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Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
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#1565087 - 11/27/10 10:23 AM Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter?
Gary Allen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/15/09
Posts: 141
Loc: Tennessee
I am curious if you think that eventually the accoustic piano could go the way of the typewriter, cameras that use film, etc.?

As digital pianos continue to evolve and become more sophisticated is it possible that they could someday replicate the sound of the long strings that make our grand pianos so beloved? Beautiful digital grand piano facades could still be used if an instrument is dominantly for a furniture statement. For those with limited spaces, however, a small cabinent would remain preferred.

Setting tradition aside (and I realize this is no small thing) if a digital instrument could ultimately replicate, indistinguishably, the sound of a concert grand (or any other grand) for a fraction of the cost and offer the versatility that they do, could they potentially someday make our accoustic pianos obsolete????

There have alredy been many individuals, churches and others that have divested their accoustic pianos in favor of digital instruments so perhaps this question is not as far fetched as it may at first seem.

Please know that I personally love my grand piano and am in the process of buying an additional one. I also, however, really enjoy the versatility of my digital pianos yet also know that my digitals do not have either the sound or feel of my grand. That said, however, my spinet-sized digital sounds better to me than any spinet I have heard.

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#1565115 - 11/27/10 10:55 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8582
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Gary Allen
There have alredy been many individuals, churches and others that have divested their accoustic pianos in favor of digital instruments so perhaps this question is not as far fetched as it may at first seem.


I think you are right in your assessment of trends regarding acoustic and digital pianos.

I recently purchased a nice older Yamaha C7 grand piano from a large church that went to all digital pianos. The Yamaha C7 had been neglected and needed some work, but was still a nice piano. I think the primary reason for their decision was because the digital pianos were more practical in terms of the style of music that fit their worship service, which was more new age and contemporary (and amplified).

I don’t see digital pianos taking the place of acoustics any more than electric guitars have taken the place of acoustic guitars.

However, I personally do not think that digital pianos, no matter how advanced, will ever totally take the place of acoustic pianos, at least in homes and concert halls. Churches and schools may be a different story.

Not to brag, but as it stands now, I’d say I can tell whether a piano is an acoustic or a digital just by listening closely (with 99.9% accuracy).

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#1565123 - 11/27/10 11:10 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
no
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1565132 - 11/27/10 11:25 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4381
Loc: Jersey Shore
only if Gyro becomes God...


But seriously' no way...

Even though my Estonia is problematic, I couldn't even go near my old kawai digital.

Acoustics give a tonal and tactile feedback no digital can replace.

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#1565147 - 11/27/10 11:45 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4220
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

There will always be the purist that has a desire to hear the sound vibration of an acoustic instrument.

There will also be the high level concert pianist and concert hall that would refuse to play on or purchase one of those “microwave pianos”.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
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"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1565153 - 11/27/10 11:49 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4437
Loc: San Jose, CA
No.

And, there are still people who use film cameras and typewriters, too. And analog vinyl LP records and tape mastering decks.

There are some good reasons they're still with us, notably the limitations of digital technology and its overhead.

The real reason the word processor decked the typewriter was cost and flexibility, and it was still a long time before printer quality caught up. When DPs can say as much, and can match the quality, including the 'presence' and tactile experience (which none of them can, and are not close to it), well... post again then.
_________________________
Clef


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#1565167 - 11/27/10 12:07 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
jens4711 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/21/10
Posts: 86
Loc: Danmark
Originally Posted By: Gary Allen
I am curious if you think that eventually the accoustic piano could go the way of the typewriter, cameras that use film, etc.?


I think in the very long run, the answer would be yes. As with the film camera and typewriter, a few people will continue to use them for a while, but ultimately they will become rare.

But at the current level of technology, the acoustic gives a much better experience from the PLAYERs perspective, so it will take a long while before the digital pianos take over completely.

In the following I use the term synthesizer as a collective term for all sort of electronic keyboards (including digital pianos), since they share more technology than they differ.

From a RECORDING and popular music CONCERT perspective, I'am afraid, we are already seeing that digital synthesizers are taking over in a big fashion. With todays synthesizers the majority of people can't distinguish music from acoustic versus synthesizers, when the primary source of the sound, is from loudspeakers.

See "Broadway sings blues over synthesizer invasion":
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hgWRFjXMEeZ6C8wOghjExHJ4o-Kg

Synthesizers have so many unique advantages, and the sound will continue to improve, and therefore their use will continue to increase. They will never become real pianos, but from a sound perspective the difference will diminish to become zero at some point, also from a PLAYERs perspective. There is every reason to believe this.

Unfortunately this will also mean that acoustic pianos will sell less, and the price will increase. I do not think they will go away, but they will become rare. And the few there are will also undergo technological changes, as will everything else.

And this is not a bad thing.

If you find this scenery frightening, then just remember that Bach himself was at the very forefront of technology at his time, and that if he had lived today he would probably have embraced electronic synthesizers.

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#1565168 - 11/27/10 12:11 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
No, not if they just duplicate the sound. If they duplicate the sound AND the feel, then they'll have something truly worth considering.

Duplicating the sound includes true & complete duplication of the way a piano pedal behaves, which is apparently quite difficult since no manufacturer has even got "in the ballpark" AFAIK.
_________________________
(I'm a piano teacher.)

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#1565170 - 11/27/10 12:11 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
Bach would most likely have a job playing the most awesome pipe organ in the world, if he were alive today.

he already wrote the music.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01jwhoCY1AI&feature=related

(i absolutely love the sound of this organ.

I was able to play this one a few times in the 70s, when my friend legitimately practiced for services.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9RT3u6KoAE&feature=related






_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1565230 - 11/27/10 01:53 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
PianoMan1958 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 502
Loc: Tennessee
I sure hope not.

Recently I did (2) recording sessions in studios with Yamaha digital pianos. Although they sounded nice on the recordings (and were professional keyboards, not consumer line) I still had some difficulty putting expression on these recordings. Because the final mix included all sorts of other instruments, the piano parts sounded OK; however, when I would come home from one of these sessions and sit down at my Yamaha C5 grand, the fullness of tone and expression it allows was way beyond anything these studio digitals could deliver.
_________________________
Jack in TN

Plays:
Yamaha C5 grand (home)
Kawai KG5 grand (church)
Roland RD300GX digital (jazz group)

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#1565275 - 11/27/10 02:57 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
Clavier Übung Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/23/10
Posts: 26
Loc: Dallas, TX
I think this is an interesting idea from a musicological perspective. As jens4711 mentions, there may be technological advances in the very long run that even the playing field between acoustic and digital pianos.

I happen to play the harpsichord and pipe organ as well as the piano. In fact, I have a harpsichord at home and one at work. I studied harpsichord in grad school. Of course, this was an instrument that was made literally and figuratively obsolete by the piano. However, there arose a harpsichord revival in the early 20th century that continues today. I love my piano, but it can't replace the tone and feel of my harpsichord. It is difficult to realize Couperin on a piano without making musical sacrifices of some kind (although I play it on the piano anyway). I love them both for different reasons.

The same thing happened with the mechanical pipe organ in America. In the mid-1950's, organists began a revival against electric action pipe organs and mushy, symphonic organs, preferring direct linkages and historical sounding tones. Such people were nicknamed 'purists,' and the journals of the day were rife with rather vehement arguments for and against the organ reform movement. Today, most universities and concert halls generally purchase mechanical action pipe organs when such a thing is possible. That was not the case 50 years ago.

Bear in mind that one can still get a degree studying the harpsichord, clavichord, and even the fortepiano. There are people who make a living playing the krummhorn and the sackbut (not very many, but they exist). As long as institutions exist for the continuing study of historical music and instruments, I think there will always be spheres of influence in which the original is always preferred.

The acoustic piano is an incredible instrument, and among musical instruments is unrivaled in that it has remained ubiquitous in one form or another over the last two centuries. I think there remains a fascination with the historical aspects of all instruments, such that people will want to hear the real deal, particularly among the academic and performing set. We may see digital instruments outsell acoustic pianos, and even dominate the market some day. But in my opinion, there will always be a place for study and performance on acoustic pianos.
_________________________
1941 Steinway A-III
1919 Arnold Dolmetsch Harpsichord


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#1565296 - 11/27/10 03:24 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3359
For the professional, I really doubt it. Digital technology becomes obsolete quickly, and most pianists wouldn't put up with that. Plus, a digital instrument would need to have the ability to withstand heavy-duty use, which they currently do not. Even film cameras are not obsolete, yet, especially for pros; it takes about 25MP to equal 35mm film, and to replicate the old-school large format film (still the standard for serious photography) is in the 100sMP.

