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#948708 - 12/19/07 09:30 AM (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
All this talk about the benefits of grand pianos got me thinking. As I have now broken up for the Christmas hols and am now bored I thought we might have some fun with this. A while ago over in piano forum I remember a guess the piano thread where you had to distinguish between various recordings of certain brands of piano. I decided it might be nice to post some recordings of different TYPES of piano instead. I am not trying to prove anything here, it’s just a bit of fun!

The recordings were made last night courtesy of one of my most advanced students. 17 year old Ben is hoping to audition for the top colleges next year. He has been playing the ‘Fantasie-impromptu’ by Chopin for a while now and has performed it a couple of times. I asked him to play the first couple of minutes on my four pianos and we recorded them.

Here is a description of the pianos (NOT in order of recordings!).

‘The grand’ - 2002 Wilh. Steinberg IQ77. This is a 5’ 8” grand piano bought for £11000 four years ago.

‘The upright’ - 1992 Schimmel 120I. A 48” upright bought for £3000 seven years ago.

‘The old clunker’ - 1979 Knight K10. A 112cm console bought for £600 last year.

‘The digital’ – Technics sx-pc25. A full size, fully weighted digital bought new back in 2000 for £750.

Here are the recordings in no particular order. I hope you manage to download them okay. The quality is not great as I only have a mini-disc recorder with a small mic. I did try to keep the levels and mic position the same for each one. Also, I apologise for the tuning of the ‘real’ pianos. They were last done in the summer and are due for tuning at the start of January (I can’t wait).

version 1

version 2

version 3

version 4


After you have had a listen and made comments I will post some of Ben’s thoughts on each instrument. The results will be posted on Sunday.

Happy guessing and Merry Christmas.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#948709 - 12/19/07 09:39 AM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
After listening to the again I have realised that they are a bit quiet, at least on my PC. If I record them onto audacity any louder they seem to get distorted. See what you think. If you can't hear them well enough I will see if it's possible to amplify them.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#948710 - 12/19/07 09:42 AM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17699
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
What wonderful fun, Chris! Hey... you might get more responses if you rename the thread "Guess the grand, upright, digital, etc."

Of course there is a bit of a downside in playing this game. I didn't feel (too) bad when I couldn't distinguish a Steinway from a Fazioli. But if I confuse a clunker with a grand, I'm in trouble...

That being said, here's my guesses:

Version 1: Digital
Version 2: Grand
Version 3: Better upright
Version 4: Clunker

PM me if I'm completely wrong and I'll hurriedly delete my post. \:D

p.s. I heard them fine on my computer....

p.p.s. Please extend my compliments to your student on his impressive playing. \:\)
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#948711 - 12/19/07 09:59 AM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
Thanks Monica. Don't worry, it's not an easy game as the recordings are not brilliant. That's not to say your guesses are wrong though. ;\)

I will pass on your compliments. He is a good lad, but his head is already quite big!

How do I change the name of the thread?
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#948712 - 12/19/07 10:02 AM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Hey Chris,

I'm not a teacher, but I want to play your game too.

I can hear your samples just fine. Do you want guesses posted here?
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#948713 - 12/19/07 10:09 AM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
turandot, yes please, anyone can play. Posts guesses here.

It just occured to me that I am at risk of my expensive grand being called a 'clunker'
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#948714 - 12/19/07 10:14 AM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10775
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
1: Clunker - I'm not sure if this or #4 is the clunker, but I chose this one because of the lack of brilliance in the high notes, and this tended to be more out of tune than the rest
2: Digital - due to the sound of the bass, and since you mentioned intonation of the pianos, that kind of gave it away for me.
3: Grand - nice deep bass and brightness in the upper range.
4: Newer upright - still sounded like an upright because of the first note in the bass, which lacks the depth of a grand, but it has seemed to hold its tune better than #1 and the higher notes come out a bit more, even though they lack the brilliance a grand can give them
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#948715 - 12/19/07 10:20 AM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
1. Technics
2. IQ 77
3. Schimmel
4. Knight

No clunkers really. Your student proves the old adage that it's the musician and not the instrument. I went with the IQ for #2 because of the pronounced bass and the effortless pianissimo. The other guesses are based on the balance of attack and decay.

This was fun Chris (even if I've made an utter fool of myself \:D )
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#948716 - 12/19/07 10:46 AM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17699
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by Chris H.:
How do I change the name of the thread? [/b]
Just hit "edit post" (i.e., your very first post where you started the thread) as usual, and the thread name will pop up too where you can edit it.

p.s. You may even want to start a new thread in the main forum, announcing the game and providing a link to it over here. I'm guessing there's a lot of people over there who would find this interesting but who don't regularly check out the teacher's forum.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#948717 - 12/19/07 10:51 AM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17699
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Hey turandot! You and I made the same guesses... so if I am totally humiliated at the end at least I won't be alone. \:D
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#948718 - 12/19/07 10:54 AM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
OK, thread name changed.

I never thought of doing a link from the 'piano forum'. It will have to wait as I am making up a few lessons in 5 mins.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#948719 - 12/19/07 02:22 PM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Uh, I'm not sure I really want to risk wearing egg all over my face ...

Hmmm, this is also a great example of the possibility of an informational cascade. If you're not sure which is which, and a process of personal choices begins to flow in publicly, choose what the previous people (or at least a majority of them) are choosing. If the first few choosers go off the track the whole lot of us could derail with them.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

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#948720 - 12/19/07 02:24 PM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
mdsdurango Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/04
Posts: 1755
Loc: Durango Colorado
Schimmel
Digital
Grand
Clunker

Turandot is right. Your player makes them all sound good. Man he has fast fingers!

#2 is in too perfect tune therefore my guess as the digital. #3 has that Grand sound. the other two uprights might need to be tuned to hear a more dramatic differance.

Mike
_________________________
WHAT???????
Yamaha S6, U5C, P120
http://michaelstith.com

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#948721 - 12/19/07 02:27 PM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Bear 1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/06
Posts: 1348
Loc: Hillsboro Beach South Florida
From my old tin ear:

1.Technics SX-PC 25 Digital
2.Wilh. Steinberg IQ77 Grand
3.Schimmel 120I Upright
4.Knight K10 Console

Bear
_________________________
Barry J "Bear" Arnaut ♫
46 Years in the Piano Industry
Retired Kawai/Shigeru Kawai Regional Manager
(My posts and threads are my opinions only)

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#948722 - 12/19/07 02:28 PM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
mdsdurango Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/04
Posts: 1755
Loc: Durango Colorado
David, If I knew how to post a picture of a Yellow Bellied Sap Sucking Chicken I would!
\:D Give it your best shot!
Egg is good. I don't mind wearing it - if it fits.

Mike
_________________________
WHAT???????
Yamaha S6, U5C, P120
http://michaelstith.com

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#948723 - 12/19/07 02:39 PM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Eternal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/06
Posts: 1285
Loc: Posts: 80,372
 Quote:
Originally posted by mdsdurango:
David, If I knew how to post a picture of a Yellow Bellied Sap Sucking Chicken I would!
\:D Give it your best shot!
Egg is good. I don't mind wearing it - if it fits.

Mike [/b]
There you go:


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#948724 - 12/19/07 02:58 PM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10775
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
 Quote:
Originally posted by mdsdurango:
Schimmel
Digital
Grand
Clunker

Turandot is right. Your player makes them all sound good. Man he has fast fingers!

#2 is in too perfect tune therefore my guess as the digital. #3 has that Grand sound. the other two uprights might need to be tuned to hear a more dramatic differance.

Mike [/b]
Mike, you and I are almost identical. I won't stick by my assessment between to two uprights, but I think I'm right on the grand and digital. If I'm wrong, though, it will just be a learning experience. \:D
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#948725 - 12/19/07 03:22 PM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1785
Loc: Central TX
1 - digital
2 - grand
3 - upright
4 - clunker

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#948726 - 12/19/07 03:33 PM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
Interesting responses so for. Thanks for those.

Did I mention that the first correct guess wins the clunker (joke!) \:D

Please don't worry about coming to the wrong conclusion. Based on sound alone it isn't easy. I know all the pianos well and can honestly say that the recordings do sound a little strange to me. The mic I used is a bit pathetic.

A little clue. Based on what has been said over the past weeks one would assume that when playing the grand Ben would give his best performance. Maybe not in terms of accuracy or interpretation but it should be clearer, more even and articulate, dynamic contrasts should be easier to control etc. Hope this helps.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#948727 - 12/19/07 03:41 PM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
NancyM333 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/06
Posts: 1547
Loc: Roswell, Georgia
Okay, I'm going with:

1. digital
2. Schimmel upright
3. Grand
4. clunker

This is a really fun game! I sure hope I'm wrong. It will save me a lot of money on a grand.

