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#604416 - 01/29/07 05:25 AM Digital is the way forward?
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
This weekend, my son, almost 10, decided to play my digital piano. He has successfully ignored my acoustic grand piano for most of his life, but the recent arrival of a Yamaha CLP280 - with its various knobs and buttons, is much more interesting.

He figured out for himself (being male he does not use the instructions) how to do recordings. How to record multiple voices in one pass (I did not know it could do that), and how to record left and right hand separately.

I taught him by rote to play "doh a deer" (or whatever it is called) from The Sound of Music. Four different left hand triad chords and a simple right hand melody.

He had the whole thing recorded, at tempo and sounding pretty good really, within 90 minutes.

There is no way on earth that I would have got him to spend 9 minutes, let alone 90, on the acoustic grand.

I am beginning to see why digital pianos are gradually taking over from acoustic instruments. They are getting so close to a proper piano sound and feel, and they are so flexible as well. It was an interesting learning experience for me.

Adrian
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#604417 - 01/29/07 11:35 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13792
Loc: Iowa City, IA
It's an interesting observation, but it's one that's been made since the 1970's. Many people believed that electronic instruments would take over back then, but here we are today three decades later and the good ol' acoustic piano is very much alive and well.

Digital pianos are important and wonderful, but they'll never "take over."

\:D
_________________________
"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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#604418 - 01/29/07 11:43 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
it may never take over acoustic, but more people in the world will be playing digital pianos than acoustic pianos in next 5-10 years, as digital technology improves. it's my guess at least.

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#604419 - 01/29/07 11:43 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1549
Give me an acoustic any day..digitals are good if you want to do a one man band type thing..

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#604420 - 01/29/07 11:44 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
ecm Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 1276
Loc: Republic of Macedonia
Kreisler, that's so true.
No digital will ever be the same or take over an acoustic. Yes, digitals are close, but I am speaking from my own experience. I practiced for years on Yamaha p-80 and some other clavinovas, and finnaly December 2006 I bought an upright Petrof from 1973. I couldn't even imagine how big the difference was when I had that clavinova.

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#604421 - 01/29/07 12:27 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
MooGoo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/06
Posts: 244
No digitals will ever be the same as an acoustic. This is true.

But it cannot be denied that digitals have a great deal of advantages over acoustic pianos. As time goes on, digitals will get ever better while acoustic pianos stay stuck in the late 19th century.

I liken the situation right now to video game emulator software. In the beginning, the emulators were a poor substitute for playing the game on the original machine. They were too slow, the music didn't sound right, many of the graphics were missing or corrupt, and so on. As time went on, and computers got more powerful, these problems went away. Now many emulators can play a game in an almost 100% similar way to how the original machine would. But they also have features that could never be had on the original. Save states, graphics filters, Internet play, etc.

Eventfully the minor difference between the emulator and the real thing will be far outweighed by all the extra options afforded by the emulator. Only the most stubborn and nostalgic players will still demand the original, and at some point, it will be doubtful whether they can actually tell the difference, or if they are just being fuddy-duddys. It's a moot point, as those stubborn few will soon die out anyway.

It's the same for the piano. Except that, as long as you are just playing classical music, an acoustic will always suffice, as the music as written has no need for extra abilities.

But imagine what composers like Bach would have written if they could have laid their hands on the high tech digital pianos we have today. The ability to add vibrato to the piano tone is powerful enough in itself. Even more so, the ease of using different tuning systems, at the flick of a switch. In the baroque era, harpsichords had multiple manuals, organs had many stops, all in the desire to slightly alter the sound of the instrument. With a digital piano, that ability is infinite. The possibilities truly are endless.

Yet we seem stuck in the backwards view that every single blotch of ink on sheet music is sacrosanct, and to ignore or change any of it even in the slightest is blasphemy (yet at the same time no one minds substituting the modern piano any time any music calls for a keyboard part). We forget that past composers often modified their scores, played them on different instruments, and improvised around them, and were expected to.

I don't deny that the tone and feel of a grand piano is superior to that of a digital. But I can't ignore the tremendous advantages a digital possesses, which will become more important as the rigidness of classical performance dies down (I believe it will), and performers learn how to be free, be creative, and have fun again, even with the classics.

I also believe that in another 50 years, even the most stubborn pianist will be hard pressed to tell the difference between an acoustic and an electric in a blind folded test.

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#604422 - 01/29/07 12:41 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
Moogoo:
It's the same for the piano.[/b]

I'm not sure that your analogy is really appropriate. Video game emulator software was merely trying to imitate other (proprietary) software of what was basically just another computer. Getting a bunch of pixels in the right place at the right time on a screen is not at all the same challenge as reproducing the complex waveform of a piano via samples and speakers, not to speak of emulating the user interface and interaction with the instrument, regardless of how complex and effective the acoustic modelling might be.

Just my 0.02 CHF, obviously \:\)

-Michael B.
_________________________
There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.

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#604423 - 01/29/07 12:50 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
I also usually prefer to play my acoustic grand rather than the digital Clavinova.

But the digital does seem to be attractive and motivational for children (I talked to the music director at my son's school about this today, since we bumped into each other and she said that in a teaching environment, especially for group lessons, digital pianos are very useful).

It is easy for us pianists to be critical of digital instruments, especially if we do not have much experience of the latest models. Indeed I was critical. But the latest instruments, with very good action simulation and pretty good sampled sounds, really are getting close to acoustic instruments. It is becoming harder and harder to dismiss digitals.

And they have other advantages. I have taken a liking to some organ works that sound really hopeless on piano but which the Clavinova produces very well. And the recording function is incredibly quick and easy - a good practice tool.

Adrian
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#604424 - 01/29/07 12:53 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
MooGoo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/06
Posts: 244
 Quote:
I'm not sure that your analogy is really appropriate. Video game emulator software was merely trying to imitate other (proprietary) software of what was basically just another computer. Getting a bunch of pixels in the right place at the right time on a screen is not at all the same challenge as reproducing the complex waveform of a piano via samples and speakers, not to speak of emulating the user interface and interaction with the instrument, regardless of how complex and effective the acoustic modelling might be.

Just my 0.02 CHF, obviously \:\)

-Michael B.
Emulating a piano is obviously many orders of magnitude more complex than emulating a SNES. And fundamentally different, as you correctly note.

But my point with emulators was, is that the differences between the real machines and the emulators at this point are so vague and ambiguous, that most of the time it comes down to something like, "It just does not feeeeel right". Which could be only because there's not a light grey box with a cartridge sticking out of it sitting in front of your 13" TV.

Digital pianos are not at that point yet, but they will be, and relatively soon.

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#604425 - 01/29/07 01:01 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
gabytu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 1522
Loc: Portland, Or.
Ajb, I agree with the others that digitals are unlikely to replace acoustics. However, something else occurs to me. If your son really enjoys playing on the digital, it can serve as a great introduction to serious piano playing. He can start on the digital, and then hopefully graduate to an acoustic. Gaby Tu

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#604426 - 01/29/07 01:35 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
bach1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/25/06
Posts: 94
Loc: pismo beach
Digitals are also good for recording. I saw a photo of the jazz pianist great Oscar Peterson in his recording studio in his home and it showed him using digital pianos along with recording equipment. If digitals are good enough for him should need I say more?

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#604427 - 01/29/07 02:59 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13792
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I also think it's a matter for the right tool for the right job. Especially in ensemble situations, if the rest of the band is playing acoustic instruments, then using a digital piano makes no sense. On the flip side, if you're playing in a group with an electric bass, guitar, drums, and an EWI, then an acoustic piano would probably sound out of place.

There's a sense in which comparing acoustic and digital is an apples to oranges thing.
_________________________
"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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#604428 - 01/29/07 07:22 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4977
Loc: boston north
Why is a digital compelling?

It's a new toy. A computerized toy. With gimmicks and gadgets.

No, that is not a put down. Just an observation.

I have been through the home theatre organ and even the Baldwin Fun Machine and all the sister products... With all their gimmicks of instruments and background drums.

They were a great way to get people interested in playing music - fast.

They have now been replaced by digital pianos.

They have their place for sure in the music world.

Your son is the perfect example.

On the other hand, for those needing something to transport; needing something miked; a recording machine; headphones; silent features; and something to play that does not cost as much as a good acoustic - enjoy them for what they are.

LL
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#604429 - 01/29/07 08:34 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Iain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/06
Posts: 545
Loc: London, UK
"No digitals will ever be the same as an acoustic. This is true."

Not singling out any post in particular, but this thread sounds EXACTLY like the old computer chess story. About how no computer could ever be made to beat humans in chess because the computer is just so limited! (Nobody doubts now that computers are at least as good as our best and probably much better.)

I certainly agree that no digital piano comes close to the richness of sound of an acoustic grand, however, consider the absurd amount of progress achieved in this area just in the last 20 years or so! I would presume to say that digitals are now several hundred percent better (on some kind of scale) than they were then.

I don't have the heart to tell my student (who is a casual player) that he probably wasted his money on an upright piano that was close to double the price of a decent digital. This piano will be a continuing drain on his wallet, as it is not a great one and already needs work and tuning, where a digital's only running cost is the electricity. (My rent is inclusive!!)

