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#2055133 - 03/27/13 02:24 PM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: pianoloverus]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3600
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: theJourney
Why does everyone seem to assume that the successor to the piano would necessarily have to be a digital faux-piano/pretender instrument?
Because technology seems to advance at an incredibly fast rate, and after a very short span of time the digital/hybrid is already incredibly close in sound and touch.


It's not that close, but yes, it's very gradually getting there.

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#2055200 - 03/27/13 04:29 PM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: ando]
johnlewisgrant Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/17/07
Posts: 516
Loc: canada
Excellent question, to which the general answer is easy:

Loudspeaker technology is the hurdle, and it's a BIG one... a HUGE DIFFERENCE ....

Fake pianos are totally real-sounding IFFFFF ... you mean "compared to a real RECORDED piano".

No question. You can't tell the difference between a RECORDING of a real piano and a high end sample... Impossible (wasn't always the case, but it is now.)

But LIVE...LIVE .... LIVE????!!!!

No comparison between acoustic and fake. Because FAKE need LOUDSPEAKERS... which aren't (YET) able to convincingly copy the real thing in SOLO live performance settting.

(But we may be getting there soon. Then all bets are off!)

SORRY TO OFFEND.

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#2055204 - 03/27/13 04:34 PM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: Mark_C]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
You've clearly never heard a £50,000 Bowers and Wilkins setup.

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#2055270 - 03/27/13 06:52 PM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: debrucey]
patH Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 578
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: debrucey
You've clearly never heard a £50,000 Bowers and Wilkins setup.

At that price, you can get a tier 1 acoustic grand piano. wink
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

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#2055302 - 03/27/13 07:44 PM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: debrucey]
johnlewisgrant Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/17/07
Posts: 516
Loc: canada
Originally Posted By: debrucey
You've clearly never heard a £50,000 Bowers and Wilkins setup.


Sure... great RECORDED sound. No question.

But that's the whole point... it's RECORDED, albeit with fantastic sound.

But fantastically real recorded sound is NOT the same as the acoustical/tactile feeling of playing live even on a [censored]-poor instrument.

Not saying that one is superior to the other.

They're just DIFFERENT.

Also not saying that B&W couldn't rig a system up to a properly regulated touch-sensitive keyboard that couldn't completely fool the pianist/player.

But it hasn't been done yet.

Probably COULD be accomplished, though. No reason why not.

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#2055333 - 03/27/13 08:47 PM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: bennevis]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian

Digital technology is (and always will be) hampered by the fact that you are limited to a set of discrete states (binary 0's and 1's at the most basic level). It may work well in a band setting or for folks who don't have room or can't afford an acoustic piano. But so long as there exists concert music that requires expressive depth, there will be acoustic pianos.


All the music we hear is based on the binary system, unless it's live, or on analog recordings on LP or tape, or scratchy 78s.....

The best piano sounds I've heard are on CD: digital recordings of perfectly tuned and regulated concert grands played by master pianists, with the microphones at the ideal distance. Not live in concert, or when I'm playing the piano myself - because I'm not sitting in the ideal position to hear the piano.

So, it's not digital technology per se that limits the sound of digital pianos; it's how it's implemented.....


That's not the point though. All a digital piano does (even a high end one) is play back the SAME sound, possibly with some discrete set of differing volumes if it has touch sensitivity. This comes nowhere near what you can get out of a decent acoustic piano, vertical or grand.

Naturally, a professional recording played through a high end hifi system in a good room is going to sound amazing, but in my opinion, comparing that to a digital piano is apples and oranges. There is nothing about an acoustic piano that digital technology can replace, save for costs of maintenance. And maybe a a cost-effective alternative to a junky PSO.
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#2055337 - 03/27/13 08:54 PM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: Mark_C]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4820
Loc: USA
I brought it up with Debrucey and I'll say it again:

Can the best technology fool you when playing both real and synthetic grand pianos side by side, blindfolded? If you CANNOT tell which one is real and which one is fake, the synthetic piano has succeeded. (but this will never happen)

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#2055345 - 03/27/13 09:19 PM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: Mark_C]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
I disagree that it will never happen. The only way you can say that is if you know what will happen in the future, and you don't. I don't see any conceptual or technological barriers to it happening.

