Did you expect this?

Posted by: The Monkeys

Did you expect this? - 09/02/13 04:42 PM

While we have one thread talking about the grand, let's see the other end of the spectrum.

Casio commercial for their sub $1000 digital piano:
http://youtu.be/u37Wb66CDTU
(fast forward to 2:20 if you are in a hurry)

It is a commercial of course, and to be fair, it didn't actually make any conclusion, although it obviously implied one.

The question is, while I am sure you can hear the differences, but did you expect this from an inexpensive digital?

Is today's digital a valid learning/practicing instrument?
Posted by: rlinkt

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/02/13 06:55 PM

You will get a lot of different opinions on this. IMHO, you will not develop the same technique on the two. My daughter played the first 3 years on a digital (Yamaha P140). Then we upgraded to an acoustic. I can see the difference playing on a real piano for the last year has made. I think its because a piano allows the player to control the nuances much better than a digital. I am not talking just key strike -- I am sure that a digital will respond to varying touch just as well. I think its the interaction of the parts of the system that allows a piano to produce music in a way that the digital simply does not -- and the player learns to interact with those subtle things in this instrument.

A friend of ours bought the Yamaha from us for their kid, and my daughter still gets to play it from time to time. The music sounds just sterile and un-inspiring on the digital. That lovely sound from the piano also inspires the player to do more.

Also to keep in mind that the recorded sound is not a good indicator of what it sounds like in real life. You can process the sound to hide the differences. I don't know if Casio is playing games here to understate the differences -- but I expected a lot more dynamics in the Alla Turca passages than is evident from the grand. Like here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geER3iQDO5k

I would expect the digital to fail at delivering that kind of dynamic range.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/02/13 07:14 PM

Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Is today's digital a valid learning/practicing instrument?

Yes, if the goal of having lessons is to tinker around with a toy and have fun with it. Kids can also learn to read notes. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. A few school districts around here provide "piano lab" in schools for this same purpose.

But if you want your kid to play Mozart or Beethoven, then no. Not even close.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/02/13 07:19 PM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Is today's digital a valid learning/practicing instrument?

Yes, if the goal of having lessons is to tinker around with a toy and have fun with it. Kids can also learn to read notes. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. A few school districts around here provide "piano lab" in schools for this same purpose.

But if you want your kid to play Mozart or Beethoven, then no. Not even close.

Completely agreed. The sound of a digital is wimpy and muffled, and the action feels lethargic. It is impossible to produce power or beauty on these "pianos."
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 01:43 PM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

But if you want your kid to play Mozart or Beethoven, then no. Not even close.


In the video, they were playing Mozart....
Posted by: keystring

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 01:54 PM

Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

But if you want your kid to play Mozart or Beethoven, then no. Not even close.


In the video, they were playing Mozart....

Did you listen to the version provided by rlinkt?
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 02:32 PM

I did, and we all know nothing beats Steinway, under the hands of a master, OK, Fazioli fan boys might argue, but that is not the point.

Not saying a $800 digital is a $20,000+ grand equivalent.

A better comparison is with a $3,000 used upright that many of the parents would buy for their 7 year olds.

Did you hear something obviously wrong in the CASIO promotion video? Or let me ask the question another way: Is there any truth in it?

Keep in mind, the digital in the promotion is the one of the least expensive digital on the market today.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 02:48 PM

Perhaps the question ought to be phrased somewhat differently. Can a beginner rise to the ranks of artist using only a keyboard as a learning tool?

It's fairly well understood that a master can make any instrument sound its best, whereas a beginner cannot make a magnificent instrument sound great.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 02:54 PM

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Perhaps the question ought to be phrased somewhat differently. Can a beginner rise to the ranks of artist using only a keyboard as a learning tool?

It's fairly well understood that a master can make any instrument sound its best, whereas a beginner cannot make a magnificent instrument sound great.

When you are a student, the interest should not be in what you can make sound great, but in what you can learn. For a beginner to rise to the ranks of an artist he needs two things: an instrument, and a decent teacher. If one had to choose between a poor instrument and an excellent teacher, or an excellent instrument and a horrible teacher, my choice would always be the former. In an ideal world it would be both.

There is also the matter of which piece is chosen for such a demonstration, and then how the piece is played. And that is clear in that particular demo.
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 03:00 PM

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Perhaps the question ought to be phrased somewhat differently. Can a beginner rise to the ranks of artist using only a keyboard as a learning tool?


OK, ideally, we want to start a kid on a good grand. When that is not an option, the question is:

If we start a beginner on a digital, are we giving the student a significant deficit comparing to the ones starting on a $3,000 upright, that prevents them to rise to the ranks of artist.

By the way, did you noticed the digital invasion? If you have not seen it, just visit a music store around you, or a piano dealer that also sells Fazioli
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 03:17 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring

There is also the matter of which piece is chosen for such a demonstration, and then how the piece is played. And that is clear in that particular demo.


What is clear?
What strength you think they wanted to emphasize?
And what shortcoming they were trying to hide?
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 03:48 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Perhaps the question ought to be phrased somewhat differently. Can a beginner rise to the ranks of artist using only a keyboard as a learning tool?

It's fairly well understood that a master can make any instrument sound its best, whereas a beginner cannot make a magnificent instrument sound great.

When you are a student, the interest should not be in what you can make sound great, but in what you can learn. For a beginner to rise to the ranks of an artist he needs two things: an instrument, and a decent teacher. If one had to choose between a poor instrument and an excellent teacher, or an excellent instrument and a horrible teacher, my choice would always be the former. In an ideal world it would be both.

There is also the matter of which piece is chosen for such a demonstration, and then how the piece is played. And that is clear in that particular demo.


Maybe we should compromise and use a mediocre piano and mediocre teacher!
Posted by: TimR

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 04:12 PM

What percentage of piano students eventually graduate to a grand? I'd guess less than 1%.

Are the 99% who will not get to that classical artist level severely limited by using the digital?

What percentage of teachers teach on a grand? For traveling teachers, I'd guess that number approaches zero. <g> My teachers and my children's teachers taught on small acoustics, significantly worse than my digital.

If there are techniques that only work well on a grand, and we have a student that may develop a lifelong love for the piano but never own one, does it even make sense to teach them?
Posted by: laguna_greg

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 04:23 PM

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Perhaps the question ought to be phrased somewhat differently. Can a beginner rise to the ranks of artist using only a keyboard as a learning tool?



That would be a resounding "no", John. The student, no matter who they are or what they bring to the able, will be forced to limit their expression and technical abilities to whatever their "instrument" will allow. The limitations of these new hybrid keyboards are pronounced compared to an acoustic piano of any kind or condition. As such a student progresses through the literature, those limitations in technique and expression will become more and more apparent.

And having said that, I don't think there's anything wrong with a beginning student using an electronic keyboard for the first year or two of study. After that though, an acoustic instrument becomes essential to further technical development.
Posted by: laguna_greg

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 04:26 PM

Originally Posted By: TimR

If there are techniques that only work well on a grand, and we have a student that may develop a lifelong love for the piano but never own one, does it even make sense to teach them?


Legato and staccato are both techniques that are not suited to the electronic action on a keyboard. Should we not teach them, then?
Posted by: laguna_greg

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 04:29 PM

Originally Posted By: The Monkeys

...By the way, did you noticed the digital invasion? If you have not seen it, just visit a music store around you, or a piano dealer that also sells Fazioli


This is only a good or desirable thing to people who don't know any better.
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 04:41 PM

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

It's fairly well understood that a master can make any instrument sound its best, whereas a beginner cannot make a magnificent instrument sound great.


Sorry, I don't know where this argument leads to.

If a beginner cannot make a magnificent instrument sound great, do we need to give the magnificent instrument to the beginner or not?
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 04:44 PM

It's not an argument, rather a statement of fact.
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 04:51 PM

Originally Posted By: laguna_greg

Legato and staccato are both techniques that are not suited to the electronic action on a keyboard.


Seriously? So you didn't hear any staccato in the promotion video?
We are talking boards $800 and up, the ones with 3 pedals.
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 05:05 PM

Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Perhaps the question ought to be phrased somewhat differently. Can a beginner rise to the ranks of artist using only a keyboard as a learning tool?

That would be a resounding "no", John. The student, no matter who they are or what they bring to the able, will be forced to limit their expression and technical abilities to whatever their "instrument" will allow. The limitations of these new hybrid keyboards are pronounced compared to an acoustic piano of any kind or condition. As such a student progresses through the literature, those limitations in technique and expression will become more and more apparent.


This is the key point I guess.

From the promotion video, sound quality aside, what was wrong with the digital? What essential techniques were not no shown and cannot be performed on the digital?
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 05:08 PM

Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys

...By the way, did you noticed the digital invasion? If you have not seen it, just visit a music store around you, or a piano dealer that also sells Fazioli


This is only a good or desirable thing to people who don't know any better.


Not saying it is good or bad, rather a statement of fact.
Posted by: Whizbang

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 05:40 PM

Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Did you hear something obviously wrong in the CASIO promotion video? Or let me ask the question another way: Is there any truth in it?


The problem is that there's no way to know. From the room, to the mic placement, to the audio capture, to the post-audio sweetening, there are dozens of places where your audio engineer could step in and tweak things. My impression from the commercial was "boy, they're putting a lot of room resonance into that". In modern media--and my partner does this sort of thing--there is literally nothing professionally prepared that doesn't undergo post-recording shaping. In a commercial touting the sound quality of digitals versus acoustics? Literally zero chance that the sound hasn't been quadruple-checked to try to convey the appropriate narrative. (It'd be great to have an off-the-record chat with one of the jaded audio engineers. They're always jaded.)

I'm by no means a digital opponent, just more of a skeptic about this commercial. stumbler's ABF Recital performance of Villa-Lobos on his high end Roland *really* surprised me in a good way, but equally clearly many of the other ABF recordings were done on digitals. OTOH, a directly-recorded decent digital is a clearly better experience than a sour acoustic in a sub-par environment or with poor recording equipment or placement.

There's another issue around touch and responsiveness that is probably even more subjective (and likely only to afflict more accomplished players).

So on that note, of the acoustic advocates here, what do folks think of the very high-end Roland that's actually including a faux-piano action inside?
Posted by: ezpiano.org

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 05:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Tim
What percentage of teachers teach on a grand? For traveling teachers, I'd guess that number approaches zero.


I teach only at my studio with a grand piano. I have only two students that I travel to their house with a lot of extra fee and both of them has grand piano at home.

First student has been with me a long time. Second student just sign up last month. When father called me on the phone, he mention that he wanted someone travel to his house. I ask if he has grand piano at home and also explain that I would only teach on grand piano because it is my standard.

Fortunately he said he has grand piano at home, so, I end up enroll my second traveling student on the top of my office students......

So, Tim, your guess is not correct at least in my eyes.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 06:11 PM

Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Perhaps the question ought to be phrased somewhat differently. Can a beginner rise to the ranks of artist using only a keyboard as a learning tool?

That would be a resounding "no", John. The student, no matter who they are or what they bring to the able, will be forced to limit their expression and technical abilities to whatever their "instrument" will allow. The limitations of these new hybrid keyboards are pronounced compared to an acoustic piano of any kind or condition. As such a student progresses through the literature, those limitations in technique and expression will become more and more apparent.


This is the key point I guess.

From the promotion video, sound quality aside, what was wrong with the digital? What essential techniques were not no shown and cannot be performed on the digital?

To me, it's not a question of "What's wrong" rather a question of what can musical players do on a piano that cannot be done on a keyboard? Take staccato for instance. There are several difference staccato touches, each having a defining sound. A staccato performed with a stiff finger, bouncing from the wrist, will have a more percussive sound for a number of reasons. A staccato performed with a finger swipe will have a softer, mushier sound. Just two examples. I don't know how well a keyboard can emulate or differentiate this. For one thing, a piano's soundboard picks up the crash of the key against the key bed, even with a felt washer in place, and adds a percussive sound to the tone of the string. I'm not sure how a keyboard would be able to differentiate between the two touches.
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 06:11 PM

Originally Posted By: Whizbang
In modern media--and my partner does this sort of thing--there is literally nothing professionally prepared that doesn't undergo post-recording shaping.


True but the focus is not how good the digital sounds, you can adjust some subtle resonate, but you can not twist a staccato to a legato.

The question is : is it a valid learning/practising instrument? Can one develop essential piano skills on a digital to a reasonable level without jeopardizing the students future development?