The point is, a beginner casual pianist will notice very little difference in his/her playing when playing on an acoustic or digital. The vast majority of pianists are casual.

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#604430 - 01/30/07 12:38 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
As a professional photographer, I can tell you that many of us thought that digital imaging would never replace film. But, as a practical matter, and even though Kodak film is available in a few drugstores, digital has replaced film.

I think it will take significantly longer with digital pianos though, because of the nature of the classical music community. Classical musicians make a deep bow to the past--more than any other artistic endeavor, it seems to me. We like our violins old. And what was good enough for Beethoven, or Schubert or Brahms is good enough for us. Ever notice how some ads for used pianos stress the age of the piano, as if an old piano is better than new. "For sale: 1913 grand piano, original ivories." That sort of thing.

So I think there will be some residual resistance to digital, even if they are superior to acoustics.

Photographers are more geeky by nature, and love technical advancement. So digital caught on more quickly.

Tomasino
_________________________
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10


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#604431 - 01/30/07 01:45 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
Who once spoke about the perfect imperfection of the sound from an accoustic piano?

Certainly there will be place and use for both cathegories. Remember - without power supply you cannot use any electric devices!

The action respons of a digital can be made ideal, i. e. better than on an accoustic, because there are no physical restrictions. The sustain and resonance will allways be more complex and thrilling on accoustic pianos.

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#604432 - 01/30/07 01:52 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Horace Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 505
I think a decent digital (like a yamaha p90) with a good pair of headphones is better for the vast majority of people than most uprights. The digital plays fine, the keys are weighted so you don't really have much of a recalibration procedure when you play a real piano. Never out of tune, can play any time of night or day regardless of other people, can record yourself, record one hand and play the other, all that. As a practice aid I believe the benefits of all that outweight the small hit you take in expressive power - but even then you might conside a digital to be "high altitude training" where if you can make good music with it, you sound even better on a real piano.

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#604433 - 01/30/07 03:08 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Bill Finn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/05
Posts: 86
Loc: Florida
I believe digital keyboards are a new instrument altogether, like a modern version of the old Thomas electric organ. The fact that they have acoustic piano samples in them and can seemingly mimic a piano doesn't really make them a piano.

I own both a digital keyboard and an acoustic one. And I can appreciate the uses of both, but they are different. Yes, I agree, the digital is a good way to interest children in music lessons.

Things I like about my digital keyboard:

It's fun and really great entertainment. I can make it sound like I'm a mariachi band if I want.

I can easily record what I play.

You don't have to pay to have it tuned.

It can play computer midi files.

You can make it sound like thousands of other instruments.

You can use headphones and not both anyone else.

The weighted action is nearly like a real piano.


Things I don't like about it:

It's currently broken, something in the pedal settings causes the sustain to remain on all the time. And the repair technician can't seem to find the trouble. Since my particular brand of keyboard is no longer being made and the company that made it completely dropped the line, there is is no longer any support.

It's flawed for playing any serious classical or jazz music. It doesn't have the decay time of the note and so is pretty useless for playing so many pieces (e.g. Debussy).

It's more expensive than an acoustic upright.

You can't play it when the power goes out. ;-)

I do think they will compete in a lot of homes for the same buyer that used to buy an upright piano. But by and large, the guitar has today already replaced the keyboard for most kids.

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#604434 - 01/30/07 03:45 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
TheMadMan86 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 341
Loc: Evansville, Indiana
there is a reason we like our old violins in alot of cases they play amazingly well and they are made to last. I agree the keyboard is a different instrument all toghert form the piano. I am a classical muscian training in a conservaotyr, but befoer i got serious intoclassical*about 3-4 years ago at about 16* i playe keyboard for rock bands. I had a yamaha clavinovaa now i have a petrof upright though its at home and since im at school ive been playing on a boston. Either way the way i used a keyboard was totally different from how i use a piano. The same way that and organ is differen from a piano. i believe u can right classical music for keyboard but it would not be a piano solo the keyboard has bells and whistles. Of course im thinkingmore of the synth sounds and waht u can do with them

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#604435 - 01/30/07 03:46 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
TheMadMan86 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 341
Loc: Evansville, Indiana
anyway i apologize for my typing its really late and im just plane worn out

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#604436 - 01/30/07 06:20 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
Adrian and all,

I see the merits of the Digital and I did have a Digital Hammond organ for some years. I realized the danger of being lulled into a tranquil situation but was always back on the acoustic grand very quickly,for I knew the danger of loosing the touch required for an acoustic. Sold the Hammond 20 years ago.

It's also,I fear,a 'tool which will fool' by that statement I mean; I have many times thought whilst listening to clips of our member's musical abilities, what a fantasic acheivement in X number of weeks to produce such piano playing.....but I then looked up their profile and found they were on a digital device.

And another aside. We were on the Cruise ship 'Minerva ll' just before Christmas and on the two dance bands with different pianists, they used a keyboard device on top of the music desk (Yamaha acoustic pianos)playing the left hand chords on the acoustic, and the right on the digital which played sounds of music other than piano, this was in short bursts during one 'number' not as a standard part of the band, but an add on.

There were 5 of these Yamaha grands on board, one, the full concert grand and others smaller. I was allowed to play the one in the dining room between mealtimes.

Anyhow I will never succumb to playing digital (unless for silent practice with ear phones)as I value my rather mediocre ability to play the real pianos and have not acheived my goals.

The digital era is here and it has it's place but I feel it is like having automatic dummy drivers in race cars, with all the current technology they can now just about do that.

I fear the days of 'art of the piano' are rather threatened by the digital advances. Just a few emotions.

My I suggest that if you have a child prodigy that they only use the digital as second to the acoustic. And will teachers always use acoustics, as will exams too?

Alan.

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#604437 - 01/30/07 06:49 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
TheMadMan86 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 341
Loc: Evansville, Indiana
lol it feels as if us pianists are always threatened when it comes to our end. I heard in highschool a teacher was saying the piano is obsolete instrument anymore. oh well if we have to go out, lets go out fighting or playing

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#604438 - 01/30/07 07:43 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
Hello Alan, I do take your points. However, I am not interested in the automatic features that some digitals have. The one I chose has an action with weighted keys and a mechanism very similar to that on an acoustic grand - I have played it a lot now and I really feel that the action is not detrimental to my acoustic touch. In fact quite the reverse actually, I have a suspicion that I am becoming more sensitive to exactly how I depress the keys.

It (CLP280) also has very few gadget features (these were of zero interest to me) as it is aimed at pianists, so it does have good quality piano sampling.

I think that the top end digitals have a useful place for us pianists. It was essential when I was in Switzerland as an acoustic piano would fill all four floors of the house because of the unfortunate (and unforeseen) acoustics of that building.

They are very useful when quiet practice is a necessity for domestic harmony! In my case I am working on some long (e.g. 63 pages) and quite difficult (for me) pieces and there is a limit to the willingness of my very tolerant partner to listen to my practice of difficult passages over and over again.

Kind regards

Adrian
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#604439 - 01/30/07 08:20 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4977
Loc: boston north
 Quote:
Originally posted by Bill Finn:


You can't play it when the power goes out. ;-)

[/b]
Funny!
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#604440 - 01/30/07 09:00 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18075
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by TheMadMan86:
there is a reason we like our old violins in alot of cases [/b]
[snip]
... and sometimes we like them out of their cases, too! \:D

Cheers!
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#604441 - 01/30/07 09:21 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
Adrian, I see your viewpoint and have to agree that the signs are,probably both is the route. I have considered this matter for a while. Plus I think the old Hammond digital organ was well beyond today's technology.

I do get frustated if I cannot play the Bosendorfer when my wife wants to watch something on the TV in the drawing room. I would have the digital in the office upstairs near the Computer.

Will be thinking hard about the idea. I have a grandson who plays the violin and says he intends to have piano lessons too.

Kind regards,

Alan

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#604442 - 01/30/07 09:51 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1549
thats my only wish on an acoustic piano..headphones!

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#604443 - 01/30/07 03:41 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
Somebody watching the TV should not disturb a pianoplayer and vice versa!

Why must the TV be in the drawing room? Have a TV in your bedroom, or furnish a special home cinema in your basement, with all surround devices, and also with headphones.

Nevertheless, for silent playing, if you do not want that anyone else hear what you are playing/training, a stage model digtal with good headphones, standing on somethingelse than a X-rack, and a separate music desk is the best solution. It is very flexible - you can carry it everywhere where you get electricity.

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#604444 - 01/30/07 04:10 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
op30no3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/29/07
Posts: 360
Loc: Rochester, NY
For a pianist focused on tone and articulation, the digital piano simply cannot cut it. A digital piano cannot tell what part of the finger you used to hit the key, but the acoustic can. On an acoustic, it makes all the difference in the world. I speak for myself when I say that I would go crazy trying to get a singing tone out of a digital piano and then try to get a pizzicato sound and not be able to tell the difference. If that were the way things were going to be, I just might die right then and there.
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#604445 - 01/30/07 04:16 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
Jan-Erik,

Thanks but, I have my wife here who has a say in the matter and I cannot send her out of the drawing room nor can I really afford to have a studio built on the side of the house although there is room. We have no basement.