Horowitzian, your understanding of digital pianos is a few years behind.


Edited by debrucey (03/27/13 09:23 PM)

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#2055357 - 03/27/13 09:42 PM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: Horowitzian]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5262
[b]
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian


That's not the point though. All a digital piano does (even a high end one) is play back the SAME sound, possibly with some discrete set of differing volumes if it has touch sensitivity. This comes nowhere near what you can get out of a decent acoustic piano, vertical or grand.

Naturally, a professional recording played through a high end hifi system in a good room is going to sound amazing, but in my opinion, comparing that to a digital piano is apples and oranges. There is nothing about an acoustic piano that digital technology can replace, save for costs of maintenance. And maybe a a cost-effective alternative to a junky PSO.


You were equating the binary number thing with hampering the emulation of piano sound, which I pointed out cannot be true, because otherwise we'd only listen to analog recordings on LP still, and digitally recorded music (which is in binary code) would still sound synthetic. (Granted, there are still a few die-hards who insist that digital recordings are still inferior to analog....).

Also, if you read one of my earlier posts, I mentioned the difference between sampled and modeled digital piano sounds: a sampled sound undeniably always give you the same sound, because it's a recording of a single note; but modeled sounds don't, because they're generated from scratch, depending entirely on how you play, and what's already sounding, and whether the damper is off the strings etc, etc. Therefore, the same note will sound different depending on its context, and not just in volume and overtones.
But at present, there are still only two digital pianos that use pure modeling in their sound generation (though a third one has just appeared from a small company, and is generating some interest over in the digital piano forum).
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2055376 - 03/27/13 10:29 PM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: JoelW]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8898
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: JoelW

Can the best technology fool you when playing both real and synthetic grand pianos side by side, blindfolded? If you CANNOT tell which one is real and which one is fake, the synthetic piano has succeeded.

Well as an organist myself, I am never fooled, and recordings will not count for obvious reasons.

After hearing electronic substitutes in Worcester, Hereford and Chichester cathedrals in the UK -to call out only three which I can currently think of- there is just no way an educated ear could possibly be fooled.

To be fair, the electronic substitutes at Hereford and Chichester were temporary whilst their pipe organs were undergoing a rebuild.
_________________________
Jason

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#2055408 - 03/28/13 12:16 AM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: debrucey]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: debrucey
I disagree that it will never happen. The only way you can say that is if you know what will happen in the future, and you don't. I don't see any conceptual or technological barriers to it happening.

Horowitzian, your understanding of digital pianos is a few years behind.


Perhaps stating that it will "never happen" is assuming a bit too much, so I'll qualify that...

I doubt we will see a digital piano in our lifetimes that will be able to match an acoustic piano. The modeling technology bennevis points out is intriguing, but it is still just that. A model, and it necessarily will be imperfect. Perhaps if someone develops a digital piano that contains a quantum computer. laugh

Also, how is my knowledge behind if there are only 3 modeled pianos on the market? Has sampling somehow become exponentially better during the alleged gap in my knowledge?
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#2055463 - 03/28/13 02:43 AM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: Horowitzian]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: debrucey
I disagree that it will never happen. The only way you can say that is if you know what will happen in the future, and you don't. I don't see any conceptual or technological barriers to it happening.

Horowitzian, your understanding of digital pianos is a few years behind.


Perhaps stating that it will "never happen" is assuming a bit too much, so I'll qualify that...

I doubt we will see a digital piano in our lifetimes that will be able to match an acoustic piano. The modeling technology bennevis points out is intriguing, but it is still just that. A model, and it necessarily will be imperfect. Perhaps if someone develops a digital piano that contains a quantum computer. laugh

Also, how is my knowledge behind if there are only 3 modeled pianos on the market? Has sampling somehow become exponentially better during the alleged gap in my knowledge?


Modeling is not just intriguing. Modeling is US. The world as we know it, including all pianos analog and digital, is nothing more than an imperfect model in our heads. If a Disklavier is playing Gershwin and there is no human to hear it, is there a player piano playing? No. If there is a piano in a showroom on West 57th Street but no human mind to model it as such, is there a piano? No. If the world were to be destroyed by neutron bomb, killing all humans and leaving the buildings and Avantgrands and Steinways standing, then pianos will instantly cease to exist too, despite the specific continued configuration of atoms for a century or too until the elements get to them.