We know it can be used to teach note reading, rhythm etc, but can it be used to development techniques like Staccato, Legato, Crescendo, Decrescendo, Marcato, Tenuto, Maestoso at least to some degree?

The reason I ask is, it seems, in the promotion video, a lot of techniques and expressions are somehow demonstrated.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 06:57 PM

Originally Posted By: TimR
What percentage of piano students eventually graduate to a grand? I'd guess less than 1%.

Are the 99% who will not get to that classical artist level severely limited by using the digital?

What percentage of teachers teach on a grand? For traveling teachers, I'd guess that number approaches zero. <g> My teachers and my children's teachers taught on small acoustics, significantly worse than my digital.

If there are techniques that only work well on a grand, and we have a student that may develop a lifelong love for the piano but never own one, does it even make sense to teach them?

I learned on a grand from the beginning. I would not practice or teach on anything other than a grand, and neither would the vast majority of my colleagues.
Posted by: currawong

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 07:07 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
I learned on a grand from the beginning. I would not practice or teach on anything other than a grand, and neither would the vast majority of my colleagues.
Then you should be very grateful for the circumstances of your life which allowed you this. Many many people cannot and will never be able to afford a grand piano, however much they want it. Talking objectively about the capabilities of digital pianos and the action of grand pianos is one thing. Being dismissive of those who do not have your advantages is another.
Posted by: currawong

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 07:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
I would not practice ... on anything other than a grand
I certainly would, if it was my only option!
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 07:33 PM

Originally Posted By: currawong
Talking objectively about the capabilities of digital pianos and the action of grand pianos is one thing. Being dismissive of those who do not have your advantages is another.


Thank you currawong!

And once again, No one is here to compare a $800 digital to a $20,000+ grand, We know there is a 25+ times difference (at least money wise). If a grand is the only viable option, then you can cut the piano student's population by 90%, or more. Maybe this is actually what you want but that is another story.

The question is how it compares to a used upright that many parents would get for their 7 year old, as many holds the following belief:

Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
The limitations of these new hybrid keyboards are pronounced compared to an acoustic piano of any kind or condition.

Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 07:38 PM

And my opinion has not changed; namely, that ANY acoustic is better than a digital as long as the action works. It may not sound as good immediately, but at least you will be able to learn actual piano technique, instead of fake piano technique.
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 07:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
And my opinion has not changed; namely, that ANY acoustic is better than a digital as long as the action works. It may not sound as good immediately, but at least you will be able to learn actual piano technique, instead of fake piano technique.


How do you know? You have not played anything other than a grand.....
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 09:49 PM

It would be interesting to know if the pianists developed their performance skills and technique on an acoustic or a non.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 10:05 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
And my opinion has not changed; namely, that ANY acoustic is better than a digital as long as the action works. It may not sound as good immediately, but at least you will be able to learn actual piano technique, instead of fake piano technique.

Until recently there was a piano in my mother's basement. It had not been tuned for 20 years and was moved twice over a long distance. A3 stuck and you had to pry it up with two fingers. E5 sounded like EFb. The keys were sluggish and the action uneven. The sustain pedal made a noise as if a midget with a huge sledgehammer was trapped in a metal room - but after all that noise, it didn't actually "sustain".

My digital piano has properly weighted keys, none of which get stuck, and all of which are in tune. The action is even. When I use the sustain pedal, it does what it should, and is minus the midget.

You are not going to tell me that learning on the first is better than the second. Among actual piano technique, I can learn to pedal on a digital where the pedal works, but not on an acoustic where the pedal has turned into a drum.
Posted by: laguna_greg

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 10:18 PM

Originally Posted By: The Monkeys

This is the key point I guess.

From the promotion video, sound quality aside, what was wrong with the digital? What essential techniques were not no shown and cannot be performed on the digital?


I don't need to hear or see the video to know what the limitation of that style of keyboard is.

Look, this is a technical question that requires a rather long and detailed answer. I hope you'll be satisfied with the short version I have time to write now.

1- No electronic keyboard design, even the latest hybrid versions, completely or accurately mimic the construction, response, or timing of the grand piano action.

2- The existing switching assemblies used in most keyboard actions throws off the timing of the vertical keystroke in the player. Also, the switching assemblies are not standardized. It's different on every make of keyboard.

3- Since this last is the case, it trains the player to mis-time the keystroke in every instrument they play. This single factor ruins their ability to develop a full range of touch on any instrument.

4- This kind of keystroke mis-timing is also responsible for a good deal of injury in keyboard players. I've worked with a number of injured electronic keyboard player in rehab, trying to train them out of the keystroke timing electronic keyboards trained them to have.

5- Even though the sampling has gotten better, and the keyboard "piano sound" has a number of dynamic shadings on the more expensive instruments, there is no way that such an action will allow the player to influence the tone color produced. That's why the Casio Mozart sounds rather monochromatic in the ad, compared to the grand piano. If you didn't hear that, I suggest you go back and listen a few more times because the difference is very obvious.

I'm very happy they got a couple of skilled players to come in and play some Mozart. That was a very smart marketing strategy, as it will persuade a lot of people.

However, paid endorsements are worthless. I do wish they would have consulted any performing arts medicine clinic at any teaching university hospital before they went about trying to assess their claims. Those clinics are filled with jazz and pop keyboard players who got injured because of the limitations of the electronic keyboard action.

So, that's why I don't think this is as wise or desirable option for for anyone, let alone students. Claims to the contrary are not only worthless, they are misleading.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 10:53 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Until recently there was a piano in my mother's basement. It had not been tuned for 20 years and was moved twice over a long distance. A3 stuck and you had to pry it up with two fingers. E5 sounded like EFb. The keys were sluggish and the action uneven. The sustain pedal made a noise as if a midget with a huge sledgehammer was trapped in a metal room - but after all that noise, it didn't actually "sustain".

My digital piano has properly weighted keys, none of which get stuck, and all of which are in tune. The action is even. When I use the sustain pedal, it does what it should, and is minus the midget.

You are not going to tell me that learning on the first is better than the second. Among actual piano technique, I can learn to pedal on a digital where the pedal works, but not on an acoustic where the pedal has turned into a drum.

That's not a fair comparison. Why don't you compare it with a keyboard where only half the tone generators are working, one of the pedals stick, five keys are missing, one speaker out, etc. etc. How well would the piano compare if it were properly serviced?
Posted by: keystring

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 11:03 PM

John, I didn't write a comparison. I responded to a statement that ANY acoustic was better than a digital. I did practise on that thing.

Every argument is presuming a pristine, wonderful acoustic piano. I've also read that no technique at all can be learned with a digital. I'm exaggerating the other way around - but there are in fact people playing things like that.
Quote:
How well would the piano compare if it were properly serviced?

How much would it cost to have it serviced? I have no idea since I don't have an acoustic piano.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 11:18 PM

Well, he did caveat it with the statement, "as long as the action works." If keys aren't working, then the action doesn't work, as most of us consider the keys as a major part of the action.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/03/13 11:23 PM

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Well, he did caveat it with the statement, "as long as the action works." If keys aren't working, then the action doesn't work, as most of us consider the keys as a major part of the action.

Exactly. Keystring, you used an example which I did not allow for with that caveat.

Originally Posted By: keystring
My digital piano has properly weighted keys, none of which get stuck, and all of which are in tune. The action is even.

Except that there is no action, since it's a digital, remember?
Posted by: rlinkt

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 12:09 AM

My original position still stands: I think there are differences between the instruments, and the skills that the pianist will develop will be geared to the capabilities and limitations of the instrument. Here is one perceived difference in skill development -- I have noticed a significant difference in my daughter's development in her control of expression, and how she tries to blend the left and right hand. When she first moved from the digital to the acoustic, her playing was very flat compared to where her skills are today. Some of it, is simply the result of a lot of playing time on the piano, but I think quite a bit of it due to the difference in the instrument she is using. However, I cannot prove this claim in any way.
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 01:20 AM

Originally Posted By: laguna_greg

2- The existing switching assemblies used in most keyboard actions throws off the timing of the vertical keystroke in the player. Also, the switching assemblies are not standardized. It's different on every make of keyboard.

3- Since this last is the case, it trains the player to mis-time the keystroke in every instrument they play. This single factor ruins their ability to develop a full range of touch on any instrument.

4- This kind of keystroke mis-timing is also responsible for a good deal of injury in keyboard players. I've worked with a number of injured electronic keyboard player in rehab, trying to train them out of the keystroke timing electronic keyboards trained them to have.


Thanks Greg, this is very interesting and informative.

I would like to understand this. Do you mean there is a latency between the keystroke and production of the sound, that the manufactures are unable to eliminate? And different broads have different latencies. When playing between broad, they will be confused by the different latencies and possibly hurt themselves?

Were there any quantified measurements of the latency?

I noticed you said most, does that mean there are some broads don't have this latency issue?
Posted by: keystring

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 01:38 AM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Well, he did caveat it with the statement, "as long as the action works." If keys aren't working, then the action doesn't work, as most of us consider the keys as a major part of the action.

Exactly. Keystring, you used an example which I did not allow for with that caveat.

Originally Posted By: keystring
My digital piano has properly weighted keys, none of which get stuck, and all of which are in tune. The action is even.

Except that there is no action, since it's a digital, remember?

The difficulties of the language. "Action" has several meanings. I meant the way it moves, not the mechanism of an acoustic piano. Like "His action when throwing the ball is so graceful."
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 01:46 AM

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Perhaps the question ought to be phrased somewhat differently. Can a beginner rise to the ranks of artist using only a keyboard as a learning tool?

My answer: we don't really know IF we consider someone who more or less has to start on a keyboard (a number of factors play into this) but is moved over to a fine instrument fairly early.

My reasoning: in doing some research recently I found out that the famous tennis player, Poncho Gonzales, started with a 51 cent racket. He did not even get proper equipment until he started winning important matches.

The best way to go? Hardly. But he was without doubt one of the most incredible players who ever lived, winning major matches against the much younger players even when he was close to and past 40.

It's a lot the same in music. If you give an incredibly talented and motivated young player SOMETHING to play on, then that young player starts to do amazing stuff, most likely (or possibly) someone or more than "someone" will come along to help with "better equipment".

But if you put today's best rackets, with the power and "magic strings", into the hands of the average person, it just doesn't make much difference.

In the musical world, bringing in the tennis analogy and back to Gonzales, that might mean starting on a crap, no action 61 key keyboard - which by the way I also hate - but moving to something better within or shortly after 6 months, then little by little getting better instruments.

Today a lot of kids who have no aunt or friend with a piano to give to them, and whose budget does not currently allow going out and taking a chance on buying an instrument for a kid who has not yet started and who may have no talent or desire, get a keyboard from a friend, or buy something that is a couple hundred dollars.

Then I get some of these kids. Now, as you all can guess, MOST of these kids do not show any huge promise, or desire, or talent, or will power. Would they do better if they had an expensive grand at home? Maybe. But some of them simply are spoiled, lazy or innately so unmusical that the best instrument in the universe would not help them.

On the other hand, now and then we get a kid who just won't give up. That kid will do the best s/he can on an instrument that would stop most people, then people get excited and pitch in. Starting on a crap keyboard - one of those blow the keys down with a weak breath and not enough keys and a tinny sound - does not mean staying on it.

I think most of you work with kids who are way more entitled than most of the ones I start.

I started on a Hardman Peck, quite literally from nearly the century before. It only had 85 keys. It had sticky keys, and it was out of tune, although my parents did get a tech to try to make it work as well as possible

If I had to play on it today, I would quit. I'd rather play on any good 88 key weighted keyboard, a decent one, than that Hardman Peck.

It's all relative.

But yes, playing on any keyboard today just makes me dream of getting back to a grand. Even an upright frustrates me to the point that I don't want to play.

Once you play on a grand, and you master that playing, you just can't go back - not to perform and not to get the full range of sound and touch and everything else.

But the crap instrument was all I had when I started. It was sent down from NY by my aunt. My parents at that time had no money for such an instrument.

Later my parents got a Knight upright, so I only played on a grand in lessons, until I got into FSU. And having only the upright really hurt me, because the Steinway A felt heavy, sluggish, slow, and it caused tension. The instrument was excellent, but I could not master it only playing it in a lesson.

Once I got to FSU I had access to grands, and for the first time I had a chance to compete with other students who grew up with grands in their homes.

Anyone playing on an upright and then trying to enter the world of serious students playing on grands is playing catch-up, in a really huge and serious way.

But the other side of this is that I almost get the feeling that most teachers here would have given up on me because I did not have a grand at home.