For the casual player, who would otherwise buy a cheap upright, yes. But if piano manufacturers start designing pianos that require less maintenance (by using composite materials), then maybe not.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1565312 - 11/27/10 03:52 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
as they say, imitation is the best flattery.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1565313 - 11/27/10 03:52 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
onion Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/07/10
Posts: 11
Quote:
I still had some difficulty putting expression on these recordings. Because the final mix included all sorts of other instruments, the piano parts sounded OK; however, when I would come home from one of these sessions and sit down at my Yamaha C5 grand, the fullness of tone and expression it allows was way beyond anything these studio digitals could deliver

Amen Pianoman...I played digitals for 15 years before getting my grand. the digital manufacturers will never be able to replicate the fullness of sound, and especially the SUSTAIN, of a grand piano. I lament every Sunday when I have to go to where our church currently meets and lead worship on a digital piano. We have had even musically untrained people over the house who hear the grand and are immediately struck by the difference. There is and never will be a comparison.
But of course, you can't just pack up and carry a 900 lb. piano either, now can you?
_________________________
Psa 33:3 Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.

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#1565315 - 11/27/10 03:56 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
pno Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/27/05
Posts: 1042
Loc: ♪oron♪o, on♪ario, canada...
A digital would not be replacing an acoustic until the day you could replace your food with batteries.
_________________________
♫♫♫ ♫♫♫
YAMAHA C2M PE

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#1565333 - 11/27/10 04:32 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5281
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
I don't see nine footers leaving the concert hall anytime soon but I do see more and more hybrids (like the AvantGrand) being used for practice pianos for professionals. I also see hybrids as the main piano in restaurants, hotels, and cruise ships as time goes on.

How many piano manufacturers were there in the US 50 years ago? ... 100 years ago? How many today? Bösendorfer (Austrian) was taken over in January 2008 by Yamaha because they were going under. When will Steinway start to have cash flow problems? Who will take over Steinway? Before you start thinking that Steinway will never go under, did you ever think that Bösendorfer would go under? Yamaha can afford to make acoustic pianos probably because they have money from the digital side of the house; just making acoustic pianos seems a risky business today.

Who can afford many multiples of $10,000 for a new grand? I see a great big market in restoring old grands but I see fewer manufacturers of grand pianos in the future.

Hybrids are going to become more and more popular but there will always be conventional grand pianos - just fewer companies that make them though.
_________________________
website

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AvantGrand N3, CP5

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#1565405 - 11/27/10 07:17 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Mark...]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1233
Loc: Ohio, US
Originally Posted By: Mark...


...Acoustics give a tonal and tactile feedback no digital can replace.

Definately, even more so during a power outage.
_________________________
I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.


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#1565410 - 11/27/10 07:25 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewri [Re: Jeff Clef]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3171
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
No.

And, there are still people who use film cameras and typewriters, too. And analog vinyl LP records and tape mastering decks.


I have read that the sales and popularity of vinyl is steadily increased the last few years.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1565447 - 11/27/10 08:25 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewri [Re: Gary Allen]
Aliwally Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/07
Posts: 521
Loc: Washington, D.C.
I am a drummer first, so that question was asked about drums when the electronic drums came out, the drum machines. What we did not know is not only did they replace the acoustic drums, but they (especially the drum machine) replaced drummers. Scary....

Drummers are back in the studios, and acoustic drums are being made the best they ever have. They mix different woods to get different tones, you can spend as much cash on a drumset now than a Grand Piano and that is with no hardware, just shells.

So I think the acoustic piano will come up with some new technology based on the old, Kawai M3 action is a small example, I think some genius somewhere will come up with a soundboard design, scale designs, etc...that was never thought of before....

I feel the acoustic piano will remain, I could never see a symphony of all acoustic instruments having a digital piano perform with them on stage. I heard it has been done though, but I am quite sure that is very rare. So as long as we have classical music, orchestras, yamahas, kawais, steinways, I don't see it happening...
_________________________
Yamaha P-120, Feurich 122

Always look ahead, but never look back. - Miles Davis

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#1565470 - 11/27/10 09:11 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewri [Re: Gary Allen]
BerndAB Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/10
Posts: 545
Loc: Germany
All acoustic pianos will go this way of the typewriter..

Also every electronic piano..

Why? Imagine a "Matrix" world where everybody gets in baby age implanted a tiny microchip in a stainless steel housing, with inductive information transfer and a set of thousands electrodes to stimulate every region in the brain. Then no further seeing is necessary, no hearing, no tasting, no feeling, nothing else but being connected to a serving computer which loads your brain with the impulses wanted..

Even eating and drinking and ..x then will be no longer necessary - stimulation of the proper brain map region will be enough. Maybe if you can pay for this.. who knows? Or will this be for free?
wink

...hrm - one disadvantage (maybe): without ..x mankind will come to a full stop.

Bernd A.B - lucky owner of the last IBM typewriter model
_________________________
Pls excuse any bad english.

D 1877 satin black plain

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#1565491 - 11/27/10 09:48 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: onion]
PianoMan1958 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 502
Loc: Tennessee
Onion,

Thankfully our church still prefers an acoustic grand (we have a Kawai 6'8" which has a very full tone and long sustain), although we use digitals in some of our classrooms and in our church jazz band gigs. If I could carry a grand with me to those gigs, I would and so would the other members of the band. They prefer the sound of the acoustic grand too.

It's good to hear there are other pianists out there who still prefer acoustics. As long as there are enough of us, hopefully there will still be a few companies out there producing them.


Edited by PianoMan1958 (11/27/10 09:50 PM)
_________________________
Jack in TN

Plays:
Yamaha C5 grand (home)
Kawai KG5 grand (church)
Roland RD300GX digital (jazz group)

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#1565499 - 11/27/10 10:07 PM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
Roger Ransom Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/05
Posts: 1281
Loc: SouthWest Michigan
"Never" is a really, really long time. Certainly not in my lifetime, but, never?
_________________________
Laugh More
Yamaha G7 - Roland FP7

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#1565561 - 11/28/10 01:20 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
Pianolance Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 1192
Loc: Nashville, TN
On the surface this is an interesting question, however, I don't think digital paino manufacturers are even 50% of the way there to make an exact copy of a fine acoustic sound, and the way the inovative pace of technology has slowed down, I don't see them makeing a whole lot of progress anytime soon. And as far as durability, my 1927 Knabe is still a first rate instrument at age 83, I have yet to see a digital piano that wasn't in serious need of replacement after 10 years. I would say that digitals are only 10% of acoustic pianos, if that, in terms of longevity. Don't get me wrong, I like digitals for certain applications, but they certainly have their limitations.
_________________________
Knabe 5'2" Louis XV Walnut circa 1927
Very part time piano broker.

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#1565588 - 11/28/10 02:57 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Dave Horne]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3359
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
How many piano manufacturers were there in the US 50 years ago? ... 100 years ago? How many today? Bösendorfer (Austrian) was taken over in January 2008 by Yamaha because they were going under. When will Steinway start to have cash flow problems? Who will take over Steinway? Before you start thinking that Steinway will never go under, did you ever think that Bösendorfer would go under? Yamaha can afford to make acoustic pianos probably because they have money from the digital side of the house; just making acoustic pianos seems a risky business today.


I don't think this is a strong argument. Sure, there were many, many more companies building pianos 50-100 years ago. But, how many of them built world-class instruments? The US companies built a lot of crap, especially after the Great Depression.

As for Boesendorfer, sure they had a lot of debt, but that is likely due to poor management and marketing. Steingraeber, for example, is a profitable company, and their pianos are more expensive than Boesendorfer. It is also important to note that before Yamaha's ownership, an Austrian bank owned it, and before that... Kimball! At any rate, your assertion that Boesendorfer "went under" is simply false. They never even declared bankruptcy.

Steinway is already owned by Selmer, it has also been owned by CBS. And if memory serves me correctly, Steinway was near bankruptcy at one point during the mid 20th century (I believe that I read this in Steinway & Sons, by Richard Lieberman). If Steinway ever actually goes under/ liquidated, it has no one to blame but itself.

The fact is that we are in an exciting time for acoustic pianos. There is a lot of innovation going on, and the overall quality of pianos... especially budget pianos, has never been higher.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1565616 - 11/28/10 05:15 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5281
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
At any rate, your assertion that Boesendorfer "went under" is simply false. They never even declared bankruptcy.

beethoven986, to be accurate, I never wrote that Bösendorfer went under, I wrote that they were going under. They were actively looking for someone to take them over. Had no one taken them over they would have failed though I doubt if the Austrian government would have allowed that to happen.

Interestingly enough Bösendorfer was working on a hybrid piano and I got to play one of the three prototypes. Since they were taken over by Yamaha that project appears to have been shelved.
_________________________
website

mp3\wav files

AvantGrand N3, CP5

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#1565659 - 11/28/10 07:48 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
No.

But I repeat what apple has already said.
_________________________
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
Wheels

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#1565678 - 11/28/10 09:24 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: gryphon]
Art A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/10
Posts: 145
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
One day, through technology, I am sure that a digital can come darn close to replicating a glorious concert grand.

But is that really all it ? If one day you can put on a virtual head set and a body suit and have all your senses properly stimulated is it a replacement for the real thing whether it be driving a fast car or having sex ? No it isn't.

Acoustics aren't going anywhere.... We will always long for the real thing.

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#1565685 - 11/28/10 09:49 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
appleman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 188
You're just as likely to see a person playing a digital piano at a non-classical event or recording studio as a person playing an acoustic piano. The tend away from AP will only continue until they are used in the same situations teams of horses are used, as something traditional.

Eventually, DPs will be in the majority of homes. Uprights for snobs that dislike DPs. Real grands for artists in classical settings and those with money to spend on McMansions, but local scene the DP will rule.

Eventually, piano techs will be as hard to find as pinball techs, forcing even the snobs to head to DPs. The time will come, even if we are not there yet.
_________________________
Dr. Appleman, former NASA engineer, Empire of Earth and B.S. of Ninjutsu at MIT.

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#1565702 - 11/28/10 10:46 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
bluekeys Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 1337
These threads come up regularly and are always interesting. What struck me in reading through this one is that acoustic pianos <i>will</i> some day go the way of typewriters, but it won't be because DPs successfully mimic their tone and touch, it will be because musical tastes change. For several centuries western music has been based on 12 more or less even divisions in the rate at which a vibrating string doubles in pitch. The piano became the cornerstone of western music because it simply and almost exhaustively laid out the building blocks of that music.

But music will change. In a hundred years or five hundred years chromatically based music may be as quaint as Gregorian chants. Moreover, the notion that musical tone should be based on natural vibrations like that of a string or a wooden reed could be just as archaic.

I don't think there's any question that someday tech wizards can build machines that duplicate the sound and feel of today's pianos. The question is will they want to. By then popular opinion may demand something else entirely.

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#1565730 - 11/28/10 11:21 AM Re: Will Accoustic Piano Ultimately Go Away Like The Typewriter? [Re: Gary Allen]
turandot Offline
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Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7264
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: Gary Allen
I am curious if you think that eventually the accoustic piano could go the way of the typewriter, cameras that use film, etc.?

As digital pianos continue to evolve and become more sophisticated is it possible that they could someday replicate the sound of the long strings that make our grand pianos so beloved?


Gary,

The acoustic piano has had a very good ride in the US for more than 100 years. That ride was nurtured for generations by an emerging middle class, a limited selection of options for home entertainment, and a high degree of cultural value attached to the European tradition of classical piano lit. The ride swept along and sustained an axis of small manufaturers of varying competence, piano teachers, tuners, and technicians of varying levels of competence, and commissioned sales personnel who offered the ignorant and/or interested either a degree of specialized prdouct knowledge, a large does of self-serving hooey, or a combination of both.

Take a long hard look at the US today. Is there an emeerging middle class or a dissapearing middle class? Are there a limited selection of home entertainment options or a dizzying array of home entertainment options that offer some sort of connectivity to each other? Is there a high degree of cultural value attached to the European tradition of classical piano lit or a schism dividing the generations who value it and those who find it utterly irrelevant?

Objects of beauty usually endure in one form or another. There is certainly more hope for the acoustic piano than threre ever should have been for the ribbon typewriter with its smudgy print. laborious touch, messy user correction mode, and failure to connect to anything. At its best it was an object of utility, not of beuuty. There is also more hope for the acoustic piano than for the film camera. Even though the acoustic piano connects to nothing, to the user of the instrument it provides much more immediate accurate feedback, and the satisfaction that comes with increased user skill. The pace of life in the US today demands more than a trip to the darkroom or a visit to the one-hour photo developer, both of which can fail to fulfill the creative vision of the user.

Objects of beauty that evoke beauty and create more beauty almost always survive. It is possible, even likely, that sometime in the future there will be a renaisaance of inteerest in an unplugged lifestyle and the joys of solitary music making and creativity unplugged. However, for the time being, look for countries and societies with an emerging middle class such as India, China, and the Asian sub-continent to carry the burden of the acoustic piano forward as their own middle classes continue to emerge and find value in cultural traditions of which they have not been a part..

BTW, the digital piano is not the enemy. It is an object of beauty, contemporary technology, and the worldwide desire for connectivity beyond family, friends.and acquaintances. It has the ability to awaken appreciation of the acoustic piano in those who have no such appreciation. However, it is painted as the devil by those who lack the technology to manufacture it, cannot make a good living selling or servicing it, and teach piano playing skills that do no exploit its musical potential. It is that axis of diehard purist elements fighting for its livelihood that is killing the acoustic piano in the US today. For those elements, the piano is not so much an instrument to create music of lasting value. It is simply a way to make a living.
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