Quantum effects may be implicated in our personal and subjective illusion of consciousness, but it won't take the application of anything so grand as quantum computing to produce a modeled digital piano that eventually can eventually satisfy the expectations that an acoustic piano can today, for a recording studio, for a listener live and for a player.

The question of course is: why would we necessarily want to? What are the specific and compelling advantages of such an approach that would have us relegate the acoustic piano to the junk heap of history (rather than, e.g. to merely supplant accoustic pianos under specific conditions)?

Today I can buy low cost, low maintenance linoleum or plastic laminaat flooring. However, we choose to have natural hardwood floor laid by hand in fish scale pattern, requiring monthly waxing by hand. It is less efficient, but infinitely more satisfying. By the same token, one may be able to buy a grand piano where the sound engine is modeled and sound reproduction is electonic and based on speakers and transducers (while probably still containing a very, very physical and mechanical action). But, other than the fact that TODAY'S MODERN GRAND PIANOS ARE ALMOST ALWAYS TOO DAMN LOUD FOR ANYTHING BUT A LARGE AUDITORIUM, or I might save a few bucks, why would we? Strings, a soundboard, the smell of wood, authentic inharmonicity, etc. -- it is all much more satisfying.

We might consider creating -- as an analog to the famous Turing Test for artificial intelligence proposed by the British war hero Alan Turing who practically single-handedly defeated the Nazis by brilliantly cracking their enigma code before killing himself in desperation after being chemically castrated by his own nation just because he was sexually attracted to men -- the deBrucey test for digital piano prowess.

There are many instances today where hybrid pianos already could pass the deBrucey test in all or some circumstances for many, many pianists. Don't believe it? Just get yourself to a Yamaha showroom and find a well regulated Yamaha C3 Grand with the SH Silent system installed. Play acoustically then play digitally with comfortable, high-fidelity headphones. Get into your playing. Switch back and forth. Many or even most pianists will at some point forget or not be able to tell or not find important whether or not they are playing " live or memorex ".

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#2055469 - 03/28/13 03:22 AM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: Mark_C]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
The fact that a model will be imperfect is irrelevant. It doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be good enough to fool our brains, and that is nowhere near perfect.

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#2055470 - 03/28/13 03:23 AM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: Mark_C]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
You say 'save a few bucks' as if the difference between £1000 and £10,000 isn't a deciding factor for almost everybody.

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#2055487 - 03/28/13 05:42 AM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: theJourney]
sandalholme Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 778
Loc: Dorset, UK
Re theJourney's post. The pianoforte took off, not just because of the ability to alter the volume of sound, but because of its ability to play softly. The harpsichord was relatively loud. What is fascinating is, that having bought a Kawai ES7 which now sits in the same house as a Kawai RX2, one advantage of the ES7 is that it is softer, pp can be much quieter than with the RX2. In other words it is a domestically friendly instrument. On the main topic, I have now recorded a few hours from the ES7 and burned a cd to hear it through good quality equipment. In soft passages, the sound - including resonance/note decay - approaches an acoustic. From mf upwards, the acoustic sound is clearly better. As always with recorded music, the sound varies with the differences between the sound system used.

I refer to recordings because they can be listened to objectively, but they bear out my subjective response whilst playing.

The ES7, or any decent DP, is a great domestic instrument and I have also played it publicly in a small venue - 40 people - and was gratified at their response to the sound.

My conclusion is that the acoustic piano will survive as a professional instrument for concerts/recitals but it will die out as a domestic instrument - a trend which is well under way.

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#2055488 - 03/28/13 05:49 AM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: debrucey]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: debrucey
You say 'save a few bucks' as if the difference between £1000 and £10,000 isn't a deciding factor for almost everybody.


Horses for courses.

If you want today, or in the near future, a modelled, digital piano that can function as a grand piano in a concert hall you will spend the same amount or even more as a commercial grade acoustic piano. There won't be the saving of a few bucks.

If one wants a truly convincing digital piano playing experience in a home instrument -- one that is convincing enough to still the inevitable, relentless hankering for a real, acoustic piano over months and years of playing -- then you may spend a similiar amout, or be forced to buy an acoustic piano with a digital piano built in.