I am torn between agreeing that a good grand is by far the best way to go, always, when navigating through the serious classical music world - and also wanting to stand up for all the people who come from a background where the best possible instrument is not an option.

I don't want to see the idea promoted that for anyone who for ANY reason can't get a first-class instrument, the world of music is forbidden, off limits, impossible, etc.

About teaching on uprights:

When Chopin taught on his upright - remember HE played on the upright while his students played on the grand - you can bet that he sounded a whole universe better on the upright. I also think it is highly unlikely that he considered the upright a truly inferior instrument.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 04:34 AM

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Then I get some of these kids. Now, as you all can guess, MOST of these kids do not show any huge promise, or desire, or talent, or will power. Would they do better if they had an expensive grand at home? Maybe. But some of them simply are spoiled, lazy or innately so unmusical that the best instrument in the universe would not help them.

I think this last point (my underline) is something we can all agree on.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 08:06 AM

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
I am torn between agreeing that a good grand is by far the best way to go, always, when navigating through the serious classical music world - and also wanting to stand up for all the people who come from a background where the best possible instrument is not an option.



The bold font is my modification, don't blame Gary for that.

Is navigating the serious classical world the only reason for piano lessons?

Is it even the best reason for piano lessons?

That sounds a bit elitist to me.

I live in a middle ground musical world, that area between the enrichment activity student and the high level artist. My peers play in amateur groups, well short of name recording artist groups, but often paid performance - stuff like wedding dances, Easter services, community wind ensemble and orchestra concerts, etc. Most of us put in considerable effort to be competent enough to handle our part of the team, but lack the talent and time to perform at the highest levels. Still, we play in public, a lot.

If we play keyboards on a gig (mostly I'm on brass, my public piano has been in churches) a high percentage will be on a digital and a grand will be exceedingly rare. In a large venue an acoustic piano cannot compete and will have to be miked anyway.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 09:53 AM

TimR, you've taken a post which talks primarily about people often not able to have top instruments, and speaking on behalf of them, and then quoted one part where you highlight a section and infer that it is elitist, and then write against that inferred elitist thus:
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
I am torn between agreeing that a good grand is by far the best way to go, always, when navigating through the serious classical music world - and also wanting to stand up for all the people who come from a background where the best possible instrument is not an option.

What if you changed the highlight thus:
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
I am torn between agreeing that a good grand is by far the best way to go, always, when navigating through the serious classical music world - and also wanting to stand up for all the people who come from a background where the best possible instrument is not an option.

and then try continuing in your statement against the "elitism". I think you missed the point of the post.

In a teacher forum, many teachers will be teaching classical music, and those that do have also been advocating for grand pianos. Gary is addressing all the teachers, including those who teach such literature, and who have been arguing that grands is the only way to go. Some have even stated that they would not accept a student who doesn't have a grand. If you read the whole text then you will see that he is arguing that even students wanting to play such literature but do not have access to quality grand pianos, that even these students should not be dismissed. The entire post is as far removed from elitist as can be.

It has happened to me more than once that when I write a longer post in an effort to be clear about my ideas, that someone will quote a part in a way that the meaning of the post is lost. Seeing it happen here, I thought I would step in because I do not at all see the meaning that you implied.
Originally Posted By: TimR
If we play keyboards on a gig (mostly I'm on brass, my public piano has been in churches) a high percentage will be on a digital and a grand will be exceedingly rare. In a large venue an acoustic piano cannot compete and will have to be miked anyway.

This in no way argues against the suggestion that people with only digitals can make it in music study, whether classical or otherwise.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 10:18 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring
In a teacher forum, many teachers will be teaching classical music, and those that do have also been advocating for grand pianos.


keystring,
Your points are quite valid.

I went on this tangent because I seem to have a quite different slant on amateur music.

I have perceived for some time that much of the Teacher's Forum mindset is oriented towards that <1% of students who will proceed to the highest classical levels. And any poster who asserts a grand is necessary from the beginning for these students will get no argument from me - I have no interest in those students.

That leaves 99% of students who will never play any Rachmaninov. <g> Do any of them need a grand?

Not sure. But, there are a huge number of enrichment students who will put in there 2 - 4 years to make their parents happy, then drop and never touch a piano again. That's okay, their lives have benefitted and their teacher's economics been improved.

And then there is potentially a middle group like myself that never gets talked about, hobby musicians that aspire to competence rather artistry, who enjoy playing in public, who may prefer digitals for much of their performing because of how it enhances what we do.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 10:24 AM

Gary, thanks for the fine post. You covered a lot of ground there. A couple of thoughts.

People initially wanted uprights because of space considerations, not financial considerations. If you were to build a one-off of a grand and also of an upright, totally from scratch, the upright would be slightly more expensive because of it's more complex construction. Uprights today are less expensive due to production economies of scale. Additionally, grands are seen as "status symbols" so vendors add a premium to them. When Nikolas & I were doing the Frankfurt Musikmesse together a couple years ago, you could purchase a wholesale grand from China for around $2,000. While these weren't great instruments, they would have been great for beginners. You can imagine what would have happened to the piano market had someone elected to purchase a couple hundred thousand of them and start to flood the market with $4,000 grands.

I can visualize the the advertisements: Perfect instrument for students and adult beginners; diamond plated 90 day warranty; free tuning with purchase, etc.

Speaking of your Hardman Peck: I visited my sister a few years back and she still owns the family piano which we grew up on. It was a 5'8" Krakaurer. Supposedly a respected name and instrument. She had spend a bundle having the action adjusted, etc. When I played it, I couldn't believe that I had learned to play the piano on it. How did I ever learn to play? Then I realized that in my college years, I had great difficulties playing like the professors wanted. Even as an adult teacher, I started out using uprights, albeit relatively higher end models, where touch and technique can be developed and could finally afford an entry level grand in my late 30s. I think a lot of us are in the same boat. However, if I have a family where the child shows ability if not talent, and the parents have the financial resources, I most certainly encourage them to switch over just as soon as they can adjust their budget.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 12:55 PM

Originally Posted By: TimR

keystring,
Your points are quite valid.

I went on this tangent because I seem to have a quite different slant on amateur music.

I have perceived for some time that much of the Teacher's Forum mindset is oriented towards that <1% of students who will proceed to the highest classical levels. And any poster who asserts a grand is necessary from the beginning for these students will get no argument from me - I have no interest in those students.

That leaves 99% of students who will never play any Rachmaninov. <g> Do any of them need a grand?

Not sure. But, there are a huge number of enrichment students who will put in there 2 - 4 years to make their parents happy, then drop and never touch a piano again. That's okay, their lives have benefitted and their teacher's economics been improved.

And then there is potentially a middle group like myself that never gets talked about, hobby musicians that aspire to competence rather artistry, who enjoy playing in public, who may prefer digitals for much of their performing because of how it enhances what we do.

I am thinking that probably in teaching piano for students of any aspirations, there is a set of literature that has been commonly used for a long time that many teachers reach for. You would have the method books, or programs like the RCM (which I'm most familiar with). It's not that they expect most of their students to become classical performers, but that this material is "out there" and that's the familiar routine.

I'd like to learn to play a variety of kinds of music even if I lean toward the classics. Above all, in an instrument I revel in being able to do many things with it by way of expression. The grand piano would be my piano of choice. The reality is that it is out of my reach. Meanwhile a digital is in many ways a different instrument, and its nature should be explored and worked with in order to master that instrument, and use it to its full potential. Also, there are many things that can be learned using a digital that are also used on an acoustic. For example, I have learned how to pedal, what kind of timing is involved, what to listen for etc. When I get to an acoustic, I should be able to refine this.
Posted by: laguna_greg

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 01:34 PM

Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg

2- The existing switching assemblies used in most keyboard actions throws off the timing of the vertical keystroke ...It's different on every make of keyboard....it trains the player to mis-time the keystroke in every instrument they play....This kind of keystroke mis-timing is also responsible for a good deal of injury in keyboard players.[/u]


I would like to understand this. Do you mean there is a latency between the keystroke and production of the sound, that the manufactures are unable to eliminate? And different broads have different latencies. When playing between broad, they will be confused by the different latencies and possibly hurt themselves?


Hi The,

Let's describe it this way. On a grand action, the let-off is set within the first third of the stroke. That's where sound happens, and it's a standard on every well-regulated grand action. Uprights very successfully mimic this point of regulation even though they do not use gravity to function. So all acoustic pianos in good repair have their point of sound set to the same place. It's also an excellent place to put it, as 1- it promotes the minimal use of muscular effort in the correctly trained player and, 2- the mechanism itself can be used to utmost efficiency.

Not so in electronic keyboards. Many of them have their switching set somewhere at the bottom of the stroke, and this promotes a mist-timing of the keystroke referred to as keybedding. Keybedding can give you a very nice case of tendinitis in the upper arm (tricep), shoulder, and even in the neck. It can also promote excessive flexion in the fingers and cause problems there. It also causes the player to use excessive force in the keystroke, wasting a lot of energy and promoting fatigue and technical dysfunction.

Some manufacturers set the switching very high in the action, which promotes hovering. That will give you tendinitis in the bicep, anterior deltoid, and promote excessive extension in the fingers and all the problems that go with it, including a lot of technical dysfunction at the other extreme.

The new hybrid actions I've played also do not successfully mimic the let-off adjustment in the grand action. They just plain don't have one. I have to assume that the design engineers who put these actions together did not think this was an important feature to retain.

Other lesser designs don't even pretend to mimic the piano action, even if the keys are weighted. Also, this feature in the electronic action cannot be regulated after manufacture. The point of sound is set wherever it is when it comes out of the box, and you're stuck with it!

I don't know if this makes any sense to you. I've got a couple of appointments now that I have to attend to, but I can write more later if you like.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 01:59 PM

greg,
That is a new concept to me, and I'm not convinced everybody agrees with the technical details.

I would encourage you to repost over on the Digital Pianos forum and generate some discussion.
Posted by: laguna_greg

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 02:18 PM

Tim,

Why would I even want do that? All I'm going to get there is an argument from people with an agenda, who really don't know what they're talking about in the first place.

The idea of the "point of sound" is about 130 years old and started with Matthay. Today, it's a technical factor discussed and taught by the most celebrated teachers in this country, and in leading conservatories. I myself have more than enough clinical experience with these issues, in both trainees and equipment, to know that this is indeed the case.

Heck, any good piano technician will tell you this is so!

While I can appreciate your skepticism Tim, it would behoove you to find out if I'm right or not, instead of rejecting it out of hand just because you haven't heard of it.

Look, if you're having trouble about me making pronouncements on this subject, click on the link to my day-job below and see if I don't have a basis for forming an opinion.
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 02:46 PM

Thanks Greg for taking your time to explain the escapement mechanism from the ergonomic point of view, it is very enlightening.

So if I understand you correctly:
The similarity between a digital and an acoustic are: if you press a key, it makes noise, if you hit the key harder, it sounds louder, if you hold the key longer, the noise last longer, but the similarity ends there.

The subtle escapement mechanism is not (at least no properly) replicated in the digitals. Since some/many of the advanced techniques are built based on the escapement mechanism, thus it cannot be developed on a digital.

Is this a fair statement to summarize your position?
Posted by: TimR

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 03:10 PM

Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Is this a fair statement to summarize your position?


That's only half of his position.

The other half is the physiological half, that the finger does not press the key down at a constant rate or constant force, but during normal play it adjusts its force curve to the force curve of the key mechanism, regardless of whether you are a Whiteside arm weight whole body proponent, or a finger centric coin-on-the-wrist Letischetski fan.

And the conclusion is that only the force curve of the grand piano key mechanism is ergonomically correct, and any other mechanism will produce injury.

That's all quite possibly true. But......it wouldn't seem unreasonable to approach it a bit skeptically at first, albeit with an open mind.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 03:15 PM

Tim, that's only the half the creates the sound. Silence is also part of music, and the half which creates that are the dampers. When the damper pedal is not depressed, the pianist totally controls the descent of the individual damper, thus the tail end of the sound heard by the listener. This half of sound production is totally ignored, not only by teachers, pianists, but by many so-called artists, which is why their music isn't satisfactory in the long run.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 03:43 PM

Ah. So you're saying I need to also consider the velocity curve of the lift of the individual key.

If I understand what you're saying, the hammer strikes the string, it is an impact. The speed of the hammer before impact determines the result. But while the damper contacts the string at a given point in the key lift, it can be placed on the string with a bit of control?