Most of the time she is cooperative but when the situation is I want to play, a digital in the office would be good and they have some extra features that would be useful to my practice and certainly recording would be a big help too.

All the best to you,

Alan

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#604446 - 01/30/07 04:20 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18075
Loc: Victoria, BC
 Quote:
Originally posted by op30no3:
For a pianist focused on tone and articulation, the digital piano simply cannot cut it. A digital piano cannot tell what part of the finger you used to hit the key, but the acoustic can. [/b]
Quite the contrary, the acoustic piano can't "tell" which part of your finger you used to strike the key, nor whether you even used your finger or a pencil or a plumber's wrench.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#604447 - 01/30/07 04:53 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
Bruce - you said succinctly what I was thinking!

A piano key is merely a lever. It is depressed and releases a hammer. It responds to the velocity of depression but that is it. Nothing more! There is nothing magic about pianos, whatever some pianists may like to believe. They are merely percussion machines with a lump of felt hitting a string.

An upscale electronic piano key is also a lever, and electronics recognise the rate of key depression and interpret that to produce a range of sounds. The range depends upon how many samples are programmed in.

If you have enough samples, it is possible to get extremely close to an acoustic piano sound.

I am not trying to be a digital guru here, just injectinging bit of realism. If you were unimpressed with digitals 5 years ago, try a good one now. You may be surprised and find yourself forced to discard some prejudices.

A
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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#604448 - 01/30/07 05:01 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
mwf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/06
Posts: 419
Loc: Peterborough, England
 Quote:
Originally posted by op30no3:
For a pianist focused on tone and articulation, the digital piano simply cannot cut it. A digital piano cannot tell what part of the finger you used to hit the key, but the acoustic can. On an acoustic, it makes all the difference in the world. I speak for myself when I say that I would go crazy trying to get a singing tone out of a digital piano and then try to get a pizzicato sound and not be able to tell the difference. If that were the way things were going to be, I just might die right then and there. [/b]
singing tone does not really exist IMO, once you have depressed the key thats basically it... and I agree that an acoustic piano cannot tell what part of the key you pressed either. These are of hardly any importance when training as a pianist IMO, as fundamentally one can develop technical ability and musicality on either a digital or acoustic piano.

It does not make sense to say whether or not digital will take over acoustic because digital pianos have to be sampled from an acoustic in the first place, otherwise there will be no digital piano to play with.
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#604449 - 01/30/07 05:20 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
iconoclast Offline
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Piling on.....

At this point I believe that the only significant technological barriers to a digital sounding exactly like an acoustic are pretty much a.) effective emulation of sympathetic string vibrations when the sustain pedal is down and b.) sound image (speakers don't disperse sound in the same way as a sounding board). The first is already being solved (pianoteq's is quite good already) by algorithm development and more powerful processors. The second can be solved by alternative speaker technologies (ribbon electrostatics in particular). Couple this with the inherent advantages of headphone practice, portability, freedom from tuning and maintenance, ability to revoice or use alternative temperaments on the fly, freedom from miking (and all the problems that go with it) and things don't look good for the home team.

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#604450 - 01/30/07 05:40 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
iconoclast Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by mwf:
 Quote:
Originally posted by op30no3:
For a pianist focused on tone and articulation, the digital piano simply cannot cut it. A digital piano cannot tell what part of the finger you used to hit the key, but the acoustic can. On an acoustic, it makes all the difference in the world. I speak for myself when I say that I would go crazy trying to get a singing tone out of a digital piano and then try to get a pizzicato sound and not be able to tell the difference. If that were the way things were going to be, I just might die right then and there. [/b]
singing tone does not really exist IMO, once you have depressed the key thats basically it... and I agree that an acoustic piano cannot tell what part of the key you pressed either. These are of hardly any importance when training as a pianist IMO, as fundamentally one can develop technical ability and musicality on either a digital or acoustic piano.

It does not make sense to say whether or not digital will take over acoustic because digital pianos have to be sampled from an acoustic in the first place, otherwise there will be no digital piano to play with. [/b]
unless they're modelled - which brings up some interesting possibilities. For instance, what would a 26' grand piano (that could sound a low A without ANY inharmonicity) sound like?

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#604451 - 01/30/07 11:52 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
John Citron Offline
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I have both, and I play the acoustic instruments 99.9999% of the time. The digital seems distant from me like I'm listening to a CD recording instead of feeling the piano. There's nothing technically wrong with the Technics SX/PX-667; it's just not "right" and there's something impersonal and cold about its tone.

Granted the instrument does have its value like late night practice, recording, etc. but that's it. The acoustic instruments like the piano and clavichord have a warm tone that reaches into the soul. The acoustic piano even resonates right through the room, and makes me feet and body vibrate. The clavichord, being much softer fills the room like soft warm light and surrounds the player (The recordings don't even come close to the real sound).

I absolutely never got that from the digtal even with the volume turned up. With the volume too high, the tone was saturated, and annoying. When turned down too low, the "Acoustic Reflection Technology" (tm) didn't kick in.

Just a couple cents on the pile.

John
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#604452 - 01/31/07 01:58 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Bernard Offline
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Does anyone think that the climbers scaling Mount Everest would ever be content with virtual reality?
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#604453 - 01/31/07 02:45 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
AJB Offline
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Even though the route to the summit is now a tourist trail, the number scaling the heights are few. Most, the vast majority, potter about in the foothills, and for them virtual reality is not only fine, but possibly better.

John - I take your point, but not all digitals are equal. Some do now come very close to feeling and sounding like an acoustic. The pace of technological change means that the gap will reduce.

Kind regards

Adrian
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#604454 - 01/31/07 03:03 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Bernard Offline
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AJB,

 Quote:
Even though the route to the summit is now a tourist trail, the number scaling the heights are few. Most, the vast majority, potter about in the foothills, and for them virtual reality is not only fine, but possibly better.
I didn't ask about the tourists. I asked about those scaling Mount Everest. There's a difference.

Of course I'm not saying digital doesn't have it's place, but it has it's place.
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#604455 - 01/31/07 03:27 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
swingal Offline
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I feel a bit confused again. It would appear to be the case that the acoustic instrument is best and the most challenging to master. You are playing the instrument not operating a electronic gadget that plays perfectly without chance of feeling. How do you folk feel about electronic guitars as against acoustic.

Then again we have the 'player-piano', they sound a bit mechanised more like the old barrel organ and hurdy gurdy. So is it the lack of human feeling that is lost on electronic digitally enhanced instruments, yes? And mechanised automatic instruments too ?

Two different pianists on the same piano and playing the same piece can have vastly differing application and tonal warmth to the same piece of music. If we loose the tonal nuances with electronic instruments that would be a bad situation for music perhaps.

I find playing a high quality grand piano the tone is enhanced/varied by the touch to the point of not really needing the damping pedal except for sustaining tones. Perhaps high end digitals can emulate this too?

John Citron seems to make a valid point or two.

Alan

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#604456 - 01/31/07 04:11 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
AJB Offline
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My original post was not a statement. Rather it was posing a question, as I thought it might be interesting to discuss whether digitals have acquired or are likely to aquire acceptance among pianists.

It was from the perspective that my son has shown far more interest in the digital than in my acoustic grand, simply because one of the advantages of a digital is that music can be more quickly accessible.

There will always be those who prefer good quality acoustic pianos, and I am among them. However, having dipped a toe in the digital waters, I am surprised at how good the latest ones are. You do get what you pay for and the more expensive digitals are a lot more realistic (at emulating acoustic pianos) than the cheap ones I found. In this regard, Alan the answer to your emulation question is Yes.

For many amateur players who do not have great musical aspirations - but who may have children who might be inspired - a digital perhaps increasingly represents a viable alternative.

Some of them even have teaching systems built in, with screens in the music stand that can display scores (even quite advanced pieces), exercises (e.g. Hanon), teaching notes and so on. For example I have recently seen some Roland instruments that do this quite well.

In the end, it is much more about the music than the instrument. By far the biggest influencer of the output is the pianist, not the piano.

To have a new tier 1 acoustic concert grand piano in your house, is going to cost $70,000 or more. If a digital manufacturer can replicate the action feel (this has already been done) and can sample that grand piano sufficiently well, and reproduce it through good speakers that emulate a piano soundboard - and all for a fraction of the cost of the "real thing" then this will be attractive to many people. It is close.

And digital technology must presumably offer the tantalising prospect of giving you a range of acoustic piano sounds. Finally you have a Fazioli, and a Steinway D and a Bosendorfer Imperial and a Mason & Hamlin and a Yamaha CF111S and a 10ft Stuart ....all realistically available at the touch of a button. Might be quite tempting?

Kind regards

Adrian
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#604457 - 01/31/07 04:44 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Van Offline
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As far as studying piano is concerned, one critical advantage digitals have is the ability to control the sound level. First, you don't have to feel self-conscious, second, there are days, and nights, when I'm on it hours at a time, and at the weirdest hours (i.e., whenever the mood strikes me). I wouldn't dare do this on an acoustic, it would literally drive my family and neighbors nuts.