At the same time, due to the miracle of modern manufacturing techniques and global trade, high quality acoustic grand pianos are going down, down, down in price and have perhaps never been more affordable in the history of mankind than they are now.
Originally Posted By: debrucey
The fact that a model will be imperfect is irrelevant. It doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be good enough to fool our brains, and that is nowhere near perfect.

Our brains, as they create our world around us from moment to moment, can indeed be quite easily fooled. However, the more senses that are involved, the more experience we have and the more detailed our expectations, the harder it is to "pull off". All of the senses are involved for the piano player, and, the experienced piano player with 10 to 20 years of playing under his or her belt has quite some sophisticated expectations.


Again, however, I really do question whether what will really happen in the future of musical instrument evolution will simply be that today's grand piano tone and playing characteristics will be eternally immortalized into a whoopdeedoodah digital reincarnation -- like some prehistoric insect presevered in amber -- simply because of the happy coincidence that the piano was the predominant keyboard instrument at the time that the computing revolution could create reasonable facscimiles.

Sure, I love the piano, but do I think that the best that the human race can come up with is to make plastic copies of an instrument that has been around for a couple of centuries, taking pains to duplicate all its inherent mechanical and musical shortcomings and to stop evolution and development in its tracks? I shudder to think that such a reactionary faux-conservatism would be the extent of our ambition and define our long term vision.


Edited by theJourney (03/28/13 06:13 AM)
Edit Reason: typos

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#2055495 - 03/28/13 06:18 AM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: debrucey]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7891
Originally Posted By: debrucey
The fact that a model will be imperfect is irrelevant. It doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be good enough to fool our brains, and that is nowhere near perfect.


I suspect that the fooling of our brain is a fairly shallow kind of fooling. There has been little work done objectively test whether our brains, as players, get fooled over the long term, AFAIK. And I think that "over the long term" matters a lot.

It might be that my brain could be fooled for a week by a digital piano, but not for a year. But at this point, there's no way to even test that, because there's no way to easily disguise the kind of piano one is playing.

I suppose there could be some sort of arrangement where the bodies of the instruments are hidden behind an acoustically transparent but visually opaque screen of some sort, and the test pianists were required to switch back and forth between them over a long period, while logging impressions of how they compared. And you'd need to do it with a significant number of pianists. I don't think there have been any tests like this, so far.

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#2055499 - 03/28/13 06:40 AM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: johnlewisgrant]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7891
Originally Posted By: johnlewisgrant

Loudspeaker technology is the hurdle, and it's a BIG one... a HUGE DIFFERENCE ....



I think you are right that is a major issue.

I've several times had the experience of hearing music that incorporated a synthesizer part within an orchestra of acoustic instruments, and the synth always stuck out like a sore thumb. I always thought the weird "wrongness" of their part was not because of the kind of sounds they were making, but because they were producing sounds through loudspeakers. Loudspeakers simply do not make the air vibrate in the same way that an acoustic instrument does, and it's a perceptible difference. And it becomes very obvious when trying to incorporate a synth into an otherwise acoustic ensemble in a live performance. So far, in my experience, it can't be done without drawing a "hey, this is a loudspeaker" kind of attention to itself.

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#2055501 - 03/28/13 06:48 AM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: sandalholme]
patH Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 578
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: sandalholme
Re theJourney's post. The pianoforte took off, not just because of the ability to alter the volume of sound, but because of its ability to play softly. The harpsichord was relatively loud. What is fascinating is, that having bought a Kawai ES7 which now sits in the same house as a Kawai RX2, one advantage of the ES7 is that it is softer, pp can be much quieter than with the RX2. In other words it is a domestically friendly instrument.

[...]

My conclusion is that the acoustic piano will survive as a professional instrument for concerts/recitals but it will die out as a domestic instrument - a trend which is well under way.

Actually, the fact that digital pianos can play more softly than acoustic pianos (thanks to volume control) will make sure that acoustic pianos will NOT die out.

Because people who perform regularly in public or semi-public places will want to be able to adjust quickly to the acoustic piano they will most likely be playing on. And if they practised on a DP with quiet volume, they will be overwhelmed by the loudness of the acoustic piano, if they play it like a digital piano.

I know that firsthand. Before I bought my Yamaha C2, I had a Yamaha Clavinova CLP-150. And when I visited my parents and played on my father's Sauter upright, I thought: Wow, what a powerful instrument. And I don't even have to play too hard.
Today, I am used to my powerful Yamaha C2, and when I play on the Sauter, I think: Well, it's not a grand piano. It's more neighbour-friendly.

Digital pianos will be first choice for people who play just for their own amusement, never perform in public, and don't have to care about technique. But for more ambitious players, an acoustic piano is still the measure.
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

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#2055692 - 03/28/13 01:48 PM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: patH]
sandalholme Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 778
Loc: Dorset, UK
Set at full volume, the ES7 plays much more softly than the RX2 - when the touch becomes so light the note doesn't sound.

As for technique, never performing in public, and being more ambitious, I have played acoustic pianos and harpsichords in public since the 1970's, including recording for the BBC. 20 years experience of maintaining a harpsichord - tuning, restringing, replacing quills, voicing etc. I doubt I am the only exception to your rule that would rate me as only playing for pleasure, not caring about technique etc.

Digitals and acoustics are different, but do not make the mistake of regarding even moderately priced digitals as only for people who are playing around with the piano, who are not ambitious and who don't care about technique. They may not equal acoustics in some respects, but music can be coaxed out of them, in roughly the same way that music is coaxed out of an acoustic.

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#2055695 - 03/28/13 01:49 PM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: Mark_C]
joflah Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 314
Loc: St. Louis, MO, USA
Another aspect of this is whether 'piano' will become a relic. There's a lot of effort to perfect digital versions of acoustic pianos, with the holy grail taken as an imitation indistinguishable from a high-end 20th century acoustic instrument. It's not surprising, given the refinement of that instrument, the tremendous accumulation of literature for it, and the great cultural investment in piano playing, even for works never written for the piano per se.
The digital/computer revolution opens the way for an infinity of other instruments, played with a standard keyboard or not. It may be that the perfection of the imitation of the acoustic piano is a side show.
_________________________
Jack

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#2055783 - 03/28/13 05:06 PM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: sandalholme]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5262
Originally Posted By: sandalholme


Digitals and acoustics are different, but do not make the mistake of regarding even moderately priced digitals as only for people who are playing around with the piano, who are not ambitious and who don't care about technique. They may not equal acoustics in some respects, but music can be coaxed out of them, in roughly the same way that music is coaxed out of an acoustic.



I'd been playing on acoustics exclusively from age 10 (many, many, many years ago wink ) until three years ago, but can say without any doubt that my technique has improved out of all recognition since acquiring, and playing on a digital grin (from 2010 onwards).

OK, that's not because it's a digital - it's just that I now have a piano to practise on anytime when I'm at home. I'm sure I'd have improved just as much if my piano is a Bösendorfer Imperial (still my dream piano) - but only if I have a mansion to put it in, and no neighbors to worry about. BTW, when I say 'improved', I don't just mean finger dexterity and octave/chord technique: it's all aspects of piano playing, including minute control of touch and articulation, dynamics, voicing, tone color etc.

BUT - I play my DP like an acoustic. The volume control has been fixed to give the volume via my headphones equivalent to that of a small grand. (My DP has no speakers). I've only ever adjusted it once - when I upgraded to a better pair of headphones two years ago, which has slightly higher impedance. I believe a big reason why many people who practise exclusively on digitals never develop (or lose the ability for) proper control of dynamics, tone and voicing is because they use the volume control to do what pianists playing on acoustics have to do using just their own muscles. If you want to play pp without 'silent' notes, how much easier to just turn the volume control down - because you can - than to develop real muscular control. And if you are trying not to disturb your nearest and dearest watching TV in the next room, again far easier just to turn the volume control down rather than use your headphones.....but how can one develop real keyboard control when the goalpost keeps moving?

I see (and hear) these problems from DP users frequently when I visit piano showrooms.
But to blame their technical problems exclusively on their use of DPs (assuming they are of high quality) rather than the way they play on them is wrong.

And IMO, all those additional fun sounds (organ, synth, 'electronic piano' etc, etc) on most DPs just encourage development of bad playing habits - because you're still using the same key action but having to change the way you play, because the sound isn't a piano sound, and doesn't behave like one when you alter your touch.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2055832 - 03/28/13 06:44 PM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: sandalholme]
patH Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 578
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: sandalholme
As for technique, never performing in public, and being more ambitious, I have played acoustic pianos and harpsichords in public since the 1970's, including recording for the BBC. 20 years experience of maintaining a harpsichord - tuning, restringing, replacing quills, voicing etc. I doubt I am the only exception to your rule that would rate me as only playing for pleasure, not caring about technique etc.

Digitals and acoustics are different, but do not make the mistake of regarding even moderately priced digitals as only for people who are playing around with the piano, who are not ambitious and who don't care about technique. They may not equal acoustics in some respects, but music can be coaxed out of them, in roughly the same way that music is coaxed out of an acoustic.

Ok, maybe I was simplifying a bit. My point was that when you set the loudspeaker of the DP too low, then you will play differently than on an acoustic piano. At least that's what I did, and it wasn't good for my technique.

But when you play a digital piano like an acoustic (like bennevis), with comparable volume, then the digital piano can be a serious instrument, if it has a good action. Unfortunately, most digitals are not quite there yet. And those that are cost almost as much as an acoustic piano, if not more. I'm thinking Yamaha AvantGrand, or the lesser known Alpha Piano.

On the other hand, if you play piano AND harpsichord, then maybe you have a different technique than me. I played a harpsichord only a few times, and had a tendency to hack. Maybe I play best on an instrument with not too light action.
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
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#2055842 - 03/28/13 07:03 PM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: Mark_C]
Vid Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/01
Posts: 848
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
Well said bennivis!

I would add that using piano software gives you a much wider palette to work with.

My Clavinova has maybe 6 - 8 samples mapped to various velocity levels (I think it outputs around 100 out of a possible 128 midi signals). When I switched to using pianoteq I found it provided a much larger range in dynamics and color. I could more effectively bring out different voices and believe it has improved my technique considerably.

I hope to replace the clavinova with a much better keyboard (probably a Kawai VPC when I can get my hands on one). I believe combining that with piano software will give me an instrument that is better than most mediocre uprights.
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#2055940 - 03/28/13 11:36 PM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: patH]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1777
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: patH
Originally Posted By: sandalholme
As for technique, never performing in public, and being more ambitious, I have played acoustic pianos and harpsichords in public since the 1970's, including recording for the BBC. 20 years experience of maintaining a harpsichord - tuning, restringing, replacing quills, voicing etc. I doubt I am the only exception to your rule that would rate me as only playing for pleasure, not caring about technique etc.

Digitals and acoustics are different, but do not make the mistake of regarding even moderately priced digitals as only for people who are playing around with the piano, who are not ambitious and who don't care about technique. They may not equal acoustics in some respects, but music can be coaxed out of them, in roughly the same way that music is coaxed out of an acoustic.

Ok, maybe I was simplifying a bit. My point was that when you set the loudspeaker of the DP too low, then you will play differently than on an acoustic piano. At least that's what I did, and it wasn't good for my technique.

But when you play a digital piano like an acoustic (like bennevis), with comparable volume, then the digital piano can be a serious instrument, if it has a good action. Unfortunately, most digitals are not quite there yet. And those that are cost almost as much as an acoustic piano, if not more. I'm thinking Yamaha AvantGrand, or the lesser known Alpha Piano.

On the other hand, if you play piano AND harpsichord, then maybe you have a different technique than me. I played a harpsichord only a few times, and had a tendency to hack. Maybe I play best on an instrument with not too light action.


Are Alpha pianos actually being sold to the public, or is this more vaporware?
_________________________


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#2055985 - 03/29/13 01:21 AM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: patH]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: patH
Digital pianos will be first choice for people who play just for their own amusement, never perform in public, and don't have to care about technique. But for more ambitious players, an acoustic piano is still the measure.


Not so sure about this.

Interestingly enough, some of the biggest boosters of digital pianos on pianoworld are professional and/or very highly advanced pianists...

On the other hand, most of the acoustic pianos being sold by our most successful piano retailer in town are to the families of piano students -- most of whom will never play for anything other than their own amazement (or tortured horror) -- upon the recommendation of their conservative piano teachers.

The Avantgrands, and the Silent C2s, etc. are often being delievered to the professional pianists.

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#2055993 - 03/29/13 01:41 AM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: sandalholme]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: sandalholme
Re theJourney's post. The pianoforte took off, not just because of the ability to alter the volume of sound, but because of its ability to play softly.


No. The problem with the harpsichord was one of not being able to play dynamics beyond the dynamics of using different manuals (terrace dynamics.)

The piano did not proceed directly from the harpsichord but from the gravicembalo col piano e forte or forte piano, which was no longer a plucked instrument but one of leather covered hammers and harpsichord-like strings and which was able to be played with dynamics including very softly but not nearly as loudly as today's pianos due among other things to its volume being limited by the restrictions on string tension predicated by a non-metal frame.

In many respects, the fortepiano was (and again today is) a superior instrument for playing in home environments. It has a light touch which is easy to manage for the legio of aging arthritic pianists, it has much more diversity of sound across the keyboard rather than the homogenous uniformness of the modern pianoforte, it does not produce ungodly volumes wholly unsuited to the home and practive environment to disturb neighbors and permanently destroy one's hearing without active intervention and self-protection like modern pianos, and for those who enjoy playing music from the 18th and first half of the 19th century it is often naturally better suited to the literature than the modern pianoforte.

It is no wonder that the fortepiano is being built and delivered again to pianists.

Now, if we could only have a pianoforte grand piano which was built for its musical qualities rather than an arms race of volume production and auditorium-filling rather like the horrible changes to wines in the international scene under the unhealthy influence of Robert Parker ratings demanding thick, concentrated, fruit-forward, highly alcoholic bombs of wines that win the ratings game but are undrinkable beyond the first glass.

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#2056041 - 03/29/13 05:36 AM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: theJourney]
sandalholme Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 778
Loc: Dorset, UK
theJourney: I agree with practically all you say in your last post except the volume issue. Early pianos were quieter than harpsichords - fact. Yet they caught on. The late English harpsichord makers went to great lengths to modify their instruments with Venetian swells etc - not to make them louder, but to enable them to play more softly, to give pseudo dynamic changes a la fortepiano.

Whilst the piano became the loud instrument of today, able to compete with an orchestra, lack of volume was not an issue originally, indeed, the ability to play softly like a clavichord, but audibly to people other than the player, was prized.

I have played harpsichords for decades - love them - but even the quietest stop produces a penetrating tone. The soft tone of leather on string, almost stroked rather than twanged, must have sounded very sweet to 18th century ears.

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#2056055 - 03/29/13 07:00 AM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: ClsscLib]
patH Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 578
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
Are Alpha pianos actually being sold to the public, or is this more vaporware?

I honestly don't know.
I checked out their website, which says that they are "probably available in late 2011", and that you need to contact them directly; and the website seems to have had its last update in March 2012, i.e. a year ago. And they are not listed as exhibitor for the Musikmesse 2013.

On the other hand, I have not found any articles that say that they went out of business.
I guess the easiest way to find out would be to contact them. If no reply comes, then it's probably vaporware.
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

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#2056057 - 03/29/13 07:12 AM Re: Poll (sort of): Will the 'acoustic piano' become a relic? [Re: theJourney]
patH Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 578
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: theJourney
Interestingly enough, some of the biggest boosters of digital pianos on pianoworld are professional and/or very highly advanced pianists...

On the other hand, most of the acoustic pianos being sold by our most successful piano retailer in town are to the families of piano students -- most of whom will never play for anything other than their own amazement (or tortured horror) -- upon the recommendation of their conservative piano teachers.

The Avantgrands, and the Silent C2s, etc. are often being delievered to the professional pianists.

AvantGrands were the pianos I had in mind for professional pianists. They cost about as much as acoustic uprights.
And a Silent C2 is still an acoustic grand piano. One reason I bought it rather than an AvantGrand was because I wanted to resist the temptation of setting the volume of a digital piano to too quiet.

When I mentioned digital pianos as first choice for piano players without serious pianistic ambitions, I was thinking of digital pianos with a mediocre action, but with lots of gimmicks like different sounds, drum machines etc.. Something like Casio would make; or possibly several product ranges of Yamaha and Roland. I don't think a (semi-)professional pianist would consider these instruments as serious instruments for practise.
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

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