I don't think I'm at the skill level where I focus on key lift much. I'm pretty pleased with myself when I get the right key down.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 03:56 PM

Tim, go to your piano and play/hold a note. Now, slowly release the key and listen to the "tail" of the sound. Try a fast release. Try a variety of releases. BTW, I almost hate to say this, but on a grand, where the dampers are controlled by gravity, not springs, you can achieve a much greater consistency. The biggest problem is that most pianists don't actually listen to the sound coming from their instrument, but rather hear the sound they want to hear in their minds. A true artist knows the sound he wants to hear before playing a key, then listens to see if the sound he's producing matches what he was going for. This ain't easy, as they say, which is why we have so few true artists in the world.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 04:05 PM

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Tim, that's only the half the creates the sound. Silence is also part of music, and the half which creates that are the dampers. When the damper pedal is not depressed, the pianist totally controls the descent of the individual damper, thus the tail end of the sound heard by the listener. This half of sound production is totally ignored, not only by teachers, pianists, but by many so-called artists, which is why their music isn't satisfactory in the long run.


A note starts, continues and ends. Note 1 is followed by note 2 which is followed by note 3. Something happens between note 1 and note 2. Either there is a silence between them (basic definition of staccato), or note 2 starts just as note 3 ends, or note 1 blends briefly into note 3 before it disappears (moving into legato). How long note 1 lasts to create these possibilities depends on how long the damper stays up before silencing that string. This is done either by holding down the piano key, or through the sustain pedal.

I think this is what you are describing John, correct?

This part does get mimicked by digital pianos, though I don't know how perfectly.

L G was talking about another thing, namely that on digital pianos you have to press the key down a long way before any sound comes out. I imagine that on an acoustic - esp. grand - in addition to this happening earlier, there is probably a variety in how deep you go depending on what you do. If you cannot do a "quick, shallow brushing of the keys" because you always have to dig down, then this affects how you play and also how you can use your arm mechanism. This is something that I do experience with my digital, and it does present some limitations to what I can do.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 04:26 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring

L G was talking about another thing, namely that on digital pianos you have to press the key down a long way before any sound comes out. I imagine that on an acoustic - esp. grand - in addition to this happening earlier, there is probably a variety in how deep you go depending on what you do. If you cannot do a "quick, shallow brushing of the keys" because you always have to dig down, then this affects how you play and also how you can use your arm mechanism. This is something that I do experience with my digital, and it does present some limitations to what I can do.


That varies from digital to digital. It does not seem to be a problem on my P500; I've played some Clavinovas that felt that way.

I try to play on any piano I can get away with. My perception, granted a very non expert one, is that there is a HUGE difference in key feel/action between individual pianos. The between piano variation is larger than the between type variation. (Two acoustics will often be more different than an acoustic and a digital, or an upright and a grand.) When I had a church job, my digital was very similar to the church's grand, and very very dissimilar to my teacher's spinet, and all three were pretty far from the beat up upright the church had in the basement.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 04:29 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Tim, that's only the half the creates the sound. Silence is also part of music, and the half which creates that are the dampers. When the damper pedal is not depressed, the pianist totally controls the descent of the individual damper, thus the tail end of the sound heard by the listener. This half of sound production is totally ignored, not only by teachers, pianists, but by many so-called artists, which is why their music isn't satisfactory in the long run.


A note starts, continues and ends. Note 1 is followed by note 2 which is followed by note 3. Something happens between note 1 and note 2. Either there is a silence between them (basic definition of staccato), or note 2 starts just as note 3 ends, or note 1 blends briefly into note 3 before it disappears (moving into legato). How long note 1 lasts to create these possibilities depends on how long the damper stays up before silencing that string. This is done either by holding down the piano key, or through the sustain pedal.

I think this is what you are describing John, correct?



If so, I misunderstood John. I heard him as saying the end of note 1 can be influenced by the rate at which you allow the damper to silence the string. I will test this as soon as I can. On several pianos of course.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 05:05 PM

Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Tim, that's only the half the creates the sound. Silence is also part of music, and the half which creates that are the dampers. When the damper pedal is not depressed, the pianist totally controls the descent of the individual damper, thus the tail end of the sound heard by the listener. This half of sound production is totally ignored, not only by teachers, pianists, but by many so-called artists, which is why their music isn't satisfactory in the long run.


A note starts, continues and ends. Note 1 is followed by note 2 which is followed by note 3. Something happens between note 1 and note 2. Either there is a silence between them (basic definition of staccato), or note 2 starts just as note 3 ends, or note 1 blends briefly into note 3 before it disappears (moving into legato). How long note 1 lasts to create these possibilities depends on how long the damper stays up before silencing that string. This is done either by holding down the piano key, or through the sustain pedal.

I think this is what you are describing John, correct?



If so, I misunderstood John. I heard him as saying the end of note 1 can be influenced by the rate at which you allow the damper to silence the string. I will test this as soon as I can. On several pianos of course.


I believe I am talking about the same thing, but dwelling more on the starting point. First, John was saying that teachers and students often don't consider this part. Well - duration of a note - we consider it to some degree in the sense that we know that if you have a half note followed by a quarter note, you can't start the quarter note until two beats have passed for the half note. But when to actually end the sound - that's what I think John is saying people don't consider enough.

That's the first part. The second part then is how to end that sound, namely via the piano key that lifts the damper off the string, or the sustain pedal. It's the same issue.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 05:41 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring
A note starts, continues and ends. Note 1 is followed by note 2 which is followed by note 3. Something happens between note 1 and note 2. Either there is a silence between them (basic definition of staccato), or note 2 starts just as note 3 ends, or note 1 blends briefly into note 3 before it disappears (moving into legato). How long note 1 lasts to create these possibilities depends on how long the damper stays up before silencing that string. This is done either by holding down the piano key, or through the sustain pedal.

I think this is what you are describing John, correct?

Unfortunately not. I'm trying to bring to this discussion the importance of the sound as the damper ends the note, and how this is done.

The damper is not an on and off switch. How rapidly it comes down, and how far it comes down and begins to touch the vibrating string, has a huge impact on the sound at the end of the note. The end of the note is just as important as the beginning of the note (ie, the attack sound). Believe it or not, your ear hears that, whether your brain differentiates it or not, and it does impact the quality of sound produced by the pianist.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/04/13 08:27 PM

I have just tried this on a digital (and will compare it to an acoustic a bit later.)

On this old (20 years) but originally good quality digital, it makes a considerable difference how I lift off the key.

If I do so very quickly, I get an abrupt end to the tone.

If I do so more carefully, I get a little bit of a taper to the sound.

On this digital, I do not get fine gradations of taper. I get basically a binary choice between choppy and tapered. It may be that I can get a finer distinction with an acoustic or a more modern digital, I'll test that too.

keystring plays violin I believe, and my primary instrument is trombone. On either one we can start a note piannissimo, crescendo gradually to ff, and decrescendo back down. That option isn't available on a single note on piano, though of course you can do it over a phrase. But I see you can affect the ending of a note to some extent (and maybe I've done so without consciously realizing it.)
Posted by: laguna_greg

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/05/13 12:03 AM

Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Thanks Greg for taking your time to explain the escapement mechanism from the ergonomic point of view, it is very enlightening.

So if I understand you correctly:
The similarity between a digital and an acoustic are: if you press a key, it makes noise, if you hit the key harder, it sounds louder, if you hold the key longer, the noise last longer, but the similarity ends there.

The subtle escapement mechanism is not (at least no properly) replicated in the digitals. Since some/many of the advanced techniques are built based on the escapement mechanism, thus it cannot be developed on a digital.

Is this a fair statement to summarize your position?


No, there's more to it than that.

Under current conditions, the factor that influences dynamic shading in an acoustic grand piano action is not brute force, but rather velocity. Speed determines dynamic color, not force. The faster you go down, the louder the sound is on most grand pianos in good regulation, found anywhere in the world. The slower you go down, the quieter sound is. Even if you aim at the same "point of sound" where the let-off is set every single time, you can still get all these dynamic shadings just by altering the speed of the descent. If you change the point you aim for, either a bit higher or lower than the let-off, you get different colors of sound, from transparent to thick. Couple that with changes in the speed of the descent, and you have an enormous range of expression strictly in the sounds produced by a standard grand action.

I have yet to see any electronic action regulated to this degree of responsiveness. Heck, most of them are "pressure-sensitive", which means that their "point of sound" is set to the very bottom of the key! This is deleterious in so many ways, physiologically/ musically/technically, I don't have time to list them all. I will say that, if you think it's a matter of force, then you are doing too much. My teachers were very fond of saying that "fortissimo should feel like pianissimo!" even on an electronic keyboard. Otherwise, you're going to get injured.

When the player moves from such a keyboard to an acoustic instrument, this kind of bad keystroke timing actually encourages a harsh, inexpressive sound, and an inability to control the dynamic shadings and articulation on every note. It's one of the complaints I have about most pop and jazz players. They have a very poor ability to 1- control their articulation , 2- they can't really move in speed with much consistency, and 3- they can't control their tone color all.

This is the kind of playing we are supposed to be encouraging in our students? No mater who or what they are???
Posted by: laguna_greg

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/05/13 12:07 AM

Originally Posted By: TimR

That option isn't available on a single note on piano, though of course you can do it over a phrase. But I see you can affect the ending of a note to some extent (and maybe I've done so without consciously realizing it.)


And so we finally begin to discuss in practical terms the engineering design limitations of the electronic keyboard you are playing at the time.

Amazing how it doesn't begin to mimic what actually happens on an acoustic piano.
Posted by: laguna_greg

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/05/13 12:54 AM

Originally Posted By: TimR


That varies from digital to digital. It does not seem to be a problem on my P500; I've played some Clavinovas that felt that way.



As I said, there is no industry standard for these switching assemblies. And they cannot be regulated by technicians in the field.

As for the grand actions you've played, these are out of regulation. And they can be adjusted by any competent technician.
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/05/13 12:56 AM

Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Heck, most of them are "pressure-sensitive", which means that their "point of sound" is set to the very bottom of the key! This is deleterious in so many ways, physiologically/ musically/technically, I don't have time to list them all.


If I understood it correctly, nowadays, most, if not all, of the broads uses 2 or 3 optical sensors to measure the velocity, not the pressure. But probably true, most people just hit the key with more force all the way to the bottom to get the speed, but many has the same habit on the acoustic too.

Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
I will say that, if you think it's a matter of force, then you are doing too much. My teachers were very fond of saying that "fortissimo should feel like pianissimo!" even on an electronic keyboard. Otherwise, you're going to get injured.


Insightful, thanks!

I am curious, while you help the jazz, pop players to recover, did you convert them to acoustics? Or they just learned to play in a way that doesn't hurt themselves anymore?
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/05/13 01:25 AM

I managed to try 5 pianos today grin

1 digital, 3 uprights, and a grand.

The grand has the best dynamic range, it is also the loudest. On all other pianos, you can make them soft (or almost as soft), but you can't make them that loud. Action aside, I think the maximum volume also plays an important role.

One larger upright was also pretty good.

Another upright has a very shallow keys, a bit difficult for me to manage the dynamics.

The third upright has a very heavy action for some reason, I also have difficulties to control the dynamics.

All 4 acoustics feels differently, the similarity is that the when you press down a key, the resistance is not constant, especially when I press the key slowly, the let off feeling is obvious.

I was able to control the dynamics, actually better than at least one upright, on the digital. But the key resistance on the digital is constant, it has the same resistance level from the beginning, until hitting the bottom.

All 5 pianos gave me different feelings, the digital gave me a distinct different feelings, I have to say it is not as lively, probably because the constant resistance.



Posted by: TimR

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/05/13 07:59 AM

Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Originally Posted By: TimR

That option isn't available on a single note on piano, though of course you can do it over a phrase. But I see you can affect the ending of a note to some extent (and maybe I've done so without consciously realizing it.)


And so we finally begin to discuss in practical terms the engineering design limitations of the electronic keyboard you are playing at the time.


Actually, that's an area where the digital can have an advantage. It's perfectly possible to program them to have any kind of taper on either end of the note, crescendo or decrescendo on one note, or bend the pitch between notes. None of that can be done on the acoustic.

Whether the ability to do different tapers on the end of the note with the damper is a limitation is merely a guess at this point. It can't be a huge advantage on any acoustic - there just isn't enough cushion on the damper nor time between notes - even assuming you don't pedal.

Quote:
Amazing how it doesn't begin to mimic what actually happens on an acoustic piano.


That's really two different concepts.

It remains to be seen how well digital pianos mimic damper release. Modern ones do string resonance pretty well; this is just programming. Mine is an early 80s version, still going strong, but way behind the times.

