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#2224435 - 02/01/14 11:50 PM So today I went to play on some pianos...
ChopinLives81 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/04
Posts: 1366
Loc: New York City
Decided to go into the city and see how I play on some nice acoustic pianos, a rare treat for a guy like me who only has a digital. I found out that Steinway Hall rents practice spaces so I started there and then headed over to Faust Harrison Pianos to look at some other brands and also at some Yamaha Disklaviers.

I mainly wanted to try playing the Liszt Legend no.2, Chopin's op.10 no.12 etude and the Op.9 no.2 Nocturne. Here's what I noted compared to how I have to play on my digital:

- I didn't need to use the sustain pedal for many passages unlike my digital, where it's almost required otherwise I get a very abrupt staccato.

- I was able to control and vary the dynamics better especially with each hand. I could very easily play one hand FF and the other PP.

- I could execute an accented marcato with less effort

- Because of the physical components of the key action I could maintain a pianissimo almost dolce sound and touch without the occasional note or chord sounding loud.

On the upside, because my digital's keys are a bit heavy and have a sharp action, playing on some of these acoustics was very easy, they felt very light and I had to really hold back from easily creating a fortissimo. It's been several years since I last played on an acoustic so it's interesting to see what these past few years of practice have yielded. I can certainly play better on one and it's good to know that some of what's holding back my performances is my instrument and not entirely my technique.

I also have to say that I fell in love with a Yamaha G1 Disklavier (at least i think that's the model...lol) over at Faust Harrison, perfect action, feel, and sound for my taste and perfect options for recording myself too.


Edited by ChopinLives81 (02/02/14 12:16 AM)
_________________________
"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
http://www.youtube.com/user/chopinlives81

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#2224502 - 02/02/14 07:16 AM Re: So today I went to play on some pianos... [Re: ChopinLives81]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 799
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Interesting. How much time did it take to adjust and feel comfortable on the acoustic (I mean, to the point that you could produce the sound you wanted)? Was it longer than the adjustment moving from one acoustic to another?
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R

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#2224528 - 02/02/14 09:08 AM Re: So today I went to play on some pianos... [Re: ChopinLives81]
AZ_Astro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 357
Loc: Tempe, Arizona
Thank you for this report. Your experience was illuminating for you, I take it?

"A rare treat" is how I also feel about my (what I call) piano crawling experiences.
_________________________
Kawai KG-5. Korg SP-250. Software pianos: Ivory II, Ravenscroft, Galaxy Vintage D, Alicia's Keys, et al.


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#2224679 - 02/02/14 02:42 PM Re: So today I went to play on some pianos... [Re: jdw]
ChopinLives81 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/04
Posts: 1366
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: jdw
Interesting. How much time did it take to adjust and feel comfortable on the acoustic (I mean, to the point that you could produce the sound you wanted)? Was it longer than the adjustment moving from one acoustic to another?


Unfortunately I couldn't play freely in both locations. The steinway hall room I had was small with two pianos back to back so playing there was rather loud and overwhelming. At Faust Harrison I also couldn't play to my full comfort because it's a showroom, they sell pianos there and there was business going on. I couldn't let loose the way I wanted, but I was able to let loose with the Chopin Nocturne and that took no time at all to adjust.


Edited by ChopinLives81 (02/02/14 02:52 PM)
_________________________
"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
http://www.youtube.com/user/chopinlives81

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#2224694 - 02/02/14 03:12 PM Re: So today I went to play on some pianos... [Re: ChopinLives81]
RondoK511 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/24/14
Posts: 4
Loc: Ohio
I have a similar deal going on!!

I practice with much fervor on a digital piano, a Yamaha... heck, I don't know the numbers.

It's a godsend for me personally to have a decent keyboard in my home, but sometimes in my private musician's conscience, I imagine my Russian friend, an accomplished pianist and teacher, hanging her head in shame as Mendelssohn or Beethoven emits from such an unbalanced machine! It also has very heavy action. Ornamentation is a !%$# to try. I use it to work on sight reading and learn pieces for fun. Sometimes I worry that I am somehow permanently ruining my technique. Granted, I am a hobby-pianist, so there's not much at stake.... but I am passionate about my meager klavier-ing!