The net result is that I've probably squeezed in probably ten times (or even more) the amount of practice as a result of playing on a digital instead of on an acoustic...the fact that the digital is also kept in my warm, private and comfortable bedroom and is the first and last thing I see between sleep really makes playing an on-going temptation.

Ultimately, digitals will win out, based solely on Moore's law...computer technology is still continuing to double v.v. performance/cost every three/four years, the keyboard of today is an order of magnitude better than those made just 5 years ago and is already obsolete compared to next year's model...and as one poster has already observed, the acoustic is still stuck in the 19th century, and it's costs will continue to rise as the scale economies for acoustics collapse.

For the cost of a year's interest on the price of a new acoustic, I can buy a pretty decent digital that is always in tune, never needs costly maintenance and offers a host of advantages.
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#604458 - 01/31/07 08:45 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Jan-Erik Offline
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As upgrading and tuning-up seems to be a main issue in America (Wapinization, and Stanwoodization), the digital offers limitless possibilities in this respect: You can improve the sound by changing electronic cards, using the newest samples, boost the woofer sound, customize this and that. No need for handicraft skills - just order the parts, plug in, turn the knobs and evaluate the result.

The action respons can be made very standardized or customized without the physical restrictions connected to traditional grand actions.

But I think a digital can never beat the perfect imperfection (I do not remember whose words) of the real piano sound, with its complex resonance. Nor the beauty of the interior of a grand - hammers and strings, golden shine of the iron frame.

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#604459 - 01/31/07 10:18 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
BruceD Online   content
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 Quote:
Originally posted by sid:

Ultimately, digitals will win out, based solely on Moore's law...computer technology is still continuing to double v.v. performance/cost every three/four years, the keyboard of today is an order of magnitude better than those made just 5 years ago and is already obsolete compared to next year's model...and as one poster has already observed, the acoustic is still stuck in the 19th century, and it's costs will continue to rise as the scale economies for acoustics collapse.

For the cost of a year's interest on the price of a new acoustic, I can buy a pretty decent digital that is always in tune, never needs costly maintenance and offers a host of advantages. [/b]
Moore's law is frightening, isn't it? While my grand may be "stuck in the 19th century" I do have considerably less fear of its being out-dated by the latest computer technology six months after I buy it than I would an expensive digital. There is some considerable angst involved in the purchase of any piece of electronics - angst which rises in direct proportion to the initial cost - knowing that within six months to a year the product will be out of date and will have been followed up by the newest must-have technological advances. The suggested wisdom of buying the best available - which means, usually - the most expensive - becomes an exercise in extravagance knowing how soon a digital product is going to be out-dated. The out-of-date product may indeed continue to function as it was originally designed to do, but knowing that my $7,000.00 (or more) high-end digital is out of date and may eventually have to be replaced to keep pace with the latest developments because replacements parts will soon no longer be available is a direction that I might not wish to take.

While I have no intent to sell my piano, either, surely the proportional initial-cost-to-trade-in value of a five-year old digital is going to be much less than the similar trade-in value of an acoustic. Try "dumping" a five-year old digital product; most such antiques won't even be accepted as trade-ins, and one might be lucky to find someone willing to take it away. I don't think the same would be said about a well-cared for quality acoustic instrument.

Regards,
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#604460 - 01/31/07 12:23 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
iconoclast Offline
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On the other hand Bruce, you could upgrade a $7000 digital ten times for the cost of one Tier 1 piano.

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#604461 - 01/31/07 12:52 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
BruceD Online   content
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 Quote:
Originally posted by iconoclast:
On the other hand Bruce, you could upgrade a $7000 digital ten times for the cost of one Tier 1 piano. [/b]
I could, admittedly, do that, but I don't think I really want to get into that race, spending too much time and energy on regularly shopping for an upgrade, worrying about my regular contributions to the local landfill as well as the dubious wisdom of buying planned obsolescence. Instead, I would want to spend my energy enjoying playing. Moreover, even if I could buy ten digitals for the price of a tier one acoustic each one would still be only a digital, wouldn't it?

My not-quite-tier-one-but-pretty-darn-close-to-it piano (Larry Fine) didn't cost $70,000.00, by the way.

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#604462 - 01/31/07 01:41 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
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I have said before that I feel digital and acoustic pianos are similar enough for the beginner that they are interchangeable, but it does not take long in a pianist's development before they become separate instruments. At that point, substituting one for another is a compromise.

Admittedly, I do not play digitals very often, but these are some of the limitations that I have found in them:

I have never found one that was tuned nor voiced as well as I can tune an acoustic piano. Many do not even sound like pianos.

I have not found a digital piano where you could depress the key silently.
I have not found one where you could hold a key until it no longer plays.
Once you have done either of these things on an acoustic piano, holding that note still affects other notes audibly. Not so on a digital.

So I was wondering whether any digitals are better now. Feel free to name names.
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#604463 - 01/31/07 02:00 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Vid Online   content
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Haven't visited these boards for a while but here I am again.

I have owned both acoustic and digital pianos. I have sold the acoustic and practice almost exclusively on a P80. The great thing about this is that I can play and practice whenever I want without disturbing my neighbors. The drawback is that while the sound and touch are quite good and the technology is constantly improving, the reality is that the digital instruments do not even approach the quality of the real thing.

The acoustics of a real piano is very complicated. The quality of sound is influenced by so many factors on the instrument itself including sympathetic string vibrations, the harmonics, the sound board, and on the acoustic properties of the environment its in. No matter what you do you cannot fully duplicate these qualities with digital technology.

I find when I do play on an acoustic I have to adjust my playing in a lot of ways. The pedaling on a digital piano is a lot more forgiving than on an acoustic because the digital simply doesn't blend all the notes together as much as an acoustic. I also find that I have to work more to voice melodies on an acoustic because it is much easier to hear separate melodies on a digital.

For me the digital piano is really a tool that I use to eventually achieve what I want for performing on an acoustic piano. The benefit is that I can play many more hours on my digital than I ever could on my acoustic, but the drawback is that my development suffers from having to adjust my playing to working out the subtleties that come with playing on the real thing.
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#604464 - 01/31/07 02:01 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
MooGoo Offline
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 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
I have said before that I feel digital and acoustic pianos are similar enough for the beginner that they are interchangeable, but it does not take long in a pianist's development before they become separate instruments. At that point, substituting one for another is a compromise.

Admittedly, I do not play digitals very often, but these are some of the limitations that I have found in them:

I have never found one that was tuned nor voiced as well as I can tune an acoustic piano. Many do not even sound like pianos.

I have not found a digital piano where you could depress the key silently.
I have not found one where you could hold a key until it no longer plays.
Once you have done either of these things on an acoustic piano, holding that note still affects other notes audibly. Not so on a digital.

So I was wondering whether any digitals are better now. Feel free to name names. [/b]
Then you have not played a newer digital.

I am by no means an expert on this, but at the very least, the Roland HP-107 does all those things that you never found a digital capable of doing.

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#604465 - 01/31/07 02:11 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
AJB Offline
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BDB - an interesting and in some ways unusual perspective. Makes a lot of sense to me. §Funnly enough I agree with your tuning point, even though it seems illogical as clearly a digital can be "set" at any desired pitch for every note very accurately by the manufacturer. Somehow though, this does not have the organic quality of an expertly tuned acoustic and I think it is one of the main intangibles that sets digitals apart for me too.

As to your other points, I can depress keys silenty on my Yamaha CLP280. I have just tested it! On its best grand piano voice it also has note decay that fades to inaudible. It does not do this in the same way as my acoustic grand (which is not a Yamaha), but the length of sustain is similar and realistic.

Kind regards

Adrian
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#604466 - 01/31/07 02:55 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
signa Offline
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most current digitals can play 'silently', unless you're talking about synths.

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#604467 - 01/31/07 03:51 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
BDB Online   content
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But once you hold a note silently, what happens when you play a staccato note an octave away?
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#604468 - 01/31/07 04:01 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
MooGoo Offline
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If the keyboard is good, it'll play the resonance sound of the key still held down. They do exist.

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#604469 - 01/31/07 04:20 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Jan-Erik Offline
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On my P-80 I can hold a note "senza battera", after playing and mixing many chords and then lifting sustain pedal. This is not possible on Kawai ES-3, where the sound of that note is cut off. This is, however not a major drawback.

The "senza battera" problem I have met only twice in my life. In Selim Palmgren's transcription of Sibelius' "Säv, säv susa" and Toivo Kuula's "Wedding march".

But this shows simply that there are many small things to consider when developing digitals, reflecting the properties of accoustic pianos.

The question is, should the "copying" of the characteristics of an accoustic piano be the sole goal, or should the digital pianos be developed further, adding new properties that offers new possibilities for composers?

Remark! You can not e.g. pluck the strings on a digital, nor can you hammer on the iron, or knock on the soundboard, so there are modern music you simply cannot perform on todays digitals!!!!

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#604470 - 01/31/07 05:07 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
op30no3 Offline
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I stand by the fact that an acoustic piano can in fact tell what part of the finger you use. Every pianist has his/her own sound and every pianist has the ability to produce different tones (e.g. warmth, harshness, cantabile, etc.) This is not possible on a keyboard duplicating a single sound from a real piano.
A kid comes and plays some chords and then a concert pianist plays the same chordss and it is impossible NOT to tell the difference. Not so on a digital.
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#604471 - 01/31/07 05:10 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
op30no3 Offline
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Somebody like Koji or something back me up on this? C'mon...? :rolleyes:
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#604472 - 01/31/07 05:29 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
ipgrunt Offline
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op30no3,

I see you're new here, so I will advise you that this is an old and abrasive topic around here.

There are some here that will support your idea and there are others that will not. Some of these people hold very strong opinions about the subject and unfortunately cannot discuss the matter without losing their temper.

It may be better to leave it alone.
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#604473 - 01/31/07 05:38 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
op30no3 Offline
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Righto, thanks \:\(
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#604474 - 01/31/07 06:03 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
schuyler Offline
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There is no way that digital pianos will overtake acoustic ones any time in the near future. And in my opinion I dont think they may ever take over. I personally dont see the point in trying to perfect a digital piano to the point where an acoustic may become obsolete. The creation of this beautiful instrument is such an artform, and i would hate to ever see that artform die. Besides, seeing as how I own acoustic, I like to have something to do in a power out!
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#604475 - 01/31/07 06:20 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
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BDB:
But once you hold a note silently, what happens when you play a staccato note an octave away?[/b]

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/16828.html#000013

-Michael B.
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#604476 - 01/31/07 10:03 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Dan Moos Offline
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 Quote:
I stand by the fact that an acoustic piano can in fact tell what part of the finger you use. Every pianist has his/her own sound and every pianist has the ability to produce different tones (e.g. warmth, harshness, cantabile, etc.) This is not possible on a keyboard duplicating a single sound from a real piano.
A kid comes and plays some chords and then a concert pianist plays the same chordss and it is impossible NOT to tell the difference. Not so on a digital.
On a quality digital, you COULD tell the difference between the kid and the maestro.

That should give pause to those who think the piano can tell what part of your finger is pushing the key.

I hope that this doesn't devolve into a thread on ThAT subject though, and apologize in advance for my contribution if it does. Never could keep my mouth shut. :rolleyes:
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#604477 - 02/01/07 02:24 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Jan-Erik Offline
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Is it

1) the composers that have pushed pianobuilders to improve the imstrument, as claimed in one thread

2) or have the improvements - longer sustain, more projection, faster repetitions - opened a new world for composers?

I tend to support the latter theory - but who knows? There can in fact have been an interaction between composers, pianists, and pianobuilders.

But I ask whether the only goal in the development of digitals is to imitate an auccustic piano as close as possibly? Why not go further and add properties like

- automatic repetition,
- coupling of octaves in the bass, as on organs
- vibrations
- aftertouch increasing the volume, but no decrease of volume by decreasing pressure - only normal piano sustain - otherwise impossible to control sound volume, I suppose
- no whistles and bells - they belong to children's synth!

This was just my spontaneuos ideas. Then we would have a fully new generation of pianos, and enter a new era, like the modern grand took over the hammerklavier, which had even no sustain pedal.

I am personally fully satisfied with a top tier accoustic, but such an attitude would be detrimental for the evolution...

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#604478 - 02/01/07 04:02 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
AJB Offline
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I was lying in bed this morning, as you do, thinking about this topic. I thought, the zenith of acistic pianos was several decades ago (almost every house had a piano it seemed) - right about the time when aeroplanes were, like a piano, also made out of bent wood and bits of wire.

No doubt there are those who say bi-planes are best. You just can't beat a classic Tiger Moth. But technology moves on and instead of bits of wire we now have fly by wire. Maybe its the same with pianos. I accept that people like Fazioli and Stuart have probably improved the established and almost universal basic design, but the changes are marginal not radical.

Pianos have moved on in other ways. They have lost their universal popularity in the home as music has embraced electronics and new delivery systems. And many acoustic pianos have been supplanted by digitals.

It is inevitable that digitals will soon be able to deliver an entirely realistic sounding and feeling acoustic experience. And they will do this at far less cost than a tier 1 or 2 acoustic grand.

Whilst obsolescence is a factor in electronics, this has more to do with our susceptibility to marketing than it has to do with a step change in performance.

I cant see many digitals being handed down as heirlooms though.

My original perspective was that digitals are more likely to encourage children to want to create music rather than just plug their MP3 player into their ears. That can only be a good thing and may be the catalyst for more children eventually aspiring to own the real thing - an acoustic piano.

A
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#604479 - 02/01/07 08:26 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Ozor Mox Offline
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Loc: Hampshire, England
I don't see digitals as "taking over" acoustics. They clearly both have their place. I have both and would not like to be without either. My digital (CLP-240) allows me to practice silently, requires no maintenance, allows me to record and so on, and reproduces the sound of an acoustic very well to my ears. But as much as I like my digital, my acoustic piano I have a deep fondness for. It feels like it's really mine, I love to sit and play at it and listen to its unique sound and feel its unique touch complete with the quirky keys. There really is something special about an acoustic, no matter what happens with regards to digital piano technology. I love both of my pianos and I think digital pianos and acoustic pianos can live side-by-side.

A couple of points though. With an acoustic you are buying an acoustic. Ok so they vary in quality, but you are getting keys, hammers, strings, dampers, soundboard, enclosed in wood. With a digital, compromising on price means compromising on how accurate a representation of a real piano it is. The technology is improving amazingly fast, but you still get what you pay for, and each new "authentic" piano feature is introduced as you move up the manufacturer's line...drip-fed was how I heard it put before. Strange comparison I know, but it reminds me of dividing a number by 2. You'll get closer and closer to zero the more you divide, but you could divide for infinity and you will never hit zero. Digital pianos can get better and better, and the top of the line ones closer and closer, but it will never truly be the real thing. It doesn't matter how realistic it sounds, it is still emulating the real thing, it isn't the real thing itself and it never will be.

Which brings me to my other point. How can acoustic pianos ever go? The digital samples acoustics, it copies them and tries to get as faithful a reproduction as it can. Surely it can never take over the thing it's reproducing otherwise there would be nothing for it to reproduce from! It's not like the other comparisons of a chess computer beating a human or a computer game emulator. These are just doing something better than the previous "technology". Though you can argue that a digital piano is being a better piano than a real one, there's no denying it depends on the real one to sound like a piano at all!

Basically I think there's always room for both. Digitals give a more convenient and more fully-featured piano, and make the piano more accessible, but the acoustic is how the digital exists and is something really special that can never be replaced and I really hope it isn't ever replaced as it is a wonderful instrument.

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#604480 - 02/02/07 12:56 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Dan Moos Offline
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Registered: 10/17/06
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Loc: Bellingham, WA
I am a huge acoustic piano fan. I am learning to tune and repair them, so it I definitely want them to be around forever!

That said, not only do I expect digitals to equal acoustics in touch and feel eventually, I look forward to this.

As an instrument, the piano really lends itself to digital technology. The "user interface" lends itself to this. It will be a long time before a wind instrument can be efectively done digitaly for instance. Perhaps more than any other instrument, pianos are vastly unique in feel amongs themselves, even if you only consider concert level instruments. In other words, NO ONE knows what an accurate modeling of piano feel is because there is no one right answer. Accurately modeling the feel of a particular instrument should not be that hard, although maybe not yet cost effective.

That brings us to sound. While it is about as complex a sound as an instrument can make, the pianos voice is still created by and bound by the laws of physics. These root laws are simple. A piano's complex tone comes from the interaction of thousands of very simple phenomena.

I think the future of digitals is not samples. Samples are a fixed sound that can only superficially be altered. They are responsible for the amazing sounds of current digitals, but they are a dead end. What will really change things is when the sound is modeled in software from top to bottom. It is simply a matter of proccessing power and software. The processing power exists. The software does not.

Don't misunderstand me. I realize this would be a slow process, and the initial efforts would likely be inferior to sampled digitals.

I liken this to when 3d graphics first came on the video game scene. Before this, graphics were done with 2d images, that were often photo realistic in later times, i.e., samples. The downside was that you were bound to the simple 2d image, and realism was only as good as the number of "samples" stored of each image in different configurations.

3D graphics were a step back in photorealism, but infinitely fluid and alterable on the fly. In time, they even surpassed 2d in realism. I think sampled sounds are akin to hig end 2d graphics, and software modelling of piano is akin to the move to 3d.

I just hope I get to see this when it becomes viable.

On venue that acoustic will ALWAYS win out in is classical. No matter how good digital instruments become, tradition will DEMAND a true acoustic grand be on the stage at a concert or recital. As well it should be. The romance surrounding the piano is an important part of the classical music experience.
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#604481 - 02/02/07 01:31 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Horace Offline
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Posts: 505
 Quote:
Originally posted by op30no3:
I stand by the fact that an acoustic piano can in fact tell what part of the finger you use. Every pianist has his/her own sound and every pianist has the ability to produce different tones (e.g. warmth, harshness, cantabile, etc.) This is not possible on a keyboard duplicating a single sound from a real piano.
A kid comes and plays some chords and then a concert pianist plays the same chordss and it is impossible NOT to tell the difference. Not so on a digital. [/b]
That's a fine way to think about it. Everybody thinks in abstractions at some level, the abstraction that a piano "knows what part of the finger struck the key" is a perfectly servicable one and it correlates with reality not substantially less than any other abstraction.

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#604482 - 02/02/07 01:39 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
signa Offline
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i think there exists some 'modeling' technology now for digital piano, such as Pianoteq, which is totally not base on sampling technology. but it needs a computer and midi interface to run on a digital. if some day, such software is built in a digital piano, then it will be a totally different story from most of current digital pianos. there might be such modeled digital piano model already, GM's? i seems to remember reading it from somewhere.

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#604483 - 02/02/07 02:11 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Jan-Erik Offline
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Not only classic music will demand real pianos on the stage, but als the "modern" avantgarde music, where the "pianist" plucks the strings, not to mention some piano destructive measures.

But short cutting a digital is a cheaper method of making "art".

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#604484 - 02/02/07 02:46 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
swingal Offline
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Posts: 1094
Loc: England
I wonder if the resonances in a room or studio are affected by the acoustic instrument differently from a digital device.

If the vibrations are affected then that is a serious matter. I suppose Hi Fi can answer for some aspects of resonance and could compensate.

Listening to Ray Charles on his digital piano the other night on TV showed how different the digital is in a concert hall atmosphere.

Any comments on that aspect.

Alan

PS.

Quote 'And digital technology must presumably offer the tantalising prospect of giving you a range of acoustic piano sounds. Finally you have a Fazioli, and a Steinway D and a Bosendorfer Imperial and a Mason & Hamlin and a Yamaha CF111S and a 10ft Stuart ....all realistically available at the touch of a button. Might be quite tempting?'

I would guess that the acoustic piano will be difficult to replicate digitally in areas such as the keys, these use velocity and leverage pivot points.That means the fingers have the touch effect caused by the position on the key relative to the pivot point. Distance from the pivot of the finger on the key. Which means the same touch pressure will vary according to the leverage point and alter the velocity of the hammer to string.

On another matter the acoustics have a massive sound board and other vibration characteristics that fill the air with sound vibrations. I doubt the digitals give the same tonal vibrations, yet.

Alan.

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#604485 - 02/02/07 03:19 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Bill Finn Offline
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Registered: 08/11/05
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Loc: Florida
The only live A/B test I've heard is a concert by Keiko Matsui. Since she is an official Yamaha spokesperson, she always has the best, both the digital and acoustic. And she plays both during the same concert.

My own experience at such a concert tells me that digital keyboards sound more like other digital instruments, than they do acoustic pianos.

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#604486 - 02/02/07 05:09 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
AJB Offline
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Registered: 10/01/05
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Alan, with regard to your question about room respnance, digital versus acoustic, you are right, this does make a difference.

Actually, Michael in Switzerland may be a good person to comment on this as he has his Bosendorfer and CLP280 in the same room.

I would make a few comments:

Digitals have speakers (obviously) instead of a soundboard. This provides a big variable (quailty, type, positioning etc).

Digital grand emulators (with speakers horizontal) certainly sound different to digitals with speakers in a vertical plane in my limited experience.

My digital (CLP280 Yamaha) sounds quite realistic in its acoustic piano mode. It sounds more like a piano than a CD player.

It also has a set up function that produces sounds and measures them with a built in microphone, using the resulting data to adjust the sound of the piano to optimise room set up. This certainly does make a big difference and the settings can be tinkered with manually. (This is similar to some up scale hi-fi set ups).

Just like an acoustic piano, digitals benefit from experimenting with placement within the room. Of course this is irrelevant if you plan mainly to use headphones.

Digital actions can also closely replicate acoustic actions, with some digitals basically incorporating all of the lever elements of an acoustic action. Modelling takes the place of the hammer hitting the strings, and the realism of this presumably depends on the number and quality of samples used.

Tuning Jedi - I thought your perspective was very interesting.

Kind regards

Adrian
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#604487 - 02/02/07 02:44 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Markeyz Offline
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Registered: 03/30/06
Posts: 135
Loc: Seattle
I agree with Tuning Jedi regarding modeling. My complaint with digital pianos thus far is that I've always felt like I was playing a recording, which I was. Microphones are not human ears. Small changes in microphone placement can have a huge effect on the recorded signal. They are, as Tuning Jedi put it, acoustically two dimensional. Even the best mic preamps color the signal. And then there is the playback mechanism with its limitations that others have already discussed.

On a more fundamental note, playing back two recordings at the same time is not the same as playing two notes together on an acoustic piano. On a digital, two waveforms are added together and the resulting waveform, containing amplified or cancelled harmonics of the original notes as well as new harmonics from beating between the two notes, is the sound. The same process occurs on an acoustic piano, but rather than occuring in a mathematical vaccuum, the interaction occurs through the physical mediums of metal, wood, and air, each of which impacts the final sound by further amplifying or deadening certain frequencies. For this reason I've found chordal playing in particular to be unsatisfactory on a digital piano. It may also explain a previous poster's observation that it's easier to bring out individual lines on a digital, since the notes aren't being modulated in as complex a fashion and thus retain more of their original "single note" character.

I suspect that all of this will eventually be quantified and modeled, and I look forward to it, although I will still probably prefer the acoustic. There are already quite succesfull software models of Hammond organs and Rhodes electric pianos. Incidentally, there are the exact same arguments amongst players of those instruments as exist here in this thread.

Getting back to the original poster's points, I see great value in even the current crop of digitals, particularly for beginners. Kids like to play their songs (pieces) using the different sounds available on a digital piano. The recording features can be fun and educational. Combined with software and MIDI the written note / physical location / sound of note connection can be reinforced through immediate feedback.

Also, in the real world most student's acoustic pianos are not tuned frequently enough. Any arguments regarding touch and tone are irrelevent on an out of tune piano. In most cases a digital beats an out of tune acoustic.

Finally, I think it is the teacher's responsibility to make the student and / or parents aware of the advantages and disadvantages of digital pianos and to assess when a student is being hampered by the limitations of a digital piano.

Marc
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#604488 - 02/04/07 03:10 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
gerg Offline
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Registered: 02/02/07
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Loc: Houston, TX
This has happened in the past.

We used to have vinyl records. Then, CD's have taken over, followed by MP3's. Still, hardcore audiophiles appreciate that a Linn Sondek with a good Class A amplifier and an expensive stylus will outdo the latest and greatest in clarity and fidelity. The older technology is expensive, and is the best for quality. The newer is cheap, but of lesser quality and greater convenience.

We used to have reel lawn mowers. Now, most everyone with a lawn maintains it with a rotary mower. Still, the finest lawns in the world, including golf greens, are cut with the superior mechanism of a powered reel mower. Again, The older reel technology is more expensive, but the best for quality, cutting grass blades like a sharp pair of scissors. The newer is cheap, but of lesser quality and greater convenience.

The same will hold true of pianos and other instruments. What will happen, as in the previous two examples, is digital will satisfy the majority of the market with greater versatility for the average consumer. Those who value the very best, who value elegance, who value tradition and quality, will continue with the acoustic instruments. I cannot see Carnegie Hall replacing its Steinway with the latest gizmo.

Newer is not always "better" - depending on your metric for better. As a culture we've this notion of inevitable progress drummed into our minds. Looked at from another angle, maybe some of that change is actually regression.

FWIW I play on a Roland HP-1800. Yes, digital pianos have come a long way since 1994, but I consider an eventual switch to a quality grand to be an upgrade. That is closer to what legends played than anything with a power plug will ever be. There's something transcendent and profound about the genuine article, something we will grow to appreciate more as digital becomes more dominant with the average consumer.

My $.02
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#604489 - 02/04/07 03:31 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
gerg Offline
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Markeyz:

GREAT POINTS!

Jedi:

When we get our baby grand, we'll give you our business, since we live 25 minutes from Bellingham.
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#604490 - 02/04/07 10:37 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
MooGoo Offline
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Registered: 07/12/06
Posts: 244
 Quote:
Originally posted by gerg:
This has happened in the past.

We used to have vinyl records. Then, CD's have taken over, followed by MP3's. Still, hardcore audiophiles appreciate that a Linn Sondek with a good Class A amplifier and an expensive stylus will outdo the latest and greatest in clarity and fidelity. The older technology is expensive, and is the best for quality. The newer is cheap, but of lesser quality and greater convenience.

We used to have reel lawn mowers. Now, most everyone with a lawn maintains it with a rotary mower. Still, the finest lawns in the world, including golf greens, are cut with the superior mechanism of a powered reel mower. Again, The older reel technology is more expensive, but the best for quality, cutting grass blades like a sharp pair of scissors. The newer is cheap, but of lesser quality and greater convenience.

The same will hold true of pianos and other instruments. What will happen, as in the previous two examples, is digital will satisfy the majority of the market with greater versatility for the average consumer. Those who value the very best, who value elegance, who value tradition and quality, will continue with the acoustic instruments. I cannot see Carnegie Hall replacing its Steinway with the latest gizmo.

Newer is not always "better" - depending on your metric for better. As a culture we've this notion of inevitable progress drummed into our minds. Looked at from another angle, maybe some of that change is actually regression.

FWIW I play on a Roland HP-1800. Yes, digital pianos have come a long way since 1994, but I consider an eventual switch to a quality grand to be an upgrade. That is closer to what legends played than anything with a power plug will ever be. There's something transcendent and profound about the genuine article, something we will grow to appreciate more as digital becomes more dominant with the average consumer.

My $.02 [/b]
Basing an argument on audiophiles is never a good idea. 90% of them are completely insane. They could be legally deaf and still demand the most expensive turntable and tube amp.

Besides, 50 years from now, I doubt enough of them will be alive for their old man ramblings of how they did it back in their days to have any weight. And without all that interference, people will finally stop doubting the superior quality of their CD audio discs, and DVD audio discs, and holodeck audio crystals, etc.

The same goes with everything else. Soon enough, all you fuddy-duddies will be kicking the grave, and all that will be left will be the meddling kids with their high tech gizmos. I'm sure if you could dig up a 200 year old musician, he'd be bitching about the superior sound quality of his fortepiano to these new fangled "iron" pianos and their plastic keys.

Finally, progress denotes change. From the first gravecembalo col (or di) piano e forte to now, all improvements to the acoustic piano have come along with a change in its sound and feel. With digitals, for the first time, significant improvements can be made, without altering the sound produced at all.

And yet, even two acoustics can never sound the same. There are plenty of grand pianos that produce sounds that I just don't like, no matter how prominently the Steinway logo is displayed. All pianos sound different. Eventually, digitals will just sound "different", but not necessarily worse.

I stand by my statement that in a reasonable amount of time 99% of you will not be able to tell the difference in a blind test.

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#604491 - 02/04/07 12:53 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Dan Moos Offline
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Registered: 10/17/06
Posts: 95
Loc: Bellingham, WA
 Quote:


Jedi:

When we get our baby grand, we'll give you our business, since we live 25 minutes from Bellingham.

Well, I'm not quite at the point where I can in good concious charge for my tunings, but I would gladly hook you up with the fellow who is teaching me. Great tuner, and great guy.

25 minutes must put you in Skagit Co, right?
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#604492 - 02/04/07 05:23 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
gerg Offline
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Registered: 02/02/07
Posts: 1651
Loc: Houston, TX
"25 minutes must put you in Skagit Co, right?"

Correct. About ten minutes from the Casino.

My mom uses a fellow named Klapwijk. Perhaps you know him.

We don't have a baby grand yet, just a digital, and I'm going to take my sweet time making the right choice.
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#604493 - 02/04/07 05:42 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
gerg Offline
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Moo:

Your thinking is a bit one-dimensional. Consider that "progress" does not always benefit the end consumer. Sometimes, "progress" can mean increasing profits by reducing manufacturing costs through a reduction in end-product quality. It's true (generally): you get what you pay for.

My choice of vinyl records/audiophiles was unfortunate because you completely missed the point - it had nothing to do with sound, hence the second example.

Anyway, I don't think there's ought to be gained in debating the matter further.
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#604494 - 02/04/07 09:46 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
MooGoo Offline
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Registered: 07/12/06
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Nothing to be gained? Then what is the point of this thread?

I think you missed my point. I'm not arguing whether digital will ever become "better" than acoustic. I'm saying that eventually it will supplant the acoustic, just as the modern acoustic piano replaced the fortepiano, and just as the fortepiano replaced the harpsichord.

Despite the drastic differences in sound between these instruments, the modern piano is almost always used instead.

You don't see this happening now because digital pianos are just now starting to come into their own, and they still have a little ways to go at that. Just the same, it took the fortepiano nearly 3 quarters of a century after it's invention to really compete with the harpsichord.

Luckily tho, now we have historically informed performances. And I've listened to plenty of recordings of Baroque pieces using period instruments and modern ones. I find merit in both, and usually which I like better comes more down to the recording than to the instruments used.

So you shouldn't worry if digitals take over, there will always be acoustics around.

The adaption will probably be much slower as well, because in the 18th century, the composing for the fortepiano was much more active than new compositions for piano now. Along with audiences now that care not much for newer music and pianists who are not expected to compose or even improvise, there's not yet as much of a need to leverage a digitals increased capability in new compositions yet.

Oh well, things will still change, they always do.

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#604495 - 02/04/07 10:31 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
gerg Offline
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"I think you missed my point. I'm not arguing whether digital will ever become "better" than acoustic. I'm saying that eventually it will supplant the acoustic, just as the modern acoustic piano replaced the fortepiano, and just as the fortepiano replaced the harpsichord."

I don't disagree at all, and thought I made that plain in the original comment. Sorry for the lack of clarity. Digital will become dominant because it meets the needs of a larger segment of the musical population - headphones ability, multi-timbre, recording, etc.

That said, a real acoustic piano will always be considered "the standard" and used in performance halls, and by strict traditionalists. I think the phantom for most people (i.e. the "ideal") is something along the lines of a Steinway "D", although that is quite subject to the application (type of music, purpose of instrument, etc.) For some of us there is a perception of "cheating" in using digital - if the goal is personal performance, at least.

But choices are a good thing :-)

It is interesting about the harpsichord. Thanks for the history lesson :-)
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#604496 - 02/04/07 11:29 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
MooGoo Offline
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To me, saying "Digital is the way forward", is as obvious in the 21st century as saying "Steel is the way forward" in the 19th century.


I still believe digitals will one day be able to model everything about an acoustic. As computers get more and more powerful, it is somewhat conceivable that recorded samples would be ditched entirely for actual physical modeling. Though this time may not come until the distant future.

Just wait until we have Holodecks.

There's one thing a digital will never be able to replicate, and that is the feel of having the actual, authentic article, in all its original glory. I certainly would not mind having an intricately decorated baroque harpsichord laying around. Even if the sounds I'd get out of the thing would make Bach cry.

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#604497 - 02/05/07 04:04 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Horace Offline
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Registered: 04/28/04
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 Quote:
I still believe digitals will one day be able to model everything about an acoustic. As computers get more and more powerful, it is somewhat conceivable that recorded samples would be ditched entirely for actual physical modeling. Though this time may not come until the distant future.
We may find that a real acoustic piano is always the cheapest way to get the acoustic sound, though, even after we're able to model exactly how the acoustic sounds. The computer hardware won't be too expensive probably but the speaker necessary to replicate a real soundboard's sound would literally have to be in the shape of a soundboard - it is impossible to accurately "model" the exact sound produced by a piano without using something that produces sound along that same physical area. It might turn out that a real acoustic piano is the easiest way to do that.

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#604498 - 02/05/07 04:29 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
twitchy Offline
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Registered: 11/18/04
Posts: 60
Loc: London
 Quote:
On a digital, two waveforms are added together and the resulting waveform, containing amplified or cancelled harmonics of the original notes as well as new harmonics from beating between the two notes, is the sound. The same process occurs on an acoustic piano, but rather than occuring in a mathematical vaccuum, the interaction occurs through the physical mediums of metal, wood, and air, each of which impacts the final sound by further amplifying or deadening certain frequencies
This is a very interesting point. I've always owned digital pianos (about 15 years now), and while the sample reproducion and key touch has improved phenominally I still feel like there's something missing. I absolutely agree that the mathematical result of two sounds played together digitally will yield a different result from two sounds played together but seperated in space - and hence time. How much of this is noticable to the listener is open to debate.


I think the next step for digital piano developers is to replicate a soundboard, which will probably mean increasing the number of speakers many times or maybe developing one large speaker that can reproduce sounds from different points on its diaphram (science fiction?). Unfortunately this would be an expensive developement for piano manufacturers that are used to utilising current technology rather than pushing the envelope themselves.

Personally I can't wait to buy a house so I can buy a decent acoustic upright

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#604499 - 02/05/07 05:16 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
AJB Offline
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Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
There seems to be a general asumption that digital users are seeking to replicate the sound of an acoustic piano. Hence this talk of speakers replicating soundboards.

However, I am not sure that this assumption is correct.

I suggest that many people mainly listen to music, including acoustic piano, on CD (or digital download) and the sound they are aiming for is often that produced by their hi-fi system or computer.

This is a recorded sound, digitised, usually compressed etc. It may not greatly resemble the original acoustic sound as experienced by the audience or player.

The point may be, does the digital instrument produce an acceptable sound?

Adrian
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#604500 - 02/05/07 05:33 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
twitchy Offline
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Registered: 11/18/04
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Loc: London
AJB, I think you have to assume both. Manufacturers like Yamaha reached CD quality sound years ago, but they're still persuing a better more piano like sound, hence things like the AFC feature which is *very* subtle, yet costs money. If digital users only wanted an 'acceptable' sound these extra features wouldn't be necessary.
But yes by the same token some digital users do just want an acceptable sound for headphone practice, transportablility etc. It cuts both ways.

Like I said I've owned digital pianos for over 15 years but I'm still going to buy an acoustic at the first chance. If there was a digital option that was genuinely as good I would go for that hands down because I have no sentimentality for a cumbersome fire hazard

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#604501 - 02/05/07 06:52 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
zilla12345 Offline
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Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 12
I prefer the real thing. Have fun with your blowup dolls.