Inherent in your statement is the idea that the purpose of the digital is to mimic the acoustic. That is not necessarily so. The piano does not mimic the harpsichord, clavichord, or organ; it is its own instrument. The digital may evolve this way as well.

You did point out that playing into the keybed has been said to be an injury risk. I haven't seen any real evidence that anybody is more likely to do that on a digital. But interestingly enough some digitals are designed to allow that. Mine has performance voices (that I never use) that add an additional effect when you do that.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/05/13 09:21 AM

Originally Posted By: TimR
It can't be a huge advantage on any acoustic - there just isn't enough cushion on the damper nor time between notes - even assuming you don't pedal.

Actually, there is, and because of it, this is one of the important differences between artistically musical playing and amateur playing. Many artists pick up on it, without formal training, because, well, they're geniuses. The rest of us rely on someone teaching us to be aware of and how to control this in our playing.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/05/13 01:26 PM

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: TimR
It can't be a huge advantage on any acoustic - there just isn't enough cushion on the damper nor time between notes - even assuming you don't pedal.

Actually, there is, and because of it, this is one of the important differences between artistically musical playing and amateur playing. Many artists pick up on it, without formal training, because, well, they're geniuses. The rest of us rely on someone teaching us to be aware of and how to control this in our playing.

And it's one of the hardest things to teach piano students!! Pedaling is an art. I just watched a demonstration on Youtube in which the presenter was teaching how to use all 3 pedals at the same time. Most amateur players never get this far in repertoire.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/05/13 03:21 PM

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: TimR
It can't be a huge advantage on any acoustic - there just isn't enough cushion on the damper nor time between notes - even assuming you don't pedal.

Actually, there is, and because of it, this is one of the important differences between artistically musical playing and amateur playing. Many artists pick up on it, without formal training, because, well, they're geniuses. The rest of us rely on someone teaching us to be aware of and how to control this in our playing.


I will "listen with big ears" for this.
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/05/13 05:53 PM

An interesting article from WSJ

Please note there is a video tab, a stock quote tab(of course it is WSJ), and a comment tab.
Posted by: rlinkt

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/05/13 11:18 PM

So now that you have done the experiment, what's your verdict?
- If you are an early stage student, what would you prefer to learn on?
- If you are already an expert, would you prefer to play on a daily basis?
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/06/13 02:03 AM

Well, a nice grand is the best, the bigger the better :-), in a big house.

Some uprights I tried, the one in the basement of our church, the one in my uncle's house, the one in my friends home, they all works, but to be honest, they are not very enjoyable. The keys are very heavy, some of them are uneven. Some of them, the let off is a bit too strong to the point that is annoying.

My friend brought an house, came with it was a beautiful looking antique grand piano, but you can only play slow motion on it.

I visit piano dealers whenever I have a chance, any acoustic that feels and sounds better to me than a $1,000 digital, will cost $5,000 or more.

I also discussed with our teacher, her take was:
Having a grand is not enough to make a pianist, having a digital, is not going to destroy one.
She understands the concerns that learning on a digital will form some bad habits, her observation is that doesn't happen. As a student advances, as some point he and she will prefer a good acoustic and she saw no issue with the transition.

rlink, to answer your questions:
- If you are an early stage student, what would you prefer to learn on?
Well, you know my answer if there no constrains.
I think as long as the instrument is "bigger" than the student. Honestly I don't think a 6' grand or a Casio will make a difference to a normal 4 year old.
I do believe it is important to make sure a student does not out grow his instrument, at some point, a good quality acoustic is necessary, for some, at some point, a top quality grand would become a must.

- If you are already an expert, would you prefer to play on a daily basis?
I would guess I could make anything sound impressive since I am an expert, right? Sorry, if I am an expert, I would not have started this thread.

You didn't ask what I like as who I am, let me also answer that:
I would like an instrument that I can enjoy. I really enjoy the grands in the piano stores, I cannot honestly say the same to my friend's antique grand except it is really nice to look at. My uncle's.....

I am still enjoying the digitals, and unfortunately I enjoy the software pianos even better, but let's not go there.

I hope one day, one day I will only like the grands, I might need to practice a lot more to get there.

Thanks everyone that bothered to answer my questions, I better go practice now.
Posted by: landorrano

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/06/13 05:26 PM

Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Honestly I don't think a 6' grand or a Casio will make a difference to a normal 4 year old.


Good evening. In my opinion there definitely is a difference for a normal 4 year-old. Not just between a grand and a digital but also between an upright and a digital. A four year-old can go under the piano and pluck or strike the strings, he can play a key and listen from below, he can hear the difference when the lid is open or closed, he can see it being tuned, he can see the accumulation of dust. These aspects of a piano definitely are perceived by small kids and suscitate their interest, I would suppose much more than for big kids or adults.

The differences in touch in different parts of the keyboard. The various sounds the piano makes. The imperfections, buzzings for example, or out of tune notes, these all go into a child's mind. The physical volume of the sound.
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/06/13 07:18 PM

That aspect.... I have to agree.
I still remember vividly my father's dark room, and the first time I saw the film magically turn into a smiling face. Those Kodak moments I will always remember.

I managed to find a roll of 30mm film and show it to my 7 year old son, he was super excited and brought it to school for show&tell. No students in his class has seen it.

Some people argue nothing can replace the black and white, I agree. But I also love my digital SLR nevertheless.

Continue with the thought, if you paid attention to the parallel thread The future of piano playing?, I can't help to imagine 70 years later, when the mind controlled piano becomes the norm, my son tells his grandson the good old days : "do you know once a upon a time, pianos have keys.....". I probably won't see that day, might be it is a good thing?!

Sorry I couldn't resist.
Posted by: laguna_greg

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/06/13 09:45 PM

Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Originally Posted By: TimR

That option isn't available on a single note on piano, though of course you can do it over a phrase. But I see you can affect the ending of a note to some extent (and maybe I've done so without consciously realizing it.)


And so we finally begin to discuss in practical terms the engineering design limitations of the electronic keyboard you are playing at the time.


Actually, that's an area where the digital can have an advantage....That's really two different concepts.


Inherent in your statement is the idea that the purpose of the digital is to mimic the acoustic.

You did point out that playing into the keybed has been said to be an injury risk. I haven't seen any real evidence that anybody is more likely to do that on a digital.


I don't really know why I'm bothering to respond, considering that it's apparent that 1- you haven't really read my posts very carefully, 2- you don't care to, and 3- you don't know anything about the prevalence or cause of injury among keyboard players of any kind. And you haven't bothered to find out.

I pray fervently that you never get to know what I'm talking about personally. In all seriousness, this is not an outcome I'd wish on any anybody who plays seriously.

The reason that it's best if digital keyboards mimic the action of the grand piano is because of neuromuscular efficiency. It is possible to use the grand action in the most efficient way possible, where the least amount of neuromuscular, metabolic energy can expended to produce the most amount of effect, provided that the keystroke timing is performed correctly. The electronic action should at a minimum be able to do this, or better. It should promote as great, or greater, neuromuscular efficiency in the performer. I have not yet seen an example in the field, clinic or lab that actually does this.

Your "answers" about the digital/acoustical taper have nothing to do with the physio-mechanical aspect of playing. That is very unfortunate, because that's precisely the aspect I'm talking about. These are not two different concepts and, to the performer, they cannot be. To make them disparate is to create dysfunction in the technique, and ultimately produce fatigue and injury in the performer.

If you want to argue the point further, then respond with an answer about that last point.

Tellingly, you don't find anything from the manufacturers about the injury rates experienced from their keyboards. Now if this were computer keyboards in the 1990s, and musicians or keyboard manufacturers had any money to speak of (neither do), there would have been piles and piles of lawsuits, as there were. It's not that there isn't a good deal of research done on the subject. It's just that they'd prefer that you don't read about it before buying, just like IBM, Compaq and Dell.

Had you even been born then? And by the way, I think Keith Emmerson would argue the point with you, considering he got epicondylitis rather badly that became dystonia from playing mostly electronic keyboards. And the list goes on and on and...
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/07/13 12:57 AM

Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
It is possible to use the grand action in the most efficient way possible, where the least amount of neuromuscular, metabolic energy can expended to produce the most amount of effect, provided that the keystroke timing is performed correctly.


Greg, are you saying that even a baby grand would be better than ANY upright?
Posted by: laguna_greg

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/07/13 02:24 AM

Actually, as I've posted previously, the well regulated upright action successfully mimics the grand action in every respect except speed of response. It's a little slower than the grand action because of its design limitations. But nothing that the player cannot adjust to easily.
Posted by: landorrano

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/07/13 03:33 AM

Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
when the mind controlled piano becomes the norm, my son tells his grandson the good old days : "do you know once a upon a time, pianos have keys.....". I probably won't see that day, might be it is a good thing?!


Maybe, but I'll bet that your great-grandson, doing his space-scales up on planet Virtuelle, will have an old-fashioned whistle attached to his utility belt ! Rendez-vous in 2075!
Posted by: TimR

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/08/13 08:31 PM

Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: TimR
It can't be a huge advantage on any acoustic - there just isn't enough cushion on the damper nor time between notes - even assuming you don't pedal.

Actually, there is, and because of it, this is one of the important differences between artistically musical playing and amateur playing. Many artists pick up on it, without formal training, because, well, they're geniuses. The rest of us rely on someone teaching us to be aware of and how to control this in our playing.


I will "listen with big ears" for this.


I played the church's three acoustic pianos today listening for this. (I was there anyway preparing music for the coming handbell choir season).

I had hoped to listen to one of the accomplished players, but the services had only pipe organ.

At any rate, I listened carefully while lifting the keys. All three of the acoustics had damper engagements very similar to that of my old digital - very short distance from full release to full damping. The piano whose tone I like the best (but gets played the least due to location) had the damper engagement at about the same distance from bottom of the key as my digital. The other two pianos were both higher, and the one I liked the least did not engage any damper until almost the very top of travel.

I could shape the notes a little bit on any of them, roughly the same as I can on the digital. It isn't a huge amount, but it does add something to the tone sensation.

Using the damper pedal was much different. There is a large difference between full damper and partial damper that I could not duplicate with finger damper alone. Some of that may be due to string resonances. There were also extreme differences between the three pianos on how well that worked and could be controlled. This level of pedal control is not present on my older digital. I understand that partial pedal is something that has been improved on more modern digitals but I've not had much experience with it.
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/09/13 12:52 AM

Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
when the mind controlled piano becomes the norm, my son tells his grandson the good old days : "do you know once a upon a time, pianos have keys.....". I probably won't see that day, might be it is a good thing?!


Maybe, but I'll bet that your great-grandson, doing his space-scales up on planet Virtuelle, will have an old-fashioned whistle attached to his utility belt ! Rendez-vous in 2075!


Well 70 years from now is 2085.... Sure by all means, only if I can live that long (or the earth can last that long)
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/09/13 01:05 AM

Originally Posted By: TimR
This level of pedal control is not present on my older digital. I understand that partial pedal is something that has been improved on more modern digitals but I've not had much experience with it.


From a 5 year old digital's manual :

Quote:

Key-Off samples provide the delicate sound keys make when they are released. Stereo Sustain samples recreate the resonances of strings and soundboard when the damper pedal is pressed. String Resonance samples provided the rich tones produced when one hammered string causes related strings to ring out in harmony. Using these comprehensive gradations, CLP300 Series models can realistically reproduce the complex sounds of a grand piano.


I think makers of digital actually knew something about this, and have tried.


Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/09/13 02:19 AM

Personally, in this day and place (Greece) I recommend my student's parents to check out digital pianos, if they can't afford an acoustic one. Their usability surpasses that of an acoustic piano, when we're talking about teenagers ready to start exploring the world of computer music. Plus it's much much cheaper, portable, and easier to dispose of actually...

The downside is that since it's a digital machine, in will be outdated pretty quickly, that's it's actually NOT a real piano (which is a real shame) and ultimately that it loses value over time...
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/09/13 03:29 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Personally, in this day and place (Greece) I recommend my student's parents to check out digital pianos, if they can't afford an acoustic one. Their usability surpasses that of an acoustic piano, when we're talking about teenagers ready to start exploring the world of computer music. Plus it's much much cheaper, portable, and easier to dispose of actually...

The downside is that since it's a digital machine, in will be outdated pretty quickly, that's it's actually NOT a real piano (which is a real shame) and ultimately that it loses value over time...

Nikolas, your thoughts (as so often is true) are very close to my own. smile

I have a digital and love using it when I have the energy and will power because it allows me to work late at night, when everyone else is asleep.