Thanks for going to the trouble of posting this, Chris. The playing is beautiful on every piano.

Nancy
_________________________

Estonia 168, Yamaha UX3

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#948728 - 12/19/07 04:19 PM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8077
Loc: Georgia, USA
I listened to the recordings and all of em sound pretty decent to me. Here's my vote:

1 Grand
2 Digital
3 Quality upright
4 Old clunker that actually sounded pretty good.

Where do I collect my prize \:D .

Best regards,

Rickster
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#948729 - 12/19/07 05:02 PM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
inlovewithit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/08/07
Posts: 79
You don't! \:\)

1. Schimmel Upright
2. Digital
3. Steinberg Grand
4. Clunker

That's fun! Props to Ben; I'm a junior music major and I don't play that well.

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#948730 - 12/19/07 05:04 PM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
inlovewithit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/08/07
Posts: 79
BTW, anyone have a link to the thread for identifying different brands? Or just the exact name of the topic. Thanks!

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#948731 - 12/19/07 06:07 PM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
You guys have really good ears.

Honestly, they all sounded the same to me. I guess I won't be spending money on a grand any time soon, since I can't tell the difference.

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#948732 - 12/19/07 08:07 PM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Eternal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/06
Posts: 1285
Loc: Posts: 80,372
I'm making my judgment based on the first chord, and the way it resonates:

1. Upright - the ringing is there, but not as powerful as that of a grand.
2. Digital - the only version where I didn't hear the distinct bass ringing.
3. Grand - the ringing sounds best of all choices.
4. Clunker - the ringing doesn't sound right (too much "buzz" in it).

I wouldn't be surprised if all of my choices were wrong (I never played a real acoustic) - but I'm pretty sure I got the digital right.

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#948733 - 12/19/07 09:55 PM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17699
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by inlovewithit:
BTW, anyone have a link to the thread for identifying different brands? Or just the exact name of the topic. Thanks! [/b]
There were several such games/threads, but Ax cleverly named them with a typo to make them easy to find. Just search the archives for the word "Indentify" (note the misspelling) as the subject of the thread, and you'll find them.

Lots of fun, and not the greatest rate of accuracy among most of the responses.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#948734 - 12/19/07 10:52 PM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
gundala Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/05/07
Posts: 40
1. Schimmel
2. Grand
3. Technic
4. Clunker

Let's see how those discerning ears work...
Well, if we are wrong, we can always still blame the 'bad' recording... ;\)

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#948735 - 12/20/07 05:05 AM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
AD Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 193
Tis the season for games...

Clunker
Digital
Grand
Upright
_________________________
-----------
Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong,
And I am Marie of Romania.

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#948736 - 12/20/07 08:31 AM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
Here are some comments Ben made about the pianos.

The grand - Easily the most enjoyable to play (not sure he would dare say any other!). The action seems to give him greater control and therefore more confidence. It's very loud but also possible to play softer pp's than on some of the others.

The better upright - A little firmer than the grand and not quite as responsive. He said he found it a bit uneven when playing scale passages. Still very playable though and he liked the sound, especially in the bass.

The clunker - Not too bad (better in fact than his own piano!). He said it feels a bit mushy and there is much less dynamic contrast than the grand or Schimmel. The treble doesn't come through that well. Out of all the pianos he did think it had most 'character' and sounded musical in the lyrical section (perhaps he was just being kind).

The digital - He said the action was so light it was very easy to play fast. But....it almost feels like you are not really playing it. Contrasts were very easy to point out but he didn't get any feedback and found it hard to be musical in the slower section.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#948737 - 12/20/07 08:38 AM Re: (Guess the) Grand, upright, clunker or digital!
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: UK.
Here is a quick summary of the votes so far.

version 1 - Grand (1), Upright (4), Clunker (2), Digital (5)

version 2 - Grand (5), Upright (1), Clunker (0), Digital (6)

version 3 - Grand (6), Upright (5), Clunker (0), Digital (1)

version 4 - Grand (0), Upright (2), Clunker (10), Digital (0)

Keep them coming. There are plenty who have not had a guess yet. Don't be shy! ;\)
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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