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#604502 - 02/05/07 06:54 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
TimR Online   content
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Posts: 3206
Loc: Virginia, USA
I have played a number of acoustics and have to admit I like them better, though less than one of ten were in tune.

I have moved a number of acoustics and hated every second of it!

99% of the good piano music I listen to is digital, just like all of you. It's called CD.

A digital piano could be used for programmed instruction that would make piano practice 1000 times more efficient. Nobody has done that yet, but in theory it could work.

Will digital overtake acoustic? Well, I think it is likely that digital is increasing, but i'd really like to see statistics on piano playing in general. It wouldn't surprise me if the trend isn't sharply down, making the question moot.
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#604503 - 02/05/07 11:26 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
MooGoo Offline
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Registered: 07/12/06
Posts: 244
 Quote:
Originally posted by Horace:
 Quote:
I still believe digitals will one day be able to model everything about an acoustic. As computers get more and more powerful, it is somewhat conceivable that recorded samples would be ditched entirely for actual physical modeling. Though this time may not come until the distant future.
We may find that a real acoustic piano is always the cheapest way to get the acoustic sound, though, even after we're able to model exactly how the acoustic sounds. The computer hardware won't be too expensive probably but the speaker necessary to replicate a real soundboard's sound would literally have to be in the shape of a soundboard - it is impossible to accurately "model" the exact sound produced by a piano without using something that produces sound along that same physical area. It might turn out that a real acoustic piano is the easiest way to do that. [/b]
It may turn out that the best way to truly accurately model the sound of an acoustic piano is with headphones. Many may scoff at this, but headphones really are the best way to achieve accurate sound reproduction, especially if the sound is designed for headphone use.

Basically, everything we hear is reduced to two waveforms, one for the left ear and one for the right. Whether the sound is a telephone conversation, or a symphony orchestra, by the time it gets to you, it's simply stereo sound. Given that headphones gaurentee the position of the sound source, properly designed audio can simulate surround sound to an incredible degree. With headphones you don't need 7.1 speakers for a proper surround effect, just two.

So it's possible that digital pianos could design the sound produced to make it feel like the sound is coming from more positions than just a couple of speakers, while wearing headphones.

Of course this would not account for the subtle differences in sound as you change your position about the piano, and it would not address performance to an audience at all.

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#604504 - 02/05/07 11:37 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
twitchy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/04
Posts: 60
Loc: London
How would you model the effect of soundwaves that cause the cranium to vibrate and subsequently the inner ear? It might actually be impossible to get soundwaves down the ear pipes (the what?) that can truely represent this sound.

Also, I've always been curious but never got a satisfactory answer - how do ears differentiate between sounds in front and sounds behind the head? Left and right is well known but I can't fathom the front and back.

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#604505 - 02/05/07 11:55 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
MooGoo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/06
Posts: 244
I'll give it a shot, but don't hold me to it.

Basically, your brain compares the difference in volume and timing between the same sound heard in each ear, in a similar way to how your eyes compare two separate images to figure out depth. Also, when we hear stuff, we tend to adjust the position of our head to get a better listening point, this movement, and the subsequent changes in volume and timing also assists us in determining where the sound is coming from.


This might be enlightening.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_localization

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#604506 - 02/05/07 12:14 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
twitchy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/04
Posts: 60
Loc: London
Hmm, the Binaural stuff in that link still doesn't explain difference between front and back, it just refers to azimuth as if 45 degrees would be different to 315 degrees. And if cocking your head comes into it how does surround sound work in headphones?

Anyway, I don't want to hog this thread with my inane questions. Thanks for the link - very interesting.

I'm off to buy a casio with big headphones.

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#604507 - 02/05/07 04:15 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7382
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
tomasino

 Quote:
a professional photographer, I can tell you that many of us thought that digital imaging would never replace film. But, as a practical matter, and even though Kodak film is available in a few drugstores, digital has replaced film.
I think your analogy is flawed. Clavinos are to pianos what photography is to painting. Most homes still have paintings hung if they can possibly afford it.

 Quote:
So I think there will be some residual resistance to digital, even if they are superior to acoustics.
In what universe?

Seriously, we're talking apples and oranges here. The next step in improving the clavino will be to put a real renner action in it. Then it will have "true" piano touch. Then they could manufacturer it with 176 speakers, one for each string. The the sound would be broader and fuller. Then they could build in an automatic detuning device, so your clavino would go out of tune after a few weeks. They could also put in cross feed-back loops so that each tone generator could sense what other tones are being played and change pitch in sympathy.

By the time you make all these technical advances, you could just go out an buy a piano - at half the price
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#604508 - 02/06/07 12:20 AM Re: Digital is the way forward?
DragonPianoPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 2368
Loc: Denver, CO
John,

Sorry to disagree with you, but your analogy is also flawed.

Painting and photography are not at all related in a similar manner to digital and acoustic pianos. Owning a painting or photograph is totally different from creating music on a digital or acoustic piano. Very few households with paintings have someone in them who is capable of creating that painting, whereas many can create photographs or create music on either an acoustic or digital piano.

Owning a painting is more akin to owning a grand piano solely as a piece of furniture.

Rich
_________________________

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#604509 - 02/06/07 12:49 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7382
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Rich, No analogy is perfect, but here's why I think it's pretty good:

Both piano and clavinova's create sounds - one through direct action of the player, the other using non-mechanical means (true, the player tells each instrument what sounds to play via a keyboard but that's where the similarity ends).

In a painting, the artist must conceive what he wants in his mind, then have the technical skills to put it on paper. In photography, the artist sees something interesting, beautiful, etc., then uses a mechanical device to capture it and place it on paper.

While art can be created in all four, people tend to prefer acoustical to electrical sounds and they tend to prefer oils and acrylics to silver halides and ink drops.

John
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#604510 - 02/06/07 02:10 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
mwf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/06
Posts: 419
Loc: Peterborough, England
 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:


Both piano and clavinova's create sounds - one through direct action of the player, the other using non-mechanical means (true, the player tells each instrument what sounds to play via a keyboard but that's where the similarity ends).

In a painting, the artist must conceive what he wants in his mind, then have the technical skills to put it on paper. In photography, the artist sees something interesting, beautiful, etc., then uses a mechanical device to capture it and place it on paper.

John [/b]
You play both digital and acoustic pianos through direct action of the player, well I do anyway. That may in your books be where the similarity ends, but that just about sums up playing the piano, oh I forgot theres the fantastical tone manipulation phenomenon you and other expert players know and can use at will that only exists on frigging acoustical pianos, even the worst poorly maintained out of tune uneven pile of junk is better than a digital piano.

You need technical shills to play a digital piano just like an acoustic. You still have to be artistic when playing a digital piano, theres alot you can do on a DP, especially now they have complex string resonance sampling and tonal/timbre changes, you know the ones you can control. Playing the piano for me is both a pleasant and uplifting experience on any type of keyboard instrument, obviously you cannot get past you own stubborness and elitism, you are infact perhaps the most anti-digital member on these forums, you sound as if you hate the things,
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#604511 - 03/05/07 03:03 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
Van Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 1215
Loc: S. California
 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:

By the time you make all these technical advances, you could just go out an buy a piano - at half the price [/b]
In the real world, the price of a digital today is an order of magnitude below that of an acoustic and this gap is just going to get worse with time. It doesn't take much research to see how far the digital's come in just the last 5 years (a mere eye blink when you think about it), the feature sets keeps growing and getting better and the price keeps falling (we're talking about half the price for a doubling or tripling in performance/features in just 5 years, compare this to the steady price inflation of acoustics for basically the same machine)...It's the economics that will ultimately kill off the acoustic, if it hasn't already.

I can still remember learning to type on IBM electric typewriters (anyone here remember those?), don't see them anymore although I'm sure many typists still prefer their crisper touch and feel. Unfortunately for the piano, it's one of the more 'mechanical' instruments and really lends itself to digitalization.

Acoustic guitars will probably be around forever, precisely for the reason you've mentioned (they are just so inexpensive to produce), but I just don't see this for the 800lb piano gorilla, the price/performance differences are just too vast. I'm not talking here about the piano as a luxury or status item, but just as a pure music making instrument.

Another thing to think about is the increasing connectivity between the digitals and computers (and how important digital connectivity/interaction and the internet's become, e.g., the ability to drive software synthesizers or the new software pianos such as Ivory...or this very discussion on 'piano' forum), to the point where it increasingly feels as though the digital piano is just another computer peripheral and just another means for communication. When viewed in this light, perhaps the better analogy would be that by the time you add in all the features you want to an acoustic piano (recording, midi, connectivity, voices etc.), you end up with a digital keyboard.
_________________________

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#604512 - 03/07/07 04:08 PM Re: Digital is the way forward?
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7382
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
In the real world, the price of a digital today is an order of magnitude below that of an acoustic and this gap is just going to get worse with time.[/b] Hummm, the Clavinova CLP 280, which is one of the most piano like of the series, is $4,800. A Yamaha upright is $200 more. Sounds like an order of magnitude to me.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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