In a perfect world we would all have perfect instruments and would have the space, freedom and privacy to play them 24/7. But that's just not my world, and it is not the world of many people I like the best.
Posted by: Ken Knapp

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/09/13 08:04 AM

Back when I was in high school, I wanted to learn how to play piano. We had no piano at home and my dad didn't want to get one. Nor did he want to pay for lessons.

One day the band teacher told me that he would teach me piano if I desired. But how would I practice? I solved the problem by using the acoustic in the music room and the piano lab in the other music room (Wurlitzer Electric Pianos). I would go and practice, usually during study halls.

This lasted about 3 months, until the principal discovered what I was doing and put the kibash on it - she wanted study hall time used for studies. So I had no choice but to stop. In that time I went through three method books. Until the day he died, the band teacher would tell people how proud he was of the progress I made.

I can't help but to wonder what would have happened if I had available to me one of today's digitals.. digital piano, keyboard, anything.. Back when I had the time and did not have to worry about my time being consumed by working to pay bills..

I've seen families opt out of lessons for their kids because a teacher told them acoustic or nothing. I've seen students get discouraged and quit because their instrument was a piece of junk that wouldn't hold a tune or regulation and was no joy to play. Often for the same money a parent can get a student a low cost digital that is always in tune and does not have regulation troubles that the alternative would have.

No matter how much talent a student may have, the desire is often to play for enjoyment or to be in some band - heck, playing in a band might just require knowing three chords.. laugh
Posted by: TimR

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/09/13 08:31 AM

The risk of injury is clearly higher from an acoustic - if you try to move it! I'm no longer available to help friends move a piano, having done it a few too many times.

Playing piano is risky too. The body was not designed to sit, in a fixed position, for hours at a time making thousands of repetitive motions. Injury rates for serious students on acoustic pianos run around 80%. The more hours you put in on any repetitive activity, the more chance of hurting yourself. There isn't any evidence that digitals are better or worse, just speculation. Currently digitals outsell acoustics 4 or 5 to 1, but I would imagine the more serious students are most likely using acoustics.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/09/13 12:17 PM

I was without a piano for 35 years, and had no way of getting one. Finally a "toy" was passed on to me - keys as light as those on a computer keyboard, no touch sensitivity, not enough of them. It was one step up from practising on a cardboard with notes drawn on it and humming. laugh Then I got a digital which was acce$$ible for I think $700. Any note below middle C was double loud, so that I learned to sort of "cringe with the left hand". But at least I could do dynamics. Then finally I got my "entry level" Yamaha. The keys feel much more like an acoustic. In fact, there was an acoustic in the store that I could have gotten for the same price, but - regardless of who played it in the store - it went from loud to louder. The touch and responsiveness of my digital were superior to those of that acoustic. Plus, there is no way that I could actually practice any length of time, given the thin walls and neighbours.

My posts here should indicate that I am dead serious as a student. Unfortunately top pianos are tied to the pocketbook, while dedication has no correlation to the pocketbook.

In an ideal world, the teacher who knows something and wants to teach it, would match up to the student who wants to learn that something and is ready to absorb it, and the availability of the instrument best suited to both. How it's been arranged in our universe, however, is a huge practical joke where any of these three, or all of them, get scattered, and somebody is just killing himself laughing as we scramble. Or else it is a "character creating exercise" because we have not been handed the cards we need, and we should say "thank you".
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/09/13 12:40 PM

Greg, talking about injury, I am still curious if you have converted the recovered pop, jazz players to acoustic or they have learned a way to continue with the keyboard without hurting themselves.

Even on today's entry level digitals, the touch is weighted and very sensitive (or can be adjusted to very sensitive). I was able to play them with very light touches, not feeling much of the "bottom bounce" feeling with some decent speed. Actions on some (poorly maintained?) acoustics can be very heavy, and require much more effort on my fingers, and I can't play as fast, not with the same light touches.

One presumed benefit of acoustic over keyboard is that acoustic builds "finger strength", but would that also increase the chance of injury?

Or it is the "fortissimo should feel pianissimo" technique makes everything effortless on the fingers? Is that technique not possible to acquire from or apply to a digital at all?
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/09/13 01:19 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Then I got a digital which was acce$$ible for I think $700. Any note below middle C was double loud, so that I learned to sort of "cringe with the left hand". But at least I could do dynamics.


I suspect this is a while ago. The price for entry level digitals from many big name makers, including yamaha, has dropped to $700 level. With a 2 year payment term, it is accessible to virtually every household in the 'developed" countries. Hopefully no longer any one is denied the opportunity of learning music due to lack of access to an instrument.

If the instrument is a piano or not, is a secondary question one, compare to the accessibility to an instrument.

Nevertheless, from the video of the opening thread, while not the same, they sounded pretty close to me, especially considering the 25+ times price differences.

And once again, the question was not that if a digital is a substitute of a good grand, we all know it is not.

The better the instrument, the better for the student, we all know that too.

When one has to make a compromise, is that really an acoustic of "any kind or condition" is better than any digital?
Even in 2013?
Even after watching the video in the opening thread?


By the way,

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
if they can't afford an acoustic one


There is no such a thing as can't afford an acoustic, not in North America. Visit Craiglist you can find a free (or almost free) acoustic piano, working one, as long as you are willing to move it.
Posted by: Ken Knapp

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/09/13 11:26 PM

Originally Posted By: The Monkeys

There is no such a thing as can't afford an acoustic, not in North America. Visit Craiglist you can find a free (or almost free) acoustic piano, working one, as long as you are willing to move it.


I think I once heard a wise person once say that there is no such thing as a free piano.. laugh
Posted by: rlinkt

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/09/13 11:48 PM

I don't think there is much disagreement about the following preference order for playing classical piano:

good piano > good keyboard > no instrument > injuries

Now on to more interesting stuff ...
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/09/13 11:52 PM

Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
There is no such a thing as can't afford an acoustic, not in North America. Visit Craiglist you can find a free (or almost free) acoustic piano, working one, as long as you are willing to move it.
Well, here it's not N. America. It's not only the issue of money, but also the issue of space. Some places in Greece are too cramped to fit a real acoustic piano.

And, since I've come across a few free pianos in London, when I was scouting for one, they were awful. A digital piano would be a much better choice for me. But alas it was about 10 years ago and I was still stuck with the idea of an acoustic. :-/
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/10/13 12:52 AM

Originally Posted By: rlinkt
I don't think there is much disagreement about the following preference order for playing classical piano:

good piano > good keyboard > no instrument > injuries


Absolutely.

The question was : good keyboard vs poor to mediocre piano.
Especially with the new insight : keyboard == injury
Posted by: TimR

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/10/13 08:07 AM

Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Originally Posted By: rlinkt
I don't think there is much disagreement about the following preference order for playing classical piano:

good piano > good keyboard > no instrument > injuries



Especially with the new insight : keyboard == injury


It is a fact that enough acoustic piano playing usually leads to injury. It is not unreasonable that playing digital the same amount would do so as well. (the really serious students who get injured now are mostly on acoustics, because that's where serious students get to eventually)

It is only speculation that digital might be more risky; insight is too strong a word.
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/10/13 09:10 AM

I still after reading through all the thread with great interest find the mayor question implied in the opening post of this thread unanswered. It concerns the general difference in the capabilities to shape the tone of a piano by varying keystroke and key release movements on a digital and on an acoustic piano, and this possibly impacting the education of the piano student in an uncorrectable way.

As a great artist can produce quite useful expressiveness on a digital piano of nowadays standard, it to me seems obvious that learning on a digital should not impose in general any significant drawback in achieving a good playing technique. Expressiveness is achievable on a modern digital instrument and thus it should be possible to study it on the digital.

The acoustic instrument and the digital instrument students initially in their trainings might emphasize on slightly different aspects of their movements to gain expresiveness on their particular instruments, but afterwards, when changing to the other instrument, only some adaption in this emphasis might be needed. I wouldn´t expect that certain movements couldn´t be apllied anymore or even frustrating a successfull change to the other instrument. Isn´t it just the way that the applied teaching program has to be adopted to the particular situation instead of in general demonizing the use of digital instruments in piano education? Couldn´t we nowadays summarize: same approach, slight adaptation phase, same result?

I am almost apt to say, that if a teacher is not able to well teach a student the piano playing on a modern digital piano, then this teacher would for sure also not be able to properly teach any student on a first class acoustic grand piano.
Posted by: Farmerjones

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/10/13 10:46 AM

So in response to the OP: An acoustic piano moves the air in a different way than does a speaker. The demonstration is miked for the benefit of distribution. If there is an electronic circuit involved in the demonstration, all bets are off. If I were standing in that studio, I would assure you I could tell the difference. I don't care about key acceleration, or pedal modulation, if there is a speaker involved, one is at the mercy of it. When in the presence of an acoustic piano, one feels it. As I said, an acoustic piano produces it's sound differently from a speaker, or speakers.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/10/13 11:04 AM

Originally Posted By: Farmerjones
As I said, an acoustic piano produces it's sound differently from a speaker, or speakers.


That is certainly true.

Ah, do you ever listen to a CD of a piano performance?

That's a mere digital reproduction. But except for our own playing, and the rare expensive concert, much of our listening to piano IS a digital reproduction.
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/10/13 01:52 PM

Originally Posted By: Marco M
I still after reading through all the thread with great interest find the mayor question implied in the opening post of this thread unanswered. It concerns the general difference in the capabilities to shape the tone of a piano by varying keystroke and key release movements on a digital and on an acoustic piano, and this possibly impacting the education of the piano student in an uncorrectable way.


While the question is not directly answered, I think the answer is clearly implied, for the responses (and the lack of the responses) :

Get a good piano.

A keyboard is not a piano, a poor piano is a poor piano. Good luck if you are stuck with them, but get yourself out as soon as you can.


I take it. I didn't come here to argue, but to seek honest answers, whatever the answer is.




Posted by: TimR

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/10/13 04:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Marco M
I still after reading through all the thread with great interest find the mayor question implied in the opening post of this thread unanswered. It concerns the general difference in the capabilities to shape the tone of a piano by varying keystroke and key release movements on a digital and on an acoustic piano,


Shape the tone is unfortunate terminology. There is a lot of good research showing that tone shaping on an acoustic is not as possible as is assumed. And tone shaping (well, decay of tone shaping) by key lift does not seem to be much different between digitals and acoustics. It is really not tone shaping as much as nuances of dynamics (and in the case of the grand, repetition rate) that people find different.

We should also note that playing on an in-tune piano at a very early age can develop perfect pitch. An acoustic piano starts going out of the tune one minute after being tuned. If tuned regularly and maintained in a constant humidity environment, they may not go far enough out of tune to matter, but the reality is that most students play on less well maintained pianos. Many older pianos (most of the free ones) cannot be brought all the way up to 440.
Posted by: LesCharles73

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/11/13 10:46 PM

Originally Posted By: laguna_greg

Had you even been born then? And by the way, I think Keith Emmerson would argue the point with you, considering he got epicondylitis rather badly that became dystonia from playing mostly electronic keyboards. And the list goes on and on and...


To be fair, Keith Emerson plays Hammond Organs and Moog synthesizers much more than digital pianos. He plays very heavy-handed on unweighted actions (and in many unusual positions). Not saying he doesn't play weighted boards at all because I know for a fact that he does, but I think it's the Hammonds and unweighted synths that got him. This is a distinction that is important to digital players: Digital Pianos have weighted keys to resemble a piano (topic of discussion). Keyboards/synths are generally classified as having unweighted or semi-weighted keys; sometimes 88, many times not.
Posted by: stalefleas

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 04:10 AM

I have seen a video on YouTube where Emerson plays acoustic piano with Oscar Peterson. Not sure who thought that was a good idea. Emerson hammers the keys... Compared to Peterson's nuanced touch Emerson looks and sounds like a novice. I have wondered if this is due to him playing so many synthesizers. This video really does illustrate the differences between a good pianist and a good keyboardist.
Posted by: stalefleas

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 04:17 AM

By the way I believe keyboards are fine for a beginning student but generally agree that any serious student will greatly, greatly benefit from an acoustic in good shape. It's not a matter of getting a great keyboard or a mediocre piano, as mentioned before, they are different instruments and I think a lot of non-players fail to differentiate. "Oh, isn't that an electric piano?" Perhaps, but in name only.
Posted by: Doritos Flavoured

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 07:37 AM

many people with their career at risk here

so, just the kind of BS opinions I expected

the guy claiming about legato and staccato made me laugh out loud: not only did not see the video as probably also thinks digital pianos are the old time digital keyboard with organ action of light keys and no dynamic expression...
Posted by: Doritos Flavoured

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 07:39 AM

Originally Posted By: stalefleas
It's not a matter of getting a great keyboard or a mediocre piano, as mentioned before, they are different instruments and I think a lot of non-players fail to differentiate. "Oh, isn't that an electric piano?" Perhaps, but in name only.


