.


Gee, thanks for your concern. I've been playing acoustics for over 50 years, many of those years professionally. I like to think I have some modest grasp of the possibilities, but I'll certainly work on those limitations and that ugly tone that you heard in my playing out there in your magical universe.

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#1249555 - 08/14/09 11:56 PM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: TimR]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Mrs.A
Consider that you are not actually making a tone on a digital piano. . When you play that digital piano, you are playing a RECORDING of at piano tone through a speaker. When you play a chord you are not getting a true harmony in terms of sound waves and physics. It is not true harmony.


I have a CD set of Glen playing the Goldberg variations. Well, of course I have other CDs, piano and instrumental; I just listen to that one fairly often.

Guess what? They are ALL digital recreations of a tone, played through a speaker.

So unless you are such a purist that you never listen to anything but live music, I think this particular criticism is misplaced.


Good Gracious…..

First of all, my comment was not a criticism. I was stating a fact. A digital piano produces a recording of the tone. The harmonies are not true.

If given the choice, I would rather hear a live acoustic performance of the Goldberg variations over a CD digital recording through a speaker anytime.

Oh and yes I have a collection of CD's.
_________________________
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.


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#1249637 - 08/15/09 08:14 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Mrs.A]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3187
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Mrs.A


A digital piano produces a recording of the tone. The harmonies are not true.


I don't understand what you mean by this. Any given piano note has the same overtone series whether produced by sampling, modeling, or an acoustic. How can the harmonies not be true? Of course some digital pianos do a better or worse job of this creation. Some add in additional factors like string resonance, etc. Actually I wish digitals were not as realistic. Those screechy tinkly notes at the top of an acoustic keyboard, or those growly pitchy ones at the bottom? I'd prefer those sound more like the midrange.

Perhaps you are objecting to equal temperament. Digitals are always in tune, but unless you choose a historical temperament (try THAT on an acoustic) they are always in tune to ET. Acoustics start detuning immediately after a tuning session, and that contributes to "true" harmony.

Originally Posted By: Mrs.A
If given the choice, I would rather hear a live acoustic performance of the Goldberg variations over a CD digital recording through a speaker anytime.


Well, I like live performance too. Imagine, I'm stupid enough to pay for concert tickets for a piece of music I already have on CD and can listen to free! How dumb is that? <grin>

But on a pure sonic basis, it is rare to find an acoustic environment where a live performer sounds as good as a CD recorded in a good studio. I'm not talking about the performance itself, which sometimes is better live, feeding off the audience energy, and sometimes is worse, due to nerves, etc. I'm talking about the acoustics of the hall, or church, or bar, and the ambient sounds of coughing, echoes, drunks, trains passing, etc.

My point is that the CD sounds good. And it is a digitized recreation through speakers.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1249640 - 08/15/09 08:19 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: TimR]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi

Why would I want to play or even see a $20,000 piano that sounds like a MIDI playback within the first few seconds?


Frankly, your bias is showing.

Even a $1,000 digital piano sounds better than a MIDI playback, to my ears. Maybe your ears are different.

Seriously, your position is that a 7 year old beginner needs a top of the line grand. How can you defend that, given what Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin learned on?


I would say that Bach, Beethoven and Chopin probably didn't learn on digital pianos.

My position is that a 7 year old beginner should learn on a cheap but competent piano. What on earth makes you attribute such a ridiculous strawman argument to me? A top of the line grand is the only alternative to a keyboard now, is it? I'm simply criticising overpriced keyboards.

Apologies if I'm showing my 'bias' towards $20,000 instruments that cannot even compete with a cheap upright.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/15/09 08:21 AM)
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1249642 - 08/15/09 08:25 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: daro]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: daro
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi


Why would I want to play or even see a $20,000 piano that sounds like a MIDI playback within the first few seconds?


For one thing, it might actually allow you to make an informed judgment instead of just sounding like a pompous ignoramus. And of course we all know that youtube represents the very pinnacle of sonic fidelity.


Precisely. The fact that it's so easy to spot the difference, without even having the benefits of optimum sound quality demonstrates just how easy it is to pick out the limitations. I haven't yet heard any recordings from real pianos on youtube, that sounded like they were digital pianos. So, I wonder- was it the fact that it was on youtube, or was it the fact that it doesn't sound like a real piano- that meant that it didn't sound like a real piano?

I don't think that exactly takes a genius- any more than it takes a Horowitz to realise what digital pianos are unable to offer...


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/15/09 08:41 AM)
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1249646 - 08/15/09 08:33 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: TimR]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Mrs.A


A digital piano produces a recording of the tone. The harmonies are not true.


I don't understand what you mean by this. Any given piano note has the same overtone series whether produced by sampling, modeling, or an acoustic. How can the harmonies not be true? Of course some digital pianos do a better or worse job of this creation. Some add in additional factors like string resonance, etc. Actually I wish digitals were not as realistic. Those screechy tinkly notes at the top of an acoustic keyboard, or those growly pitchy ones at the bottom? I'd prefer those sound more like the midrange. [...]

My point is that the CD sounds good. And it is a digitized recreation through speakers.


Time to read some books on overtones, my friend. If you do not know anything about the complexity of how overtones respond when a pedal is down, you ought to read up. Not surprisingly, it's when a lot of pedal is involved that you hear the biggest limitations of digitals. The notes interact on a real piano. The way that this is simuilated on a digital is simply a very poor replacement. On a decent real piano, you can frequently hear a discernible swell to the sound that is produced (when pedalling). Within a fracion of a second, the sound blossoms in a way that it doesn't without pedal. The simulation is vastly limited. Compare this swell in a Horowitz performance, with the dead neutral tones in that Katsaris one. It's instantly identifiable as a fake, through that stone dead, emotionless tone.


You're talking about the difference between a recreation of a whole and a failed attempt to create that whole from individual components. Sorry, but it's simply not a justified comparison. It's scarcely more relevant than comparing a recording of a symphony to a MIDI recreation- and saying that both are digital so why should there be any difference? Whether we're talking pianos or orchestras, there is an extremely good reason for the differences- differences that are easily perceived.

If you dislike the realism of the upper register and bass and prefer clean, neutral sounds, I'd recommend looking for an old Casio from the early 90s. You might have the 'piano' of your dreams...


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/15/09 09:22 AM)
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1249655 - 08/15/09 09:09 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: cinstance]
Arabesque Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 548
Loc: Japan
I learned on a massive clunker of a German upright which had one key broken. I now practice on digital for practical reasons and alternate with hiring a grand piano practice room. Instead of producing too quiet a tone on the acoustic I notice the opposite. The tone is very loud and needs a lot more control. After working with this for half an hour I find I can adapt. However, it is essential to develop a good technique in order to manipulate tone.

Therefore I think it's not exactly a case of playing a digital means weaker fingers rather than the sensitivity of technique may need addressing. But this is really not a fundamental problem but rather an adaptive skill which will come later. The ease of playing weighted digital keyboards can lead to enhanced finger agility and speed as mentioned above. This is a good thing in early piano learning. And if one's child is happy playing then why worry? It's not about finger strength at all anyway. This is saying that you only play with the fingers which is unbelievably simplistic given three-hundred years of physiognymical studies as well as simple observation of pianists playing. When producing tone you actually do it from various parts of the body including arms and upper torso. Fingers are just for putting in the right places.
_________________________
It don't mean a ting if it don't have dat swing

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#1249659 - 08/15/09 09:14 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Geoffk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/08
Posts: 757
Loc: Tokyo, Japan
Historically, digitals have suffered from some technical limitations such as sample over-compression, limited sample length, obvious looping, lack of damper/string resonance, limited polyphony and other problems. But, frankly, most of these are only of historical interest now. The sound from a recent, high-end digital, is virtually a perfect reproduction of a miked acoustic. Most of the remaining limitations of current models are simply a result of the cheap and basic speaker systems that they have. Running a current digital though a expensive sound system will make it sound even more like an amplified acoustic than they already do.

Claims that digitals "don't sound like real pianos" or "Lack proper harmonics" are just blind prejudice. There's no technical or practical basis for that kind of assertion. And up to $5000 or so (a *very* high-end digital), a student would almost always be better off with a digital than an acoustic of the same price. Likewise, unless a family is prepared to *seriously* maintain their acoustic, a student will be playing a sub-optimal instrument most of the time with an acoustic--out of tune, missing notes, buzzing, sticking, etc. Whereas the digital will always sound and play fine.

We are truly blessed to live in a time where a trouble-free, arguably superior alternative to a traditional instrument is not only available, but costs a fraction of the price. But, instead, some people would prefer to be snobbish about it, and bask their extraordinarily discriminating ears in the superior technology of 1901. More power to you, but you're losing the war. I'm sure that Yamaha already sells way more Clavinolas than acoustics these days. And the technology is only going to keep getting better.

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#1249663 - 08/15/09 09:29 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Geoffk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/08
Posts: 757
Loc: Tokyo, Japan
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Time to read some books on overtones, my friend. If you do not know anything about the complexity of how overtones respond when a pedal is down, you ought to read up. Not surprisingly, it's when a lot of pedal is involved that you hear the biggest limitations of digitals. The notes interact on a real piano. The way that this is simuilated on a digital is simply a very poor replacement.


Well, I know what you're saying. For example, you play a middle C note and hold down the pedal. Obviously, other C notes up and down the keyboard will play in harmony. But other strings will also vibrate slightly, as the harmonics from the C note sound their fundamental tone. And still more strings will vibrate from the base and harmonic notes of these harmonic strings. In short, playing this single note with pedal will result in a large fraction of the notes on the piano vibrating to some extent (assuming it's in perfect tune).

Where you lose the argument is when you say that digitals can't properly replicate this. This feature (called damper resonance) is on most high-end digitals. And it works extremely well--probably better than the real effect works on most real world, slightly out-of-tune acoustic pianos. It's more effective on some digitals than others (e.g. I think Roland does a better job than Yamaha). But claiming that this is something that digitals can't do is just acoustic prejudice. String resonance (a similar effect on any open string without pedal) is also on high-end digitals.

But please keep trying. I'm sure you'll find something that digitals can't "really" do. For a start, I haven't figured out a way to make a cracked soundboard buzz or a misadjusted key stick on a digital.

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#1249664 - 08/15/09 09:30 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Geoffk]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Geoffk
Claims that digitals "don't sound like real pianos" or "Lack proper harmonics" are just blind prejudice. There's no technical or practical basis for that kind of assertion. And up to $5000 or so (a *very* high-end digital), a student would almost always be better off with a digital than an acoustic of the same price. Likewise, unless a family is prepared to *seriously* maintain their acoustic, a student will be playing a sub-optimal instrument most of the time with an acoustic--out of tune, missing notes, buzzing, sticking, etc. Whereas the digital will always sound and play fine.


There's no snobbery. I personally paid over a thousand pounds for a keyboard. It's very useful. It has countless positives. However I can HEAR the difference and very easily. What more needs to be said? If there are people who sincerely believe that neither I nor countless professional and amateur musicians do not have the ability to perceive major flaws (via their ears alone), they are simply deluding themselves.

As for the idea that there's no 'technical' basis- how about the fact that even high-end pianos only sample 5 differnt strike weights? Do you think that the piano can only produce 5 different sounds per key- and that everything else is merely equivalent to turning a volume switch up and down? That's without even coming on to the level of complexity that exists in how overtones interact in reality...

Stating untruths as if they were incontrovertible fact does not help the case for digitals.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/15/09 09:37 AM)
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1249665 - 08/15/09 09:37 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Geoffk]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Geoffk

Where you lose the argument is when you say that digitals can't properly replicate this. This feature (called damper resonance) is on most high-end digitals. And it works extremely well--probably better than the real effect works on most real world, slightly out-of-tune acoustic pianos. It's more effective on some digitals than others (e.g. I think Roland does a better job than Yamaha). But claiming that this is something that digitals can't do is just acoustic prejudice. String resonance (a similar effect on any open string without pedal) is also on high-end digitals.


Sorry, but I'm at least 95% sure you are mistaken about 'damper resonance'. I believe it's to do with the noise the dampers make when hitting the strings. It's very minor, but it seems to make a little sound that can be heard when you play a rapid stacatto.

Of course, digital pianos have begun to include overtones. However, it's not even close to that which occurs on any urpight. Nevermind the absurdity of claiming that it emulates a grand...

If you prefer your digital piano that's fine. However, you'd be better off accepting the fact that it DOES pose a number of limitations, than making rather tenuous attempts to argue that it can achieve that which it simply cannot.
_________________________
http://pianoscience.blogspot.com/

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#1249668 - 08/15/09 09:40 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Geoffk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/08
Posts: 757
Loc: Tokyo, Japan
Yes that's true. Most digitals use three to five samples per key, split between 128 levels of volume. Frankly, based on carefully listening to digitals and acoustics, I think that you can reasonably simulate the range of expression available on an acoustic with this type of arrangement. Yes, there are theoretically an infinite number of tones that a single key can produce. But most of them will sound pretty similar except for volume level, so quantizing the tonal range to four or five with a wider range of volume loses very little in actual expression. And yes, I'm aware of overtone interaction. As I point out above this is very well simulated now.

If you think that you can hear a difference, than maybe you can. Or maybe, you hear what you expect to hear, and you are actually the deluded one. And, please, don't suggest to me that there is no snobbery involved. I'm sure that 50 years from now, when even lab instruments won't be able to tell acoustics from digitals, acoustic players will still be using the same arguments as today.

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#1249672 - 08/15/09 09:46 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Geoffk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/08
Posts: 757
Loc: Tokyo, Japan
Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Sorry, but I'm at least 95% sure you are mistaken about 'damper resonance'. I believe it's to do with the noise the dampers make when hitting the strings. It's very minor, but it seems to make a little sound that can be heard when you play a rapid stacatto.


No that's damper sampling. The sound of the damper mechanism is actually sampled and played back, in case anyone misses the slight mechanical noise that it makes. The fact that even an incredibly trivial feature like this is faithfully replicated tells you how serious digital makers are.

Damper resonance is exactly what I said it is. It's not even a very high end feature now. Most of the Yamaha Clavinovas have it, as well as most Rolands and Kawais.

You can argue all you want that these features and digitals in general have mysterious "limitations". Certainly, I wouldn't claim that my digital sounds as good as a big Steinway or Bechstein grand. But it sounds better than a lot of uprights and baby grands that I've played. And it *plays* better than they do as well.

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#1249675 - 08/15/09 09:51 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Geoffk]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Geoffk
Yes that's true. Most digitals use three to five samples per key, split between 128 levels of volume. Frankly, based on carefully listening to digitals and acoustics, I think that you can reasonably simulate the range of expression available on an acoustic with this type of arrangement. Yes, there are theoretically an infinite number of tones that a single key can produce. But most of them will sound pretty similar except for volume level, so quantizing the tonal range to four or five with a wider range of volume loses very little in actual expression. And yes, I'm aware of overtone interaction. As I point out above this is very well simulated now.

If you think that you can hear a difference, than maybe you can. Or maybe, you hear what you expect to hear, and you are actually the deluded one. And, please, don't suggest to me that there is no snobbery involved. I'm sure that 50 years from now, when even lab instruments won't be able to tell acoustics from digitals, acoustic players will still be using the same arguments as today.


Sorry to be blunt, but if you cannot tell the difference, what position are you in to judge whether anyone else might be able to?

If I'd been played those recordings blind, at the very least I would have deeply been puzzled by the dead sounds in the Traumerei. It's all about how the sounds interact. When you listen in a certain way, you can tell when that does not happen.

In performances of jazz, I'll happily admit that there are cases where I might not easily spot the different between a miked up piano through speakers and digital. Put some drums over the top and primarily play without pedal, and I may not realise. However, if you do not believe that people cannot pick out the limitations of having only 5 different tone qualities and notes that do not accurately interact under the pedal (when something like a Chopin nocturne is being played) you are wasting your time to trying to persuade those who can hear the difference.

I would happily take a blind listening test- provided that the pianist plays to a high standard and not robotically (although even there, I would be surprised if you could catch me out). The irony of Yamaha paying Katsaris to advertise their piano is that having an artist with his range of touch exposes the flaws more than it demonstrates the positives.
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#1249677 - 08/15/09 09:53 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Geoffk]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
http://www.rosemorris.com/content/HP101.html

This page refers to it as the noise of the dampers being moved. It says nothing about the actual simulation of overtones. Obviously, having a sustain pedal does that to some extent anyway. However, I've never heard a DP where it sounds remotely sophisticated as a reproduction. There's never enough interaction between the sounds.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/15/09 10:00 AM)
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#1249679 - 08/15/09 09:57 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Geoffk]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
I find this argument amusing because it is just exactly like the perennial "solid-state vs. tube" amp wars on electric guitar forums. smile
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Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1249684 - 08/15/09 10:01 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Geoffk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/08
Posts: 757
Loc: Tokyo, Japan
Sometimes I can hear a difference between acoustic and digital; often I can't. If it was a recording, than I probably couldn't tell, since the miking and digitizing for the recording would make the acoustic sound more "digital" anyway. And I don't think that "notes that do not accurately interact under the pedal" is a problem anymore with current digitals.

But your bat-ears apparently can hear a difference. I'd be interested in seeing a controlled blind test of that. You might be surprised.

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#1249685 - 08/15/09 10:06 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Geoffk]
Geoffk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/08
Posts: 757
Loc: Tokyo, Japan
From the manual for my Roland HP-207, here are the resonance features which are adjustable. Note that "Damper Noise" and "Damper Resonance" are separate features:

Damper Resonance Off, 1–10
This adjusts the damper resonance of the acoustic piano sound (the sympathetic vibration produced in strings other than those actually played when you press the damper pedal). Higher settings will make the sympathetic vibration louder.

Damper Noise Off, 1–10
This adjusts the damper noise of the acoustic piano sound (the sound of the damper releasing the strings when you press the damper pedal).

Duplex Scale Off, 1–10
This adjusts the sympathetic vibrations of an acoustic piano’s Duplex Scale (p. 29). Higher settings will make the sympathetic vibration louder.

String Resonance Off, 1–10
This adjusts the string resonance of the acoustic piano sound (the sympathetic vibrations of strings for previously played notes that occur when you play
another note). Higher settings will make the sympathetic vibration louder.

Key Off Resonance Off, 1–10
This adjusts sympathetic vibrations such as an acoustic piano’s key-off sound (the subtle sound that occurs when you release a note). Higher settings will make the sympathetic vibration louder.

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#1249691 - 08/15/09 10:19 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Geoffk]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Geoffk
Sometimes I can hear a difference between acoustic and digital; often I can't. If it was a recording, than I probably couldn't tell, since the miking and digitizing for the recording would make the acoustic sound more "digital" anyway. And I don't think that "notes that do not accurately interact under the pedal" is a problem anymore with current digitals.

But your bat-ears apparently can hear a difference. I'd be interested in seeing a controlled blind test of that. You might be surprised.


If you can't spot the difference yourself, you probably won't be convinced. I don't regard myself as having a terribly good ear for sound, but having only ever been interested in pianists like Horowitz, Cortot, gilels and Nyiregyhazi etc. distinctive tone quality is what I listen for and what I strive for when I play myself. I am actually rather impressed by much of what digitals can do now. However, they don't enable the full range of feedback. If I only practise on the digital for a long period of time, I wouldn't be surprised if my tone suffered on returning to an acoustic. My Bluthner has a very hard tone quality if you seize at the keys. However, push them the right way and it has a beautiful tone indeed. You cannot learn this vital technique (which defines the sounds of real artists) on any digital. The idea that hammer speed alone is the issue on a real piano is actually doubtful (if you look into the real details of how a hammer moves). On a digital piano, you really do just get a key speed.

I am not a 'hater' of keyboards (when used to complement real pianos). However, I do take particularly annoyance at hearing them put forward in a manner that is simply innaccurate. My CLP 370 has an action that is supposedly that of a 'grand piano' but it's hugely limited, when you start playing with a true fortissimo (even when you ease in from direct contact with the key). However good they are, they are always a substitute for a piano- a subsitute that still comes with limitations. Many acoustics may be worse than a piano but there is still no digital that can reproduce what even a moderately priced upright ought to permit.

Choosing a digital over a real piano is like choosing some sort of futuristic (yet relatively primitive) sex android over a woman. It simply isn't the same thing yet.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/15/09 10:28 AM)
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#1249706 - 08/15/09 10:39 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
I can't see any point in assuming that anyone's preference for an acoustic is a matter of snobbery—or for characterizing the marketplace for digital and acoustic instruments as a "war" between winning and losing sides (unless, of course, one's purpose is to make people defensive and get them riled smile ).

Plenty of people have a digital and an acoustic and recognize that each has its place. Preferring an acoustic doesn't mean categorically dismissing digitals out of hand. Advocating for digitals shouldn't require denial that a mechanical instrument made from organic materials is essentially different or that others have a right to favor it.

I'm not threatened by digital technology, but the presumption that it must inevitably prevail rather than coexist—not to mention the gleeful anticipation some seem to feel about that prediction—is off-putting.

Steven
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Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
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#1249719 - 08/15/09 10:52 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: sotto voce]
Geoffk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/08
Posts: 757
Loc: Tokyo, Japan
Sorry, if I struck a sour note there. But most acoustic players don't take the "separate but equal" view. They view the acoustic as gold and the digital as brass--still yellow, but not nearly the same. Even if they own and play one, it's a necessary evil that they need to make excuses for.

That's silly. If I traded my digital in for an acoustic, I'd miss many features (MIDI, recording, silent play, perfect tuning, alternate tuning, alternate sounds, etc.) that I've learned to enjoy and use. It really does have significant advantages of it's own.

I admit that there's something "organic" about an acoustic. But it's really a very complex device when you get down to it, and it's not really any more natural for sound to come from a string than a speaker.

I love acoustics, and I don't begrudge anyone else the right to love the as well. But I still think that acoustic players who take pride in belittling digitals and suggesting that students shouldn't study on them are ultimately being snobbish about their choices.

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#1249726 - 08/15/09 11:10 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Geoffk]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Geoffk
Sorry, if I struck a sour note there. But most acoustic players don't take the "separate but equal" view. They view the acoustic as gold and the digital as brass--still yellow, but not nearly the same. Even if they own and play one, it's a necessary evil that they need to make excuses for.

That's silly. If I traded my digital in for an acoustic, I'd miss many features (MIDI, recording, silent play, perfect tuning, alternate tuning, alternate sounds, etc.) that I've learned to enjoy and use. It really does have significant advantages of it's own.

I admit that there's something "organic" about an acoustic. But it's really a very complex device when you get down to it, and it's not really any more natural for sound to come from a string than a speaker.

I love acoustics, and I don't begrudge anyone else the right to love the as well. But I still think that acoustic players who take pride in belittling digitals and suggesting that students shouldn't study on them are ultimately being snobbish about their choices.


The point is that they are not equal. Anyone who learns on a competent piano can transfer to a digital with no problems. Anyone who learns on a digital will bring the limitations of their learning to the piano. If they didn't learn the type of technique that produces a good sound on an acoustic, they will not produce a good sound on an acoustic. Seeing as a digital does not train that technique, it's rather unlikely to evolve to a high standard, if at all. For that reason, it's no surprise that those who have spent a lot of time on digitals often criticise the tone quality of real pianos and cannot hear such benefits as others can. In reality, it's likely to be their method of tone-production that is really at fault. You need to learn how to access such sounds, before you can expect to tell the difference.

If wanting kids to learn the ability to make a beautiful tone on any instrument (as opposed to cause a playback of one that was produced by someone else) is 'snobbery' then count me in.

To speak of them of equals is about as reasonable as referring to indoor golf simulations (where you hit a real ball into a screen) as being 'equal' to real golf. If you do not accept the limitations, it's reality that you are unwilling to accept.

I couldn't give a damn whether a sound 'comes from a speaker'. I'd sooner listen to a recording of Horowitz than most living pianists playing live. What matters is the qualities in that sound. When I'm the one producing sounds, I want to be capable of producing the sounds I intend to produce. Real pianos offers substantially more, in that respect. If someone only intends to express themself via 128 different volumes (with 5 different tone qualities) then they can feel free to limit themself as such. However, I'm certainly not going to nod and smile politely if anyone seriously tries to tell me that this is 'equal' to a real piano.

If they ever genuinely capture the full qualities of a good instrument in a digital, I'll be very happy. The problem is that they haven't yet done so...


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/15/09 11:23 AM)
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#1249739 - 08/15/09 11:27 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
I think you flatter yourself if you
think that you're producing celestial
tones on your acoustic piano. How
about hitting all the right notes in the
right time at tempo, for starters?
If you could do that with a half
dozen or more concertos--never mind
the "tone"--you could go on tour
right now.

Why were the old silent keyboards
so popular with concert pianists?
You can't get any tone out of them
since they make no sound, but they
were the best thing for a pianist.
Digitals take up from where the
old silent keyboards left off, with
the added benefit of sound.

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#1249746 - 08/15/09 11:34 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Gyro]
Nyiregyhazi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 2464
Originally Posted By: Gyro
I think you flatter yourself if you
think that you're producing celestial
tones on your acoustic piano. How
about hitting all the right notes in the
right time at tempo, for starters?
If you could do that with a half
dozen or more concertos--never mind
the "tone"--you could go on tour
right now.

Why were the old silent keyboards
so popular with concert pianists?
You can't get any tone out of them
since they make no sound, but they
were the best thing for a pianist.
Digitals take up from where the
old silent keyboards left off, with
the added benefit of sound.


You can be sarcastic if you want, but my Bluthner makes an ugly sound if I let my technique go sloppy. It makes a very appealing cantabile, if I concentrate on the movements. I'm sorry if other people might not know how to make any difference, but it's not exactly unusual for a pianist to strive for or achieve such an ability- whether to a low level or a high one. My digital makes the same tone, whatever I do.

Indeed, I use my keyboard for technical work on a daily basis, when it's too late to play my acoustic. So what's your point?

Do you think any of those pianists who used silent keyboards ever saw it as anything other than a useful alternative, when a piano was not available for use? I'm not sure if they were ever 'popular'. Apparently Rachmaninoff only ever used one to learn his 3rd concerto when he was on a long journey.

PS. The world has more than enough pianists who can hit the right notes, without any regard for tone.


Edited by Nyiregyhazi (08/15/09 11:39 AM)
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#1249752 - 08/15/09 11:46 AM Re: Weak fingers & digital piano [Re: Nyiregyhazi]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
If you can't produce "tone" on your
digital, then the fault is in your
playing, not the digital. I do
it every day on my $600 digital--and
in big-time pieces like the
Chopin op. 14. Of course, its not
exactly the same as on
an acoustic grand piano, but it's close
enough for all practical purposes,
and if I had to play an acoustic
piano, I could adjust to it with
little problem.

Again, this is why the old silent
keyboards were so popular and
why Arrau used one all his life.
They enable a pianist to develop
the strength and technique so
he can produce that great "tone,"
on any piano.

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