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#2011009 - 01/08/13 05:52 AM How do you listen to Pianos.....
Adro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 27
Loc: Northants UK
In my case I play a DP and rarely hear an Acoustic Piano live, in the same room without amplification and delivery through speakers.

I can honestly say that it's been years since I attended a live recital played on a really good instrument.

I generally listen to music through a digital Hi Fi system or headphones on an MP3 player. This means that I'm listeneing to music produced by a processor, amp and speakers doesn't it? I guess this means I may have lost touch with what a Piano really sounds (and feels) like when your actually playing or sitting close to it.

How about you?

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#2011022 - 01/08/13 06:53 AM Re: How do you listen to Pianos..... [Re: Adro]
Hookxs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/13
Posts: 247
Loc: Czech Republic
I have access to an acoustic piano, but for convenience mostly play DP and listen to recorings, like you. Countless times have I heard recordings of splendid performances of Rachmaninoff's C# prelude, but I remember that when I stroke the first few chord on an acoustic, with my unskilled hands and sight reading the music, I for the first time felt that "this is it". And it's not that this piece is any special. So yes, the difference is there and though you probably won't forget what piano sounds like, you may forget what it feels like?

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#2011035 - 01/08/13 07:39 AM Re: How do you listen to Pianos..... [Re: Adro]
bennevis Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4859
I attend classical piano recitals frequently, ranging from student recitals in small rooms where I'm sitting just a few feet from the concert grand - which have always been prepped and tuned just before - and can hear the clicking of fingernails on the keys grin (usually male rather than female pianists), to 3000-seat concert halls where I'm usually in my favorite seat about 30 feet from the stage on the keyboard side. And in case anyone doesn't know, all classical concerts are unmiked and unamplified (except on rare occasions like open-air stadiums). What you hear is just the sound of the piano and the acoustics interacting with it. And that's what I want from my DP too.

I do get the feeling when reading through some people's posts here that some posters prefer an idealised, artificial 'piano sound' which doesn't occur in reality, because they're so used to hearing clinically clear DP sounds devoid of resonances, ambience, and natural interaction between vibrating strings twanging and decaying slowly, bouncing off other strings, the lid, cabinet and soundboard - all of which combine to produce a rather 'muddy' (but natural) sound by DP standards. Which is fine if you're used to, and prefer electronic sounds as from pop music etc, but it isn't actually real.

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#2011046 - 01/08/13 08:06 AM Re: How do you listen to Pianos..... [Re: Adro]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3461
Loc: Northern England.
It`s always going to depend on whether you get the pricey seats at the front, or the cheap ones at the back. (classical concerts)
The back seats give the better sound.

But if your sat next to a jazzman in full flight on a semidecent pub acoustic, (with a pint on top) it sounds good . . .if he knows what he`s doin of course . . . the woodiness comes through. Intermixing with the smell of stale beer . . . it`s a man`s world in there! (ladies most welcome!)
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2011054 - 01/08/13 08:22 AM Re: How do you listen to Pianos..... [Re: Adro]
Adro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 27
Loc: Northants UK
Nice one Peterws. There's something about the juxtaposition of Pub and DP that doesn't feel right. Perhaps it's 'cause they're not beer proof.

Having said that bennevis has a great point and I think I'm one of those who has come to like the clean sound of DP's (albeit with good symp res etc) versus a lot of acoustics that don't have the regular attention and prep that concert instruments do.

I remember some years ago trying an acoustic that had been returned from rental (Yamaha U1) and it just sounded noisy in an ugly kind of way. Sort of gave me the feeling that the whole fabric of the thing was falling apart. I guess it would have sounded a lot better once tuned and regulated, but that was scary. Having it at home in that condition would have felt like a having a big hairy monster that could jump out at me anythime.

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#2011064 - 01/08/13 08:34 AM Re: How do you listen to Pianos..... [Re: peterws]
bennevis Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4859
Originally Posted By: peterws
It`s always going to depend on whether you get the pricey seats at the front, or the cheap ones at the back. (classical concerts)
The back seats give the better sound.

But if your sat next to a jazzman in full flight on a semidecent pub acoustic, (with a pint on top) it sounds good . . .if he knows what he`s doin of course . . . the woodiness comes through. Intermixing with the smell of stale beer . . . it`s a man`s world in there! (ladies most welcome!)


My one and only attendance at a jazz gig (at no less than Ronnie Scott's in London) was unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. No, it wasn't the smell of stale beer. Noone had advised me to bring ear plugs, and I sat with my jazz-mad friends at a table about 8m away from the musicians. The drummer/percussionist appeared to think he was the star, and overpowered the poor piano player at every opportunity (which was basically every second....) and even the trumpeter hardly got a look-in. The decibels made my ears ring for the next 24 hours, even though I had to call it quits after some 20 minutes of that onslaught, and left for the sanctuary of the traffic noise outside. I don't remember whether the pianist was miked on his acoustic grand, but maybe if he'd played on an amplified DP, he might just have made himself heard.

But everyone else there appeared to enjoy the show, so maybe it's just me who think that those people on the stage have never listened to themselves...

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