LOL

this one didn't even get on to the digital age

electric...
Posted by: Doritos Flavoured

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 07:42 AM

Originally Posted By: stalefleas
I have seen a video on YouTube where Emerson plays acoustic piano with Oscar Peterson. Not sure who thought that was a good idea. Emerson hammers the keys... Compared to Peterson's nuanced touch Emerson looks and sounds like a novice. I have wondered if this is due to him playing so many synthesizers. This video really does illustrate the differences between a good pianist and a good keyboardist.


it shows the difference between an organist and a pianist

DP are not organs nor electric pianos

go to the store most close to you and try a digital piano yourself
Posted by: Doritos Flavoured

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 09:02 AM

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Perhaps the question ought to be phrased somewhat differently. Can a beginner rise to the ranks of artist using only a keyboard as a learning tool?

My answer: we don't really know IF we consider someone who more or less has to start on a keyboard (a number of factors play into this) but is moved over to a fine instrument fairly early.

My reasoning: in doing some research recently I found out that the famous tennis player, Poncho Gonzales, started with a 51 cent racket. He did not even get proper equipment until he started winning important matches.

The best way to go? Hardly. But he was without doubt one of the most incredible players who ever lived, winning major matches against the much younger players even when he was close to and past 40.

It's a lot the same in music. If you give an incredibly talented and motivated young player SOMETHING to play on, then that young player starts to do amazing stuff, most likely (or possibly) someone or more than "someone" will come along to help with "better equipment".

But if you put today's best rackets, with the power and "magic strings", into the hands of the average person, it just doesn't make much difference.

In the musical world, bringing in the tennis analogy and back to Gonzales, that might mean starting on a crap, no action 61 key keyboard - which by the way I also hate - but moving to something better within or shortly after 6 months, then little by little getting better instruments.

Today a lot of kids who have no aunt or friend with a piano to give to them, and whose budget does not currently allow going out and taking a chance on buying an instrument for a kid who has not yet started and who may have no talent or desire, get a keyboard from a friend, or buy something that is a couple hundred dollars.

Then I get some of these kids. Now, as you all can guess, MOST of these kids do not show any huge promise, or desire, or talent, or will power. Would they do better if they had an expensive grand at home? Maybe. But some of them simply are spoiled, lazy or innately so unmusical that the best instrument in the universe would not help them.

On the other hand, now and then we get a kid who just won't give up. That kid will do the best s/he can on an instrument that would stop most people, then people get excited and pitch in. Starting on a crap keyboard - one of those blow the keys down with a weak breath and not enough keys and a tinny sound - does not mean staying on it.

I think most of you work with kids who are way more entitled than most of the ones I start.

I started on a Hardman Peck, quite literally from nearly the century before. It only had 85 keys. It had sticky keys, and it was out of tune, although my parents did get a tech to try to make it work as well as possible

If I had to play on it today, I would quit. I'd rather play on any good 88 key weighted keyboard, a decent one, than that Hardman Peck.

It's all relative.

But yes, playing on any keyboard today just makes me dream of getting back to a grand. Even an upright frustrates me to the point that I don't want to play.

Once you play on a grand, and you master that playing, you just can't go back - not to perform and not to get the full range of sound and touch and everything else.

But the crap instrument was all I had when I started. It was sent down from NY by my aunt. My parents at that time had no money for such an instrument.

Later my parents got a Knight upright, so I only played on a grand in lessons, until I got into FSU. And having only the upright really hurt me, because the Steinway A felt heavy, sluggish, slow, and it caused tension. The instrument was excellent, but I could not master it only playing it in a lesson.

Once I got to FSU I had access to grands, and for the first time I had a chance to compete with other students who grew up with grands in their homes.

Anyone playing on an upright and then trying to enter the world of serious students playing on grands is playing catch-up, in a really huge and serious way.

But the other side of this is that I almost get the feeling that most teachers here would have given up on me because I did not have a grand at home.

I am torn between agreeing that a good grand is by far the best way to go, always, when navigating through the serious classical music world - and also wanting to stand up for all the people who come from a background where the best possible instrument is not an option.

I don't want to see the idea promoted that for anyone who for ANY reason can't get a first-class instrument, the world of music is forbidden, off limits, impossible, etc.

About teaching on uprights:

When Chopin taught on his upright - remember HE played on the upright while his students played on the grand - you can bet that he sounded a whole universe better on the upright. I also think it is highly unlikely that he considered the upright a truly inferior instrument.


best post in the whole thread

then again, Chopin's grand back then was far less grand than grands today
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 10:15 AM

Please let me question it again:
Originally Posted By: Marco M
Expressiveness is achievable on a modern digital instrument and thus it should be possible to study it on the digital.

Originally Posted By: Marco M
I am almost apt to say, that if a teacher is not able to well teach a student the piano playing on a modern digital piano, then this teacher would for sure also not be able to properly teach any student on a first class acoustic grand piano.


If the tone constructs from timing and dynamics alone, as some of you already agreed on, then mechanical playing technique is only of interest for supporting our attempts to consistently generate a well reproducable momentum, and this in the energetically most economical way in order to avoid injuries. Although, some might want to introduce psychological effects, addressing the player´s perception itself, or just doing showmanship for the audience.

We expect at the hammer a constant mass and stiffness and therefore mechanically here only have to think about its speed, while having at the players side several variables to control: the applied mass, applied speed, and varying absorbability and stiffness of in angle adjustable approaching fingertips. But once having these parameters well under control, technique then only has to adapt to different keyweight and energy transfer ratio when moving to a different instrument.
We should be able to adapt without having to change our playing technique, then!

If expression is 'only' about timing and dynamics, shouldn´t a modern digital instrument then not be the same feasable for stuying piano playing as an acoustic instrument, and a good teacher should be able to guide us well regardless of the used instrument?
Posted by: childofparadise2002

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 10:28 AM

To add to the flame...

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/05/techno...ed=all&_r=0

The price, as with all electronics/computers, will likely to drop drastically and quickly.

And this will appeal to the younger generations. My middle school child, who is a serious music student and practices on a grand piano, read this article and said: "when I get out of college and get a job, I want to buy this one".
Posted by: keystring

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 10:53 AM

Originally Posted By: childofparadise2002
To add to the flame...

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/05/techno...ed=all&_r=0

The price, as with all electronics/computers, will likely to drop drastically and quickly.

And this will appeal to the younger generations. My middle school child, who is a serious music student and practices on a grand piano, read this article and said: "when I get out of college and get a job, I want to buy this one".

That article doesn't add to the flame at all. It's in "journalese" style, written for a business paper that is not involved in music, and thus written for non-musicians. The article makes it sound as though the way digital pianos work is a brand new discovery that Yamaha has just come out with for the first time. I had to force myself to read on.

Then we get to the clip, where we hear something rather nasal and disappointing - they didn't do much with that recording to enhance the sound, did they? The guy playing is banging out the notes, so if the instrument allows for subtle playing, we don't get to hear it.

Finally they don't write or talk about the things that interest pianists or piano students. They talk about how good the overall sound is - not what the pianist can produce on the piano. How do pedals and keys interact? Do you have to dig way down near keybed to get a sound, or does it have more sensors so that you can gently stroke a key for a quiet sound and actually produce a sound?
Posted by: keystring

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 11:01 AM

Originally Posted By: Marco M


If the tone constructs from timing and dynamics alone, as some of you already agreed on, then mechanical playing technique is only of interest for supporting our attempts to consistently generate a well reproducable momentum,..........

If expression is 'only' about timing and dynamics, shouldn´t a modern digital instrument then not be the same feasable for stuying piano playing as an acoustic instrument, and a good teacher should be able to guide us well regardless of the used instrument?


I have an entry level Yamaha, which nonetheless cost $2500 and was at the edge of what I could afford. I can't get an acoustic in here for other reasons as well. I can and do produce dynamics, and I also have guidance in that matter. HOWEVER, there are limitations. The biggest one is at what point of descent the piano key sensors respond. On an acoustic you only have to go down a fraction and the hammers are sent into motion. With a digital, you almost have to keybed to get a sound. If you are trying to play pianissimo, or if you are trying to play fast, this has a negative impact. There are times when you want to "stroke" the key, like brushing dust off it, and if I did that with my DP the only sound you would hear is silence.

So it is not just velocity and such. I have reached a point where my instrument is limiting me, because there is technique that I know about which I can't use, because the DP doesn't make room for it. That said, even at a student level, and not that advanced, there is still a lot that I can do.
Posted by: childofparadise2002

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 11:14 AM

Another piece of reading.

http://www.musicincmag.com/Resources/the_ideabox/the_ideamakers/MI0909_TerryLewis.pdf

Whether it adds to the flame, or whether an article written for commercial media is nonetheless valuable, is merely personal opinion.
Posted by: Farmerjones

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 11:45 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring
On an acoustic you only have to go down a fraction and the hammers are sent into motion. With a digital, you almost have to keybed to get a sound. If you are trying to play pianissimo, or if you are trying to play fast, this has a negative impact. There are times when you want to "stroke" the key, like brushing dust off it, and if I did that with my DP the only sound you would hear is silence.


That's a good and revealing description. NFN When you hear and see Elton John in concert you're hearing a processed electronic "interpretation" of a piano, but he starts the process with a true grand piano keybead. This tells me EJ knows something about what we're talking about. Real pianistic technique. Refer to my first post about real piano sound and tone. If the word "speaker" or "sample" is mentioned, there's nothing else to say.
Posted by: Vid

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 03:06 PM

Quote:
On an acoustic you only have to go down a fraction and the hammers are sent into motion. With a digital, you almost have to keybed to get a sound. If you are trying to play pianissimo, or if you are trying to play fast, this has a negative impact. There are times when you want to "stroke" the key, like brushing dust off it, and if I did that with my DP the only sound you would hear is silence.


Some companies are addressing these shortcomings. Kawai in particular with their new higher end digital pianos now feature a more realistic 'grand-like' action. The triple sensors let you press a key down again without having to fully release it so you can play with more speed and with softer dynamics.

The other shortcoming of digital pianos that hasn't been covered here are the sound engines. With some exceptions most digital pianos on the market today rely on sampling technology to produce sound. Since there maybe only a handful of samples per note on the piano the amount of tone color you can achieve is very limited.

Another approach to sound generation is modelling where an algorithm is used to generate the sound based on the midi input. This opens a lot in regards to expression but the result still sounds fairly artificial.

I am a serious amateur player who has practiced on a Clavinova for a number of years. It definitely had many short comings that I began to get frustrated with but upraded recently to the setup you can see in my tagline. It is working quite well and find it takes little adjustment now when I switch to on an acoustic grand. Since it simulates a grand piano action I sometimes feel I'm better off with that instead of an acoustic upright.
Posted by: StarvingLion

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 04:47 PM

Piano World should terminate the digital piano forum. digital "pianos" and Acoustic piano owners are not compatible with one another.
Posted by: Vid

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 04:55 PM

What about the ones that own both? Torn from the inside/out?
Posted by: StarvingLion

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 05:10 PM

The divide between digital and acoustic pianos mirrors today's society. There are going to be numerous threads in the future from digital fanboy's needing attention to justify their social status. Fact is, like I predicted, digital "pianos" are dropping in price like a rock. To compensate, the digital fans will be like a plague of locusts attempting to convert the "unwashed" (acoustic owners) that their technology is superior. It will happen, and you can't say I didn't warn you.
Posted by: Farmerjones

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 05:18 PM

There's a place for everything. Let's see you turn a Steinway down. Also a DP is pretty much always in tune. That's two big pros. But I don't treat a Telecaster (electric guitar) as I would a D28 (acoustic guitar)There's no discussions like this in guitar forums. There's not millions of dollars spent on R&D to make an one thing behave & sound like another, as there is with pianos. Add to it all the free-for-the-hauling pianos on Craig's List. Add to it nobody play musical instruments today as in the past, period. There's not a dozen people on my side of the state that play fiddle/violin. Local music stores have gone the bigbox Guitar Centers in bigger towns. The economic dilemma that is the high performance acoustic piano, is interesting. I think Yamaha has it figured out. Build p95s to keep the doors open, so they can keep building fine acoustic grand pianos.
Posted by: LesCharles73

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 08:53 PM

Originally Posted By: StarvingLion
To compensate, the digital fans will be like a plague of locusts attempting to convert the "unwashed" (acoustic owners) that their technology is superior. It will happen, and you can't say I didn't warn you.


