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#1565740 - 11/28/10 11:36 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewri [Re: Gary Allen]
ClassicalMastery Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/10
Posts: 52
You should not have to ask if but rather when this change is going to occur. Within the current decade there will be a major shift whereby you will see many acoustic piano stores close.

This does not mean acoustic pianos will disappear forever. One can still buy typewriters at office supply stores. Film cameras are enjoyed mainly by middle aged photographers who began taking pictures in the non-digital era. Vinyl and tape have a more complex history. The revivial of interest in both will peak sometime during this decade. Acoustic pianos will become the wooden ships of the past.

Wherever digital technology has been introduced it has completely revamped that area. One reason is that it reduces the cost to the customer and the manufacturer. Eventually, the reduction becomes so overwhelming that sustaining the old pipeline from supplier to end user becomes impractical. Then extremely few manfacturers remain to supply aficionados and purists with products.


Edited by ClassicalMastery (11/28/10 11:36 AM)

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#1565747 - 11/28/10 12:00 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
No. There will always be someone building acoustic pianos.

One problem with digital instruments, even before the economy took a big plunge was that they all lost their value very quickly after the purchase. Almost as badly as cars do. At least, that is what I was told by one (or more) dealers. Similar to computers, within a few short years, there is always something bigger and better thereby affecting the longevity of its lasting value.

I bought an 88 note nice digital instrument which I lovingly refer to as "my toy piano." I bought it about 12 years ago at which time it retailed for $5,500. 4 years later, I went to sell it only to find out its real worth was now only was a mere $1,800. I decided to keep it. That doesn't happen to pianos. Not to that degree. Yes, the value of pianos has dropped over the years but then, so has many other items. Pianos for the most part, provided they were taken care of and were a reasonable instrument, retained their value for a very,very, long time.

Another factor to consider. While piano sales are indeed down and digital sales are indeed up, there are millions of pianos worldwide that will be around even if no more pianos were sold starting today. These pianos will be around for at least the next 75 years or longer. Many of these sames pianos like; Steinway, Bosendorfer, Kawai, Yamaha etc., can and will be rebuilt, rather than junked like digital pianos will be when people are finished with them.

People that work on acoustic pianos for a living can hear the difference in a heartbeat if a real piano is being used or, if a digital is being played. I believe, so can a concert artist tell the difference as many if not most of these, refuse to use a digital piano for their concerts. Horowitz for example, would never be found using anything else but, a real piano.

My 20 ¢ worth. smile
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

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#1565755 - 11/28/10 12:22 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
Interesting debate. My opinion:

Acoustic pianos will not die. But they will disappear almost entirely from the average home though, and become a specialist or elitist instrument, sold in low volumes. Simply because there is little or no demand in most homes in the US or Europe within our present cultures. Different in China.

Western acoustic piano dealers will diminish greatly as the market shrinks.

Digitals have a somewhat different market. I think that people who state that digitals can never replicate what an acoustic piano does are short sighted. At the top end they are pretty close now, for most users / listeners.
_________________________
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#1565762 - 11/28/10 12:51 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3304
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
Acoustic piano has more to fear from video games, short attention spans, and guitar than it has to fear from Digital Pianos.

Actually, the future of acoustics may very well be people who started on a Digital Piano rather than not starting at all, and then developed to a point of need or interest for an acoustic.
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PianoCraft
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#1565771 - 11/28/10 01:10 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewri [Re: ClassicalMastery]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10452
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: ClassicalMastery
You should not have to ask if but rather when this change is going to occur. Within the current decade there will be a major shift whereby you will see many acoustic piano stores close.

This does not mean acoustic pianos will disappear forever. One can still buy typewriters at office supply stores. Film cameras are enjoyed mainly by middle aged photographers who began taking pictures in the non-digital era. Vinyl and tape have a more complex history. The revivial of interest in both will peak sometime during this decade. Acoustic pianos will become the wooden ships of the past.

Wherever digital technology has been introduced it has completely revamped that area. One reason is that it reduces the cost to the customer and the manufacturer. Eventually, the reduction becomes so overwhelming that sustaining the old pipeline from supplier to end user becomes impractical. Then extremely few manfacturers remain to supply aficionados and purists with products.


The real problem will come as a matter of economics. As digitals inprove in both tone and touch, acoustic piano sales will decrease. This will make it difficult for manufacturers to get the necessary return on investment needed to sustain production of acoustics. This spells eventual doom for entry-level and mid-range acoustics.

Many of the high end manufacturers will likely stay in production since the elite (read rich) purists will create enough demand for top tier instruments.
_________________________
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My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#1565781 - 11/28/10 01:32 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewri [Re: Gary Allen]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19228
Loc: New York City
I wonder what % of those who play the piano(at any level or age) can tell the difference between recordings of a terrific acoustic piano and the best digital or hybrid piano, like the Yamaha AvantGrand.

My guess is less than 10% of those who play the piano and maybe 20-40% of PW members. Twenty years ago those percnetages would probably have been much higher. Twenty years from now, who knows?

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#1565787 - 11/28/10 01:37 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewri [Re: pianoloverus]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I wonder what % of those who play the piano(at any level or age) can tell the difference between recordings of a terrific acoustic piano and the best digital or hybrid piano, like the Yamaha AvantGrand.


This of course depends upon the recording quality. In a place like YouTube for example, where the sound is so compressed it would be pretty much impossible.
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#1565797 - 11/28/10 01:52 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: pno]
David Burton Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1757
Loc: Coxsackie, New York
Originally Posted By: pno
A digital would not be replacing an acoustic until the day you could replace your food with batteries.


Pretty succinct.
I've owned both.
When the lights go out, one can still be played.
Other reasons too.
Acoustic pianos forever!
_________________________
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http://dpbmss041010.blogspot.com/

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#1565802 - 11/28/10 02:01 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewri [Re: Gary Allen]
geraldbrennan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/14/08
Posts: 77
Loc: ann arbor, mi
Let me rephrase your question:
Will connoisseurship die?

No.
But it will become more rare and expensive as the centuries go by.

We live, for example, in an age when almost everyone mistakes a recording of music with music itself; when MP3s, stripped of 90% of their recorded information, playing through cheap earbuds have become the acceptable standard.
With such dumbing-down in progress, cheap fakes will rule the day. Why? Because few can tell the difference, and most of those who can, don't care.

Except for the connoisseurs. They will keep it alive.


Edited by geraldbrennan (11/28/10 03:02 PM)

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#1565822 - 11/28/10 02:24 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewri [Re: geraldbrennan]
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
MP3's don't crackle.

I have very high end hi-fi available to me - but I increasingly use iTunes and even YouTube for day to day music consumption. Quality is improving and prices to achieve the quality are falling rapidly.

I have two acoustic pianos (Boston is out of storage) - but the digital still gets played - especially late at night when I have time and am in the mood. This "acoustic versus digital" debate passes many of us by. They both have a place and both excellent, useful musical tools.... if you slip the blinkers off.

I deplore the snobbery of it all. At the bottom to lower mid-range end, a good digital beats a cheapish acoustic and above all encourages musicians. Keith Kerman is dead right - embrace digitals as they will steer some/many musicians toward acoustics in due course.

Adrian
_________________________
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#1565849 - 11/28/10 03:01 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewri [Re: AJB]
geraldbrennan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/14/08
Posts: 77
Loc: ann arbor, mi
Originally Posted By: AJB
MP3's don't crackle.


You're right, Adrian. I will change my post to reflect that point.

Originally Posted By: AJB
I deplore the snobbery of it all.


I can't agree that it's snobbery.
We just disagree on what "dumbing down" means.

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#1565852 - 11/28/10 03:01 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: David Burton]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19228
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: David Burton
Originally Posted By: pno
A digital would not be replacing an acoustic until the day you could replace your food with batteries.


Pretty succinct.
I've owned both.
When the lights go out, one can still be played.
Other reasons too.
Acoustic pianos forever!

But have you owned the latest and most expensive(something like the AvantGrand or an equivalent)?

I think there is some analogy between the developmnet of digital/hybrid pianos and chess playing computer programs. Thrity five years ago I could probably beat most computer programs. Twenty five years ago maybe only a computer or programs costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars could beat me. Today, a program costing maybe $25 would beat me most of the time and the best programs(no cost limit) can regularly beat all but the top grandmasters.


Edited by pianoloverus (11/28/10 03:03 PM)

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#1565861 - 11/28/10 03:16 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
Rank Piano Amateur Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 1752
Why should the acoustic piano die, any more than any other musical instrument? There are digital string instruments, among others, and any digital piano can sound like any other instrument that the programmer wishes to make it imitate. I fail to see why acoustic pianos are more at risk than other instruments. Let's face it, a programmer can make a digital violin that sounds like a Stradivarius, just as much as a programmer can make a keyboard that sounds like a Bosendorfer.

Pianos are, of course, machines, probably to a greater extent than a Stradivarius. But that doesn't mean that they are more at risk than anything else. It also doesn't mean that they are not musical instruments, just as much so as flutes and oboes.

Having said all of this, I do not think that acoustic pianos (also known as pianos) will die out, any more than I think that computers are going to take over the visual art world, with human painters falling by the wayside. Digital keyboards are computers, not musical instruments. Human interaction with them is a completely different phenomenon from human interaction with actual pianos, something that is also the case with respect to violins/digital violins and painters' palettes. To say nothing of opera.

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#1565882 - 11/28/10 04:13 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewri [Re: geraldbrennan]
turandot Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7143
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: geraldbrennan


We live, for example, in an age when almost everyone mistakes a recording of music with music itself; when MP3s, stripped of 90% of their recorded information, playing through cheap earbuds have become the acceptable standard.
With such dumbing-down in progress, cheap fakes will rule the day. Why? Because few can tell the difference, and most of those who can, don't care.

Except for the connoisseurs. They will keep it alive.


Inevitably. all threads on this topic in the Piano Forum suffer from the tendency to put down digital keybaords, recorded sound, and those who enjoy them. Particular attention is given to today's youth, their musical values, their shortened attention span, and their ability to be satisfied with what their betters, "the connoisseurs". view as cheap thrills and cheap toys.

This kind of rhetoric can easily win the day in the Piano Forum. It plays to paranoia and to the obsession with one period instrument rather than the creative process of making music.

To musicians who are more interested in creating music rather than reciting or replicating a particular type of lit on a particular period instrument. it really doesn't mean a thing.

Good music can be composed with and delivered by a variety of musical instruments. Some music sounds better of acoustics, and unsurprisingly, some music sounds better on digital instruments. Some music sounds better on a completely different instrument.

To have a preference for acoustic pianos is no crime, but to constantly beat down digital technology and its users to shore up one's opinion and quiet one's doubts about the future shows a lack of understanding about what music is.
_________________________
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#1565901 - 11/28/10 04:56 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewri [Re: Gary Allen]
PianoMan1958 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 502
Loc: Tennessee
I don't see that all pianists are putting down digital pianos per se. I love to play them (we have a couple nice ones at our church) on occasion, especially when there is not a well maintained grand available, or the fit is better in a particular musical group, etc.

It's just that when it comes down to pure musical enjoyment and expression and/or piano solos, I prefer a nice grand piano. It gives a feedback and responsiveness that a digital piano cannot give at this point in time.

That's not snobbery, just a fact of life for many accomplished pianists. For some of the same reasons that an accomplished drummer would prefer acoustic drums over electronic ones, for example.


Edited by PianoMan1958 (11/28/10 04:57 PM)
_________________________
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Plays:
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Kawai KG5 grand (church)
Roland RD300GX digital (jazz group)

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#1565902 - 11/28/10 04:58 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewri [Re: Gary Allen]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
I think most folks here agree that the piano (acoustic piano) is here to stay. Unfortunately as time goes on there will be fewer and fewer piano stores where you can shop for one. In the last five years two stores that I could bike to (that's how close they were to me) closed. One store had been in business for over 100 years. Both stores were temporarily taken over by a very large piano store. The larger store used these smaller locations to sell their excess pianos. Both stores stayed open for a number of months and then closed.

I don't have an emotional attachment to my instrument, for me the piano is a tool. On the classical concert stage the piano will always be there, but in a restaurant or hotel, I'd prefer a hybrid. (Soundmen also prefer digital pianos.)

I sold my C3 about 12 years ago after I encountered a GranTouch (Yamaha's first hybrid piano). For practice purposes I found it an excellent replacement for my C3. I could practice whenever I wanted to and didn't have to stuff many towels in the soundboard to quiet it down. (I also received a generous trade in price when I bought the AvantGrand 12 years later.)

I even enjoyed playing the GranTouch at the theater. It looked like a baby grand, sounded very nice and was in tune. I was in heaven - a grand piano action and the piano was perfectly in tune. (I had the idea for this kind of piano for many years prior I should add.)

I have no vested interest in the piano industry. I don't sell them, I don't tune them, I don't work on them - I just play them.

I'm waiting for Yamaha (and hopefully Bösendorfer) to introduce a hybrid using the action from their nine footers. I'd love to play on a Steinway hybrid if they ever decide to develop one. I like my AvantGrand, but it's really the idea that I like.

Pianos are tools. If this is an emotional issue for you, get over it. In a sense I'm a chauffeur and the piano is my bus. I keep my bus maintained but now welcome the fact that I now longer have to have the oil changed several times a year. I'll drive anything you put in front of me but it's sure nice to play a grand piano action where the piano is always in tune.

Also, I make a distinction between a digital piano and a hybrid. There are many cheap digital pianos on the market; my frame of reference is the AvantGrand - a hybrid.

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#1565937 - 11/28/10 06:07 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewri [Re: Gary Allen]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
it needn't be a question of either/or, digital/acoustic if one has what one needs.

I am fortunate to live in the middle of the US where used things are super cheap. my grand was not inexpensive. this instrument is supplemented by several guitars, a digital piano, a keyboard, a church organ and a glockenspiel. I own a flute, trumpet and several recorders for my kids. My son made his own didgeridoo. We like messing around together making music... nothing formal.

I would be happy with any full keyboard if I couldn't have my grand. I am delighted to own it.. but i was happy with my 200 dollar old uprights. Currently I am liking my organ.. it is very complex to add the feet, plan the legato and orchestrate... plus it is in the sunshine in the afternoons.
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#1565942 - 11/28/10 06:10 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Keith D Kerman]
kurtie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/10
Posts: 207
Originally Posted By: Keith D Kerman
Actually, the future of acoustics may very well be people who started on a Digital Piano rather than not starting at all, and then developed to a point of need or interest for an acoustic.


+1

I started playing on a DP, now I am looking for an acoustic. Without DPs I never would have started playing piano. Sometimes DPs and APs do not compete but can complement each other.

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I wonder what % of those who play the piano(at any level or age) can tell the difference between recordings of a terrific acoustic piano and the best digital or hybrid piano, like the Yamaha AvantGrand.


I want an acoustic piano for playing it, not for recording. If I was to record something, I would do it with the DP: much better quality, much easier (no mics), you can record the MIDI sequence, and so on. I probably could be fooled in the blind test that you describe, but I can tell the difference when I am playing a digital connected to speakers and when I am playing an acoustic. For me that is the deal, how it feels when playing not when listening a recording.

I understand (to my own limits) and like technology (I am computer scientist). I have a DP, and enjoy playing it. But even all the problems associated to an analogue piano (couldn't play late at night, expensive, hard to move, has to be tuned, humidity control) I am seriously considering to get one. I am going to keep my DP (that's out of discussion... I need a DP), but I feel that an acoustic will complement what I feel the DP lacks.

Is not only that one can tell consciously the difference between the sound of and AP and a DP. The finest details are kept in the subconscious. I would like to see the results of the next experiment: pick an audience of people and play some very emotive piece of piano, first played on a DP and then on an AP, and then measure the emotions felt by the audience. How to do that? I don't know, designing experiments is definitely not my field, but it would be an interesting experiment.

IMHO the problem with a DP is that it is too deterministic and predictable. You can play exactly the same sound as many times as you want. An acoustic, even when only playing one single note, generates a complex and chaotic (as in 'chaos theory', that is, complex and non-deterministic) sound, and there are not two notes completely equal. Sampled pianos, even the huge multi gigabyte libraries that we can get today have that problem, but of course, the bigger the library, the less noticeable the problem.

Virtual pianos (Pianoteq and V-Piano) I think that are the way to go for DPs, but are still far away.

Will Acoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? I believe we will see the last acoustic piano go away when the last paper book will be substituted by an e-book reader. I don't think that I am going to see any of those events, and I am too young too consider myself old. (Ok, 'the last' is to say too much... the point is that they are not going to disappear in the next years or decades).

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#1565992 - 11/28/10 07:34 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8414
Loc: Georgia, USA
Well, I have a fairly decent 88 weighted key digital and my recently acquired 1978 model Yamaha C7 acoustic grand. I’m sure you all know which one I prefer to play most of the time… okay, all of the time. smile

However, my two grand children, ages 6 and 4, love the digital the best; they call it the “funky” smile piano, because of all the accompaniment sounds and recordings on it. I let them have their way with the digital and play with it to their little hearts content; but they have to wash their hands and sit up straight and use proper technique to play the Yamaha.

I personally think both acoustics and digitals will be around a while. I would say they complement each other rather than cancel each other out.

Rick
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#1565998 - 11/28/10 07:37 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
durden365 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/10
Posts: 95
Loc: Canada


I started shooting a 25 year old fil camera after using a semi-pro digital for a while, why? because the mechanical workings of these machines have this charisma that can't be replaced by circuit boards, same thing with vinyl records, typewriters, and acoustic pianos.

im not too worried, before acoustic pianos can be completely eliminated, their digital counter parts HAVE to be able to mimic every aspect so well that the differences are negligible, which I doubt will happen within my life time.

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#1566003 - 11/28/10 07:46 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: kurtie]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Is not only that one can tell consciously the difference between the sound of and AP and a DP. The finest details are kept in the subconscious. I would like to see the results of the next experiment: pick an audience of people and play some very emotive piece of piano, first played on a DP and then on an AP, and then measure the emotions felt by the audience. How to do that? I don't know, designing experiments is definitely not my field, but it would be an interesting experiment.

What some folks perceive as emotions from the performer are simply show biz hand movements, the ol' throwing the hair back and all kinds of body contortions. Other folks perceive minute technical control from the performer as being emotional.

Measuring emotions from the music itself, good luck.

Rather than attempting to measure emotions it would be easier to simply have the same performance played back on a piano and a hybrid. Keeping the volume levels of the hybrid within 0.5 dB of the acoustic piano should keep things honest as folks tend to like what they perceive as louder.

As long as you mentioned emotions I feel I have to add this - I get really irritated when I hear teachers using emotional words to get the student to alter their playing. If someone told me to play with more emotion I would have no idea what they meant. I would assume they would want more body contortions from me, perhaps more facial expressions, whatever. I find it more accurate to discuss music using musical terms - this section should be louder, softer, ... a slight ritard, ... gradually speeding up, a gradual crescendo ... and so forth. Using emotional words leads to poor musical communication.

I remember a personal incident. I was a high school music major and everyone had to perform for the class. A teacher took me aside and road mapped a two part invention - louder here, softer here, detached notes here, slow down here ... and so forth. I performed the piece and the really good pianist in the class told me afterward that I played very musically (or with lots of feeling, I forget).

Now I didn't play musically per se, I was merely following someone else's instructions ... and certainly did not play with emotion, the only emotion I had was fear. What the listener heard was the this section louder, that section softer, slowing up there ... etc. That made a lasting impression on me. If you want to discuss music using emotional terms, great. I don't, I use musical terms as I find they communicate more effectively.
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#1566092 - 11/28/10 09:24 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: apple*]
Baroque Style Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/09
Posts: 31
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted By: apple*
as they say, imitation is the best flattery.


What about digital cameras? They imitate "real" cameras, but they have dominated the mass consumer market. Digital SLRs have also replaced "real" SLRs.

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#1566164 - 11/29/10 12:53 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
sam235813 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/08
Posts: 54
Loc: middle america
i'm trying to imagine glenn gould on an avantgrand... no. it's not working...
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#1566169 - 11/29/10 12:59 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
sam235813 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/08
Posts: 54
Loc: middle america
note: the big disruptive technology to hit pianos was in the mid 1920s: radio.


Edited by sam235813 (11/29/10 01:00 AM)
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#1566171 - 11/29/10 01:06 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewri [Re: Steve Cohen]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3834
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen

The real problem will come as a matter of economics. As digitals inprove in both tone and touch, acoustic piano sales will decrease. This will make it difficult for manufacturers to get the necessary return on investment needed to sustain production of acoustics. This spells eventual doom for entry-level and mid-range acoustics.

Many of the high end manufacturers will likely stay in production since the elite (read rich) purists will create enough demand for top tier instruments.


That's exactly right, Steve, at least in the USA. Will some low end makers concentrate their sales efforts in China? Isn't that what Baldwin/Dongbei is already doing?

After tuning a Steinway D and B this morning, I played the Avant Grand in the next room. Great action, but still not a Steinway. Not yet...........
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#1566179 - 11/29/10 01:45 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Baroque Style]
Gary Allen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/15/09
Posts: 141
Loc: Tennessee
I was gone for a few days after posing this thread. I am very impressed by the many great thoughts, analogies, and philosophies on this issue. I am also one who has no business interest at risk irrespective of the long term outcome of any further market shifts between accoustic/digital pianos. I am only an intermediate player and the biggest potential future loss I potentially face is the loss of value in my pianos. While this is to most piano owners (myself included) no small thing the pianos were bought to keep and not with resell intended.

I love the look of the grand, the feel of the grand and the sound of the grand over my digital (particularly in the piano mode). And there is no doubt that the grand makes a furniture statement. I feel more like a piano player at a grand than I do at my console style digital (that offers me a close up "wall view.") All this said the grand tires me out more--I can play longer on my digital with its light touch. The digital allows me to turn up or down the volume. My grand does not have a silent feature so when the "lights go out" at my home it more-often-than-not actually means that the accoustic gets shut down. I then get the headphones out because everyone else is going to bed while I shift to the digital...works well with my "night-owl" lifestyle and frequent insomnia. If the electricity goes out at night I can't play either one as I only read music. If during the day the accoustic can, of course, still be played.

Economically the digital pianos (like any other computer) do lose value quickly due to continuous evolving technology. It occurs to me that it is possible to lose as much or more on an accoustic if you change your mind and want to resell. Example: Say 5 years ago bought a new reknowned brand grand piano for $50,000. Try to sell it today and say you get $35,000. You have experienced a $15,000 loss. If 5 years ago you bought a supreme digital for $15,000 and try to sell it today you would get very little for it and it might take a very long time to sell. Worst case you can't sell it. In such case you lost $15,000. If you keep it you are out $15,000, but get to keep the piano and it will still do everything you bought it to do it just will no longer be the lastest, greatest thing out there. With the grand you lost $15,000 but you no longer have the piano!

The digitals are getting better and less expensive just as all electronics do. It seems to me that, recession aside, accoustic grand pianos have also come down in price but not the good ones--only the lower tier imports. Due to our devaluing U.S. dollar the better grands are getting higher in price and from what I understand about accoustic pianos (which is not much) there are relatively insignificant changes, to these newer higher priced pianos.

Personally, I don't plan to change my accoustic grand or my digital piano...I love them both! Unless I have a "life-changing event" I plan to keep them and appreciate all that they both offer.

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#1566229 - 11/29/10 07:23 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: sam235813]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: sam235813
note: the big disruptive technology to hit pianos was in the mid 1920s: radio.


I'm sure performing musicians found the piano roll a disruption as well. One day you have a job and the next you're replaced by digital technology - piano rolls!
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#1566240 - 11/29/10 08:06 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Dave Horne]
sam235813 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/08
Posts: 54
Loc: middle america
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
I'm sure performing musicians found the piano roll a disruption as well. One day you have a job and the next you're replaced by digital technology - piano rolls!
not sure, but i think players helped sustain production volume (at the expense of "pianist volume") up through 1960s. rolls were themselves disrupted by digital. the more subtle disruptions to acoustics (post radio) were production technology "improvements" that reduced manufacturing cost. i think global output peaked in 1979 (at around 990,000 acoustic units). by 1992, it fell to around 600,000 with about 95% coming from asia. no real way to account to the secondary market though. i think poster Steve Cohen makes a good projection above.


Edited by sam235813 (11/29/10 08:07 AM)
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1933 S&S A3

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#1566250 - 11/29/10 08:22 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
there are some interesting points being made. ... and yes, I can imagine Glenn Gould on an avantgrand. they have a sterility i think he would enjoy.

sterility in a very in tune, good sense.
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#1566374 - 11/29/10 01:23 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4373
Loc: Jersey Shore
When I'm looking for music on You tube, and there is a list I can see, I always go to the acoustic pianos to listen.

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