Usually, when I play a grand piano, two things happen:

1. I am taken aback by how much easier it is to make a line bold. (Just like you said! FF is very easy)
2. I am suddenly deeply moved, because its like I'm playing for the first time! "So that's what the curious registral extremes in this late Beethoven bagatelle sound like! O M F G"

It creates a kind of funny little issue when I'm teaching a student in their home, and the family owns a nice instrument. I will sit and start to play something, maybe while the student is finishing their dinner, and the #2 thing starts to happen, and I just can't stop playing! And the student, perhaps a young child, just sits and watches, confused as to why their teacher isn't initiating the lesson, while I am lost in another world for a second, hearing these strange sounds.

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#2224698 - 02/02/14 03:20 PM Re: So today I went to play on some pianos... [Re: RondoK511]
ChopinLives81 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/04
Posts: 1366
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: RondoK511


It creates a kind of funny little issue when I'm teaching a student in their home, and the family owns a nice instrument. I will sit and start to play something, maybe while the student is finishing their dinner, and the #2 thing starts to happen, and I just can't stop playing! And the student, perhaps a young child, just sits and watches, confused as to why their teacher isn't initiating the lesson, while I am lost in another world for a second, hearing these strange sounds.


You could just give the lessons for free and play all you want on their piano, at least it's not costing them anything and you get to play a piano...lmao
_________________________
"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
http://www.youtube.com/user/chopinlives81

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#2225274 - 02/03/14 03:44 PM Re: So today I went to play on some pianos... [Re: ChopinLives81]
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1708
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
Originally Posted By: ChopinLives81
On the upside, because my digital's keys are a bit heavy and have a sharp action, playing on some of these acoustics was very easy, they felt very light and I had to really hold back from easily creating a fortissimo. It's been several years since I last played on an acoustic so it's interesting to see what these past few years of practice have yielded. I can certainly play better on one and it's good to know that some of what's holding back my performances is my instrument and not entirely my technique.
Interesting. What's your digital's make/model? It has been a while since I've sampled the digital market, but in my experience, digitals felt lighter than acoustics.
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurücke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

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#2225296 - 02/03/14 05:11 PM Re: So today I went to play on some pianos... [Re: Janus K. Sachs]
ChopinLives81 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/04
Posts: 1366
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Janus K. Sachs
Originally Posted By: ChopinLives81
On the upside, because my digital's keys are a bit heavy and have a sharp action, playing on some of these acoustics was very easy, they felt very light and I had to really hold back from easily creating a fortissimo. It's been several years since I last played on an acoustic so it's interesting to see what these past few years of practice have yielded. I can certainly play better on one and it's good to know that some of what's holding back my performances is my instrument and not entirely my technique.
Interesting. What's your digital's make/model? It has been a while since I've sampled the digital market, but in my experience, digitals felt lighter than acoustics.


I have a Yamaha Clavinova CLP-950. Possibly the best digital ever produced to be honest. I love the touch and feel of it, but I've reached my limit with it. I have played several digitals recently and the newer ones certainly do have a very light touch, but I would take the heavier action of my Clavinova over these newer ones. It feels more precise, however neither the new digitals nor my Clavinova have the same feel as an acoustic.
_________________________
"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
http://www.youtube.com/user/chopinlives81

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#2225328 - 02/03/14 06:17 PM Re: So today I went to play on some pianos... [Re: ChopinLives81]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3331
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: ChopinLives81


I have a Yamaha Clavinova CLP-950. Possibly the best digital ever produced to be honest.


That piano is very old-school! DPs have come a really long way since yours was made. The CLP-950 was great for its time, but it's certainly not anywhere near the best available now.