Yep, that's the agenda alright. You nailed it and our cover is blown. Oh darn. wink

Posted by: StarvingLion

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 10:36 PM

I cannot fathom why the apathetic acoustic pianists here put up with this digital fake piano madness. The synthetic sounds of the Roland V-Piano don't even come from a real piano. And, yet, almost all fanboys tell us that the future of digital pianos is physical modeling (aka fake pianos) that is implemented in the V-Piano.
Posted by: currawong

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 10:51 PM

Hey, Starving Lion, you might get more of a reaction back at the Digital Piano board. Apparently they miss you!
Posted by: LesCharles73

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/12/13 11:38 PM

Originally Posted By: StarvingLion
I cannot fathom why the apathetic acoustic pianists here put up with this digital fake piano madness.


Easy. Because you don't have a choice smile
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/13/13 12:22 AM

haha... a troll that's against digital technology!?!? That's quite weird... grin
Posted by: Eddyaknow

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/13/13 06:24 AM

I'm sorry I know I'm new here and inexperienced but some of the posts on here sound ridiculous to me. Like something along the lines :"if you can't afford a grand, then don't bother at all to even try to play".
I have NO doubt that no digital can even come close to an acoustic piano and all of you have probably been handling pianos longer than I lived.
But seriously a decent modern digital is better than no instrument at all..
Besides I have read about a concert pianist who plays mostly on his digital piano because he practices at night and doesn't want to disturb anybody i think he's been doing it for years so are you telling me there is NO WAY to use a digital piano seriously ?

And when have you tried playing your last dpiano in person ?
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/13/13 06:48 AM

Eddy: You are 100% correct as far as I'm concerned! I agree (and I think we all agree) that acoustic piano > digital piano. Now the question digital piano > nothing is what some people are debating, but for me it's very very obvious that it stands true: A DP is better than no piano at all.

Don't mind the various trolls lioning about...
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Did you expect this? - 09/13/13 08:10 AM

For me the most important question remains, how or how much do I suffer constraints in learning on a digital piano a proper keystroke technique as it should be used for elsewhere playing a grand piano.

Out of doubt, to color the tone nicely is a top level skill in playing a piano.
Good artists to certain extend can obviously do so even on a digital piano, that´s what i.e. the video in the initial post suggests.

But does the artist color the tone on that digital piano as nicely as the same artist could shape it on the grand piano? And would this artist playing the grand piano envolve for this any technique beyond the one used for playing the digital?

There is from time out of mind discussion and even scientific investigation taking place, which tries to engage the mechanical connection between the keystroke and the tone, and as far as I could read about it, it is (in my understanding) unlikely to be explained by the hammer movement alone, but more likely depends on the way the damper is lifted before/upon/after a certain hammer activation became initiated. While the hammer speed is nowadays well taken into acount in the tone generation of modern digitals, and applicable keystroke technique in this regard should be the same at a digital and acoustic instrument, is the damper action considered in sufficient detail as well?

Highspeed videos of an acoustic grand piano´s mechanics proof how the release of the hammer and the lifting of the damper depend on different phases of the keystroke and thus tone will be shaped not only by the momentum of the hammer release, but much by the damper activity manipulated continously throughout the full key movement applied by the artist.

I therefore would like to know, if the modern digital emulation of grand piano mechanics senses sufficient characteristics of my keystroke to let me fully learn the keystroke movements, or if important parts of it will be missed. Will I learn on my digital to color tone, or will I significantly miss to learn necessary technique for doing so?

Maybe I before should have already articulated my question as clear, instead of trying to only provocate the answering arguments. As nobody so far brought up such answering argument, I could understand this as a confirmation that modern digital piano technology indeed takes into account the full character of the keystroke as professional artist can apply it, or I could understand this as a confirmation that the ones who favour exclusively the fully mechanic acoustic instrument do not really know about the real possibilies of a modern digital instrument, or I could understand this the way that damper activity in a digital is very sloppy respected and I am just too unexperienced to hear it and ask for something what others do not even want to answer anymore.

I do not know the answer, and therefore would still wellcome factual arguments from someone who might know. This is why I allowed myself to join this thread on the TEACHERS board, and do not ask this anywhere else: I would like to learn about facts, staying away from subjective guesses or convictions based on technology enthusiasm or technology rejection.

Does the modern digital piano allow to fully learn keystroke technique, and if not, what exactly would hamper it?
Posted by: missbelle

Re: Did you expect this? - 10/16/13 11:46 AM

Looking at this thread from a teacher of beginning students perspective,
many of us will run into the, "we will see how lessons go before we get a 'real' keyboard, whether piano or good digital."

So, our students have something dug up from last century, with no weighted keys, or even full sized keys, and no pedals.

and the first 5-10 minutes of lesson are filled with learning the touch and feel and look of a "real" piano, and working on dynamics and hand positioning, because the work done at home on the toy must be re-learned to fit the real piano.

With the low-cost of rentals, and the number of piano posting on Craig's List, there is really no excuse to get something relatively ok!

If you can afford lessons, then you need to have the correct instrument.

A recorder is not a clarinet. A pair of socks is not a ballet slipper. A whiffer ball bat is not a baseball bat. A scooter is not a motorcycle.

Those items may get you interested, but once you begin to take lessons, hire a coach, join a team, then you need the correct equipment.

Just a few days ago, I had a mom that sits in on lessons come to the revelation, "Oh, my child struggles with dynamics because our keyboard does not let that happen without changing the volume buttons. Maybe we should look into a real piano for Christmas!"

Ad I smiled.
That's one that "gets it."

If only they all would!

"I want my child to succeed, but will not practice with them or get them the proper equipment, and will not review the work."

Use it for baseball, karate, football, piano, dance, whatever.

Life lesson that some never learn, and instead blame changing interests, poor coach/teacher, no time, etc...

Not that a grand piano will make them a music master, but...you will play the game longer and get more out of it!!
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 10/16/13 12:25 PM

Missbelle,

Did you watch the video on the opening post?

No one here would disagree with you that a toy keyboard is no good, and probably everyone shared your frustration.

But it is not what this thread was about at all. The questions was if today's digital piano a valid learning instrument.

Many piano teachers put digital piano into the toy category, I was just wondering if that was a conscious evaluation after playing today's digital, or it was based on impressions of the toy keyboards, and possibly as as you said, from the last century.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Did you expect this? - 10/16/13 12:44 PM

Originally Posted By: missbelle

A recorder is not a clarinet. A pair of socks is not a ballet slipper. A whiffer ball bat is not a baseball bat. A scooter is not a motorcycle.

Just a small side issue. This reminds me of the old Sesame Street game, "One of these things does not belong here." recorder, socks, whiffer ball bat, scooter.

A recorder is not a toy. It is a musical instrument. Unfortunately it is treated like a toy and "taught" in primary school like a toy. As a primitive Baroque instrument it is tricky to keep it in tune and get a good tone on all notes, and the notes that you can get are limited.

I thought this was off topic when I started writing, but in fact it isn't. A recorder is the opposite of electronic toy pianos. What you do physically affects the sound that you produce so you're working with instrument, technique, listening skills, and self discipline.

Before going on to our regularly scheduled program, here is an amazing recorder player playing the solo of a Vivaldi concerto on recorder. (In my stack I have a series of Handel concertos that are written for "violin, alto recorder, or flute").

Posted by: missbelle

Re: Did you expect this? - 10/17/13 01:21 PM

I bet his recorder was not bulk ordered at $2.50 a piece!
(and WOW at minute 9-10, to the end, better than a bird song!)(And you see him w.o.r.k.i.n.g. and enjoying the work)

That kind of reinforces my point-some people just do not realize/detect/care about the value of a good instrument/equipment, PLUS the work and dedication.

You can have the best instrument ever, but if you never use it, it is nothing more than furniture.

This current era of digital keyboards is full of wonderful options that provide great opportunities for students and teachers.

But some parents think all you need is some sort of keyboard, any keyboard, and a teacher, and the child will become a musician.

Ultimately, it takes practice and work. And if 1/3 of my lesson time is spent acclimating a student to a "real" piano, then they are getting time lost on lessons, and thus slower progress.

So when the student decides it is too much work to practice, the parent may not realize the circa 1990 keyboard was a factor.

(or, the iphone piano app. I actually had a girl tell me that is how she practiced. She was level one, and spent half her lesson saying, "I don't get it!")

I had to go out to the parent and show me the app, and then brought him (dad) into the room to compare it to a piano. He thought that his iphone was a good plan, ans was slightly annoyed when I asked that his daughter PRACTICE on a piano, and PLAY on his phone.

Only had access to a piano at grandparents house, and illness lessened days visiting there.

Anyway,
All that to say, I am fine with a full-sized key, weighted keys, with pedal, preferably 88 keys instrument.

smile
Posted by: keystring

Re: Did you expect this? - 10/17/13 02:02 PM

Originally Posted By: missbelle
I bet his recorder was not bulk ordered at $2.50 a piece!
(and WOW at minute 9-10, to the end, better than a bird song!)(And you see him w.o.r.k.i.n.g. and enjoying the work)

That kind of reinforces my point-some people just do not realize/detect/care about the value of a good instrument/equipment, PLUS the work and dedication.

You can have the best instrument ever, but if you never use it, it is nothing more than furniture.

You don't want to see my plastic tenor recorder, which I got for $5.00 from a garage sale. wink It was originally school issue, and is exactly like a giant version of the little plastic descant recorder - hones throughout. The winning combination is decent instrument, decent teaching, decent practising. Sometimes only one or two of the three is available.
Quote:
....
Ultimately, it takes practice and work. And if 1/3 of my lesson time is spent acclimating a student to a "real" piano, then they are getting time lost on lessons, and thus slower progress.

So when the student decides it is too much work to practice, the parent may not realize the circa 1990 keyboard was a factor.

(or, the iphone piano app. I actually had a girl tell me that is how she practiced. She was level one, and spent half her lesson saying, "I don't get it!")

!!! shocked
Quote:


All that to say, I am fine with a full-sized key, weighted keys, with pedal, preferably 88 keys instrument.

That definitely makes sense.
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Did you expect this? - 10/17/13 02:26 PM

Originally Posted By: missbelle
(or, the iphone piano app. I actually had a girl tell me that is how she practiced. She was level one, and spent half her lesson saying, "I don't get it!")

Ouch..

Well, tell the dad that, in order to minimize the difference between the teaching instrument and practice instrument, so the girl is not confused, from now on, you would have the lessons on the dad's iPhone. And remember to switch it to the airplane mode so the lesson is not interrupted.
Posted by: missbelle

Re: Did you expect this? - 10/17/13 09:53 PM

Oh snap!
ha laugh

That is something I will log into my memory banks.
I can only imagine playing a duet with her- and this was a phone, not a tablet!

Thanks for the chuckle.

As for the actual topic, I had a beginning student just today that was obviously practiced, and knew the vocab and fingerings, but was struggling with forte and piano.

Then she said that on her keyboard, she has a button that she pushes for loud, and then she turns it off for soft.

So I let her go crazy on the piano and play patterns up and down, as loud and then as soft as she could, and I even tossed in pedal! She really had a blast, and she felt and heard the difference.

I spoke to mom after lesson and she said they might be getting a piano later...
(come on, Santa!!)
Posted by: malkin

Re: Did you expect this? - 10/20/13 10:33 AM

For me, the DP was a gateway drug.
Posted by: Alan Lai

Re: Did you expect this? - 10/20/13 10:36 AM

Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
While we have one thread talking about the grand, let's see the other end of the spectrum.

Casio commercial for their sub $1000 digital piano:
http://youtu.be/u37Wb66CDTU
(fast forward to 2:20 if you are in a hurry)

It is a commercial of course, and to be fair, it didn't actually make any conclusion, although it obviously implied one.

The question is, while I am sure you can hear the differences, but did you expect this from an inexpensive digital?

Is today's digital a valid learning/practicing instrument?


Didn't read the rest of the replies, but regarding the OP:

The Casio DP sounds cheap and lifeless. The grand sounds, well, like a grand piano.

Today's digital IS a valid learning/practicing instrument, but not this sub $1000 one.