What is the point of all the sounds?

Posted by: adak

What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/10/13 12:53 PM

Some digital pianos come with over 100 sounds. Even my own entry level Casio PX-150 has about a dozen sounds. That is way too much. I know I don't use any of them except the acoustic pianos. Are all the other sounds fillers? I tried them. Sounds like it. Surely they do not take up as much memory as the acoustic piano sound, and if so why? Memory space is premium, why lower the quality of the acoustic piano sound by using the space for other sounds that will barely get used? I would rather have a digital piano with less sounds, quality over quantity. I don't want to have to pay for so many sounds I will not use. That is what turns me off from buying a high end digital piano.
Posted by: anotherscott

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/10/13 01:19 PM

Originally Posted By: adak
That is what turns me off from buying a high end digital piano.

A number of the high end digital pianos have very little in the way of non-piano sounds. Check Kawai MP-10, Yamaha CP-1, Roland V-Piano, and the original Nord Piano (you could use its memory for nothing but acoustic piano sounds if that's all you wanted). Nord did add a separate bank of memory for non-piano sounds in the NP2, though, and it did raise the price some. But a lot of people do find these other sounds useful, especially if they are gigging, where typically the keyboard player has to cover more than just piano parts.

As for the PX-150, the extra sounds are so minimal in quantity and quality that I doubt they are taking away any potential for the main piano sound (i.e. the small amount of extra memory probably wouldn't result in a noticeably better piano sound). They do make the unit a bit more marketable, though. Like built-in rhythms. Lots of people don't care about these things, but there is a market that does, and especially in a budget instrument designed for mass sales, the idea is to maximize the its appeal to a large range of potential buyers. Note that it is the most expensive models I mentioned at the top, less designed for mass appeal, that do the fewest different things!
Posted by: Dave Horne

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/10/13 01:20 PM

Why? Because some folks buy keyboards based on numbers alone.

Piano X only has 128 note polyphony so 256 note polyphony on piano Y makes Y a better choice.
Posted by: rnaple

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/10/13 02:04 PM

Originally Posted By: adak
... I would rather have a digital piano with less sounds, quality over quantity. ... That is what turns me off from buying a high end digital piano.


People like you and me are why Kawai came out with the VPC. smile
Posted by: Charles Cohen

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/10/13 02:25 PM

Several reasons:

1. A "General MIDI" soundbