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#2006959 - 12/31/12 09:53 AM One-note tremolos on Digital Piano (Roland FP-4F)
Manolito Mystiq Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/01/11
Posts: 26
Hello there,

I have a Roland FP-4F, as a beginning pianist for over a year now.

There are some pieces I’d like to play that requires one note-tremolos.

This is just a recent example of what I’m talking about:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g60JMPAU2cE&feature=youtu.be&t=23s

The one down bit often mentioned about the 4F is its action. ‘Sluggish’, ‘heavy’, ‘slow’, I’ve heard them all.

Does it just require proper technique / stronger fingers, or is this something that might just not be possible on a keyboard like this one?

My previous keyboard was a non-weighted Roland EM-20, on which I could ‘tremolo pick’ runs like mad! I know that ‘that’ wouldn’t even be possible on a grand, but it feels as if the keys return too slow to be able to gain speed. I can perform one short tremolo run pulse mashing with one finger, though.


Sincerely,

Mano

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#2006964 - 12/31/12 10:03 AM Re: One-note tremolos on Digital Piano (Roland FP-4F) [Re: Manolito Mystiq]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 6091
Loc: Rochester MN
We seem to have a terminology problem here. What you are refering to is called repetition which is, most certainly, affected by the mechanical action of any keyboard instrument.

Tremolo is a slight variation of pitch affecting any given note. A almost synonomyous term is vibrato.

Hope that helps.
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It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2006978 - 12/31/12 10:25 AM Re: One-note tremolos on Digital Piano (Roland FP-4F) [Re: Manolito Mystiq]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17666
Loc: Victoria, BC
Tremolo is also defined as :

"...in piano music, the rapid repetition of a single pitch, a device used mainly in highly virtuosic compositions such as Liszt's La Campanella, where it also occurs in the form of quickly repeated octaves.

The tremolo of strings is also imitated on the piano by the rapid alteration of a pitch and its octave, or of the several pitches of a chord"

Regards,
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#2006979 - 12/31/12 10:26 AM Re: One-note tremolos on Digital Piano (Roland FP-4F) [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Tremolo is a slight variation of pitch affecting any given note. A almost synonomyous term is vibrato.


Repetition is definitely a type of tremolo. I don't think there's any terminology problem here at all, there are just a few different uses of the word:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tremolo
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"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#2007042 - 12/31/12 12:17 PM Re: One-note tremolos on Digital Piano (Roland FP-4F) [Re: Manolito Mystiq]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 6091
Loc: Rochester MN
Interesting - I have never regarded tremelo as equating to repetition on keyboard. With string instruments, it is a different concept entirely. It all depends on the context. Did all of you listen to the performance at the link?

In pianistic terms it reverts to the difference between a trill and a tremolo. The first being the rapid or measured alternation between intervals of a step or half-step. The tremolo is the same but refers to intervals of a greater distance. The octave tremolo on keyboard is the simulation of string player's term in performance on the given instrument.

On other instruments, the use of "tremolo" is most often associated with organ. Be it mechanical or electronic. Vibrato is in the realm of vocalists and instrumentalists.

Bebung, anyone?

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Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2007051 - 12/31/12 12:53 PM Re: One-note tremolos on Digital Piano (Roland FP-4F) [Re: Manolito Mystiq]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I don't think of the video as really being a tremolo. On the piano, I think of single note tremolos as being more like Scarlatti K. 141 or the LH opening of Scarbo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcsRl_LIJHA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBgwk98ZPuI

Going back to the original question in the thread - the problem isn't the action. Most keyboards should be able to handle repeated notes at that speed. The problem is a technical one, made worse by the fact that the piece was never meant to be performed on piano. It was written for a computer, so piano technique was never a concern. As a result, it's technically awkward to play on the piano.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#2007164 - 12/31/12 06:06 PM Re: One-note tremolos on Digital Piano (Roland FP-4F) [Re: Manolito Mystiq]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 6091
Loc: Rochester MN
Kreisler,

As we have furthered this discussion of terminology, I totally agree with what you are saying from a pianists point of view.

My initial response was only based on the info given by the OP. We seem to both agree that the link did not illustrate a tremolo and thus my statement. I responed in simple terms to answer the question about the differences between actions of two different keyboards. If a technical passage could be easily accomplished on one, and not the other, wouldn't you naturally blame the mechanical action?

In reference to the Gaspard or the linked sonata, if I were talking to a pianist, I might very well comment on the execution of the tremelos. With a student, I would explain that a "tremolo effect" is achieved through the means of repetition.

As I stated, context is so important for clarity of communication.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2008659 - 01/03/13 05:38 PM Re: One-note tremolos on Digital Piano (Roland FP-4F) [Re: Manolito Mystiq]
trigalg693 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 523
It's going to be very different on every digital piano except the Yamaha Avantgrands, you have to accept that reality. Try to get time on a real grand piano whenever you can to correct your playing. I have the higher end FP-7F with a slightly more sophisticated action and it's still no good when it comes to quick stuff.

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#2008726 - 01/03/13 08:43 PM Re: One-note tremolos on Digital Piano (Roland FP-4F) [Re: Manolito Mystiq]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10753
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Vocalist chiming in here on the term tremolo. When used in vocal contexts it is an aberration of a proper vibrato, instead of a pitch that wavers, a tremolo repeats the pitch over and over (think: goat).

As for the OP, I think you will find difficulty accomplishing things like this on a digital piano. These are some of the limitations on digital instruments (perhaps not the Avantgrand, which I have never played before), and the main reason why most classical pianists prefer a good acoustic grand.
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#2008731 - 01/03/13 08:47 PM Re: One-note tremolos on Digital Piano (Roland FP-4F) [Re: Manolito Mystiq]
kevinocarro Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/03/13
Posts: 7
Tremolo is a slight variation of pitch affecting any given note.
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#2008736 - 01/03/13 08:57 PM Re: One-note tremolos on Digital Piano (Roland FP-4F) [Re: trigalg693]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4391
Originally Posted By: trigalg693
It's going to be very different on every digital piano except the Yamaha Avantgrands, you have to accept that reality. Try to get time on a real grand piano whenever you can to correct your playing. I have the higher end FP-7F with a slightly more sophisticated action and it's still no good when it comes to quick stuff.


My V-Piano has the same key action as the FP-7F, and I don't find any problems playing rapid repeated notes on it, including that Scarlatti Kk141, or even Ravel's Ondine. The AvantGrand's key action is actually more problematic because it feels heavier and stiffer than that of any real grands I've ever played on, from Steinway D to Fazioli F278.

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#2008759 - 01/03/13 10:11 PM Re: One-note tremolos on Digital Piano (Roland FP-4F) [Re: bennevis]
trigalg693 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 523
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: trigalg693
It's going to be very different on every digital piano except the Yamaha Avantgrands, you have to accept that reality. Try to get time on a real grand piano whenever you can to correct your playing. I have the higher end FP-7F with a slightly more sophisticated action and it's still no good when it comes to quick stuff.


My V-Piano has the same key action as the FP-7F, and I don't find any problems playing rapid repeated notes on it, including that Scarlatti Kk141, or even Ravel's Ondine. The AvantGrand's key action is actually more problematic because it feels heavier and stiffer than that of any real grands I've ever played on, from Steinway D to Fazioli F278.


I know, and I've played a few V pianos before. The problem is not that it can't play quickly, it definitely can. The problem is that it behaves VERY differently from a real acoustic grand, and when you have to play the piece for an audience, it's usually on an acoustic grand. I could play Chopin op.25 no.6 very fast on my FP-7F no problems, but then I tried it on a grand piano and all the thirds fell apart.

The other situation where the digital action feels very different is when playing powerful chords/octaves. A real piano's mechanical advantage changes a bit as the key travels down its stroke, and when you play powerfully, that last bit of key travel matters.


Edited by trigalg693 (01/03/13 10:14 PM)

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#2008850 - 01/04/13 05:28 AM Re: One-note tremolos on Digital Piano (Roland FP-4F) [Re: trigalg693]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4391
Originally Posted By: trigalg693
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: trigalg693
It's going to be very different on every digital piano except the Yamaha Avantgrands, you have to accept that reality. Try to get time on a real grand piano whenever you can to correct your playing. I have the higher end FP-7F with a slightly more sophisticated action and it's still no good when it comes to quick stuff.


My V-Piano has the same key action as the FP-7F, and I don't find any problems playing rapid repeated notes on it, including that Scarlatti Kk141, or even Ravel's Ondine. The AvantGrand's key action is actually more problematic because it feels heavier and stiffer than that of any real grands I've ever played on, from Steinway D to Fazioli F278.


I know, and I've played a few V pianos before. The problem is not that it can't play quickly, it definitely can. The problem is that it behaves VERY differently from a real acoustic grand, and when you have to play the piece for an audience, it's usually on an acoustic grand. I could play Chopin op.25 no.6 very fast on my FP-7F no problems, but then I tried it on a grand piano and all the thirds fell apart.

The other situation where the digital action feels very different is when playing powerful chords/octaves. A real piano's mechanical advantage changes a bit as the key travels down its stroke, and when you play powerfully, that last bit of key travel matters.


I actually learnt those pieces (and a lot else) exclusively on my V-Piano, then some months later, when the opportunity arose, played them on a Fazioli F278 in the showroom, and had absolutely no problems reproducing exactly what I did back at home on my DP. Acoustic pianos vary enormously: I remember a renowned concert pianist commentating at the Leeds Piano Competition some time ago, where for some odd reason, many of the semi-finalists chose to play Ravel's Gaspard - and were making a hash of it, obviously struggling with the piano (Steinway D), and several complained about it. That pianist (Paul Crossley, who's recorded the complete Ravel solo piano music) decided to try the piano out himself and said that it was absolutely impossible to play such a piece on that piano because it was too heavy in its action.

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#2009148 - 01/04/13 09:35 PM Re: One-note tremolos on Digital Piano (Roland FP-4F) [Re: bennevis]
trigalg693 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 523
Originally Posted By: bennevis

I actually learnt those pieces (and a lot else) exclusively on my V-Piano, then some months later, when the opportunity arose, played them on a Fazioli F278 in the showroom, and had absolutely no problems reproducing exactly what I did back at home on my DP. Acoustic pianos vary enormously: I remember a renowned concert pianist commentating at the Leeds Piano Competition some time ago, where for some odd reason, many of the semi-finalists chose to play Ravel's Gaspard - and were making a hash of it, obviously struggling with the piano (Steinway D), and several complained about it. That pianist (Paul Crossley, who's recorded the complete Ravel solo piano music) decided to try the piano out himself and said that it was absolutely impossible to play such a piece on that piano because it was too heavy in its action.


Yea I learned a bunch of pieces on my FP7F and what I find is that when I go to a heavier actioned grand piano I get thrown off REALLY bad, whereas a lighter piano I can adjust quickly, but I can never get over the weird feeling, at least not for like 30 minutes.

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#2009650 - 01/05/13 07:22 PM Re: One-note tremolos on Digital Piano (Roland FP-4F) [Re: Manolito Mystiq]
cotte Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/13
Posts: 21
I'm interested on OP's question too. The FP4F or any other DP reviewed as "sluggish, slow, keys don't pop up quickly enough etc etc" How would you say affects your playing?. Is only a matter of getting tired faster?, having to press the keys with more strength?. Is it a matter of responsiveness?

I'm not a very trained piano player, I'm light years away from playing Ondine or the Scarlatti. I'm in fact more of a guitar player. But I have been gravitating more and more to the keys in the past 2 years. So I would like to hear the opinion of a more experienced player than myself on this subject. I currently own a Korg 170s and I am interested on the Roland FP4F

Cheers.
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#2009656 - 01/05/13 07:27 PM Re: One-note tremolos on Digital Piano (Roland FP-4F) [Re: cotte]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10753
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: cotte
I'm interested on OP's question too. The FP4F or any other DP reviewed as "sluggish, slow, keys don't pop up quickly enough etc etc" How would you say affects your playing?. Is only a matter of getting tired faster?, having to press the keys with more strength?. Is it a matter of responsiveness?

I'm not a very trained piano player, I'm light years away from playing Ondine or the Scarlatti. I'm in fact more of a guitar player. But I have been gravitating more and more to the keys in the past 2 years. So I would like to hear the opinion of a more experienced player than myself on this subject. I currently own a Korg 170s and I am interested on the Roland FP4F

Cheers.


FYI, I think the FP-7 has a much better feel. I haven't noticed the same sluggishness and I don't recall not being able to repeat notes quickly on it. It may simply be a limitation of that particular model, as I have heard criticisms of the FP-4F's feel. You may want to check out the digital piano forum as well for info on different DP models.

If the keys are "sluggish" then they won't return to a position where they can be repeated fast enough, resulting possibly in a single note sounding, and the repetition having to be played slower in order to be audible. It's not really an issue of getting tired, I don't think, as the problem isn't the weight of the keys.
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#2009671 - 01/05/13 07:43 PM Re: One-note tremolos on Digital Piano (Roland FP-4F) [Re: cotte]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4391
Originally Posted By: cotte
I'm interested on OP's question too. The FP4F or any other DP reviewed as "sluggish, slow, keys don't pop up quickly enough etc etc" How would you say affects your playing?. Is only a matter of getting tired faster?, having to press the keys with more strength?. Is it a matter of responsiveness?

I'm not a very trained piano player, I'm light years away from playing Ondine or the Scarlatti. I'm in fact more of a guitar player. But I have been gravitating more and more to the keys in the past 2 years. So I would like to hear the opinion of a more experienced player than myself on this subject. I currently own a Korg 170s and I am interested on the Roland FP4F

Cheers.


I've not played the FP4F myself, so can't comment on its action in relation to the FP7F or V-Piano. But I doubt it's a problem with the key return. Acoustic piano actions can be heavy and/or stiff which make fast trills and repeated notes difficult or impossible but that's not usually a problem with digitals - but the lower end digitals may only have two sensors which means that the key has to return to the fully up position before you can repeat the note again, otherwise the sensor won't be triggered so pressing the key down again won't sound. (This is a problem with acoustic uprights, but for purely mechanical reasons). In grand pianos, and the higher-end digitals with three sensors, you can repeat the note before the key has fully returned.

You might want to pose this question in the DP forum - there're many people there who have played both the FP4F and FP7F and can give you a definitive answer about the sensors etc.


P.S. I read that the FP4F also has three sensors, in which case you shouldn't have any problems with fast repeated notes assuming your technique is up to it. Apparently, most (but not all) people think that the FP4F action is heavier (and even sluggish) than that of the FP7F. Best to check it out for yourself - remember that your perception of key weight etc is influenced also by the sound, so switch the DPs off if you just want to check out the key action and weight and 'stiffness' per se.


Edited by bennevis (01/05/13 08:41 PM)
Edit Reason: addendum after reading some DP posts

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#2009738 - 01/05/13 10:10 PM Re: One-note tremolos on Digital Piano (Roland FP-4F) [Re: Manolito Mystiq]
thomwalao Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/05/13
Posts: 6
where it also occurs in the form of quickly repeated octaves.
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