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#2225383 - 02/03/14 07:58 PM Re: So today I went to play on some pianos... [Re: ChopinLives81]
neuralfirings Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 154
It's funny. I have almost the opposite experience. I feel like I have a lot more control over my digital piano, especially when I'm playing pianissimos, where as long as you press the keys softly, it's guaranteed to make a sound. With acoustics, often you just get silence. It is kind of a cheat with the digitals though. Then again, the acoustics I've been fiddling with are not maintained very well, but I think a good pianist should be able to overcome most pianos regardless of care.

If you really want to have fun playing, I highly recommend touring at the Frederick Collection of Historical Pianos. They offer a tour where they walk you through their entire collection (3 hrs long) of 19th and early 20th century pianos. You can play on the types pianos that Beethoven and Chopin played on. It changed the way I thought about pre 20th century music. I would go when it's warmer though, they don't have a strong heater on in the winter to maintain humidity levels.

BTW, what did you think of the Steinway pianos? It sounds like you got a lot of time with them if you rented a practice room.
_________________________
Notable Scores | My Music Blog

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#2225393 - 02/03/14 08:17 PM Re: So today I went to play on some pianos... [Re: neuralfirings]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4389
Originally Posted By: neuralfirings
I feel like I have a lot more control over my digital piano, especially when I'm playing pianissimos, where as long as you press the keys softly, it's guaranteed to make a sound. With acoustics, often you just get silence. It is kind of a cheat with the digitals though.

It certainly is - that's not the way real pianos behave. And all good digitals allow you to play 'silent' notes.

And there are pieces where the ability to play notes 'silently' is required, and composers make good use of that - e.g., in Schumann's Carnaval (think: what happens when a key is depressed without the hammer striking the strings?)

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#2225453 - 02/03/14 10:02 PM Re: So today I went to play on some pianos... [Re: ChopinLives81]
ChopinLives81 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/04
Posts: 1366
Loc: New York City
I've been very tempted for a long time to buy a baby grand Disklavier, I can probably afford one, but I don't have the space :-/ . So my only option would be to move into a new place by myself and then get the disklavier. So it'll be higher living costs + the price of the instrument :-(


Edited by ChopinLives81 (02/03/14 10:02 PM)
_________________________
"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:
http://www.youtube.com/user/chopinlives81

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#2225504 - 02/03/14 11:46 PM Re: So today I went to play on some pianos... [Re: bennevis]
RondoK511 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/24/14
Posts: 4
Loc: Ohio
Originally Posted By: bennevis


And there are pieces where the ability to play notes 'silently' is required, and composers make good use of that - e.g., in Schumann's Carnaval (think: what happens when a key is depressed without the hammer striking the strings?)


Wait. I heard about this! What piece in particular is that? And where is that at?

The observation about playing softly is right on, this was a huge issue for my early years -- trying to play very quietly and failing to make the hammer strike.

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#2225604 - 02/04/14 06:07 AM Re: So today I went to play on some pianos... [Re: ChopinLives81]
sandalholme Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/31/09
Posts: 744
Loc: Dorset, UK
On a DP, if a note always sounds however softly you depress it, is set the velocity from 2 -127 instead of 1 -127. That way, a soft depression sends midi 1 - no sound, 2 sends the softest sound possible etc.

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#2225608 - 02/04/14 06:29 AM Re: So today I went to play on some pianos... [Re: RondoK511]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4389
Originally Posted By: RondoK511
Originally Posted By: bennevis


And there are pieces where the ability to play notes 'silently' is required, and composers make good use of that - e.g., in Schumann's Carnaval (think: what happens when a key is depressed without the hammer striking the strings?)


Wait. I heard about this! What piece in particular is that? And where is that at?


It's right at the end of Paganini, on the pounding closing chords, where Schumann directs that the next chord should be 'played' ppp while still holding the pedal down, then the pedal released, revealing the ghostly new harmony of the undamped strings, which are vibrating in sympathy with the preceding chord, even though they weren't struck by the hammer (if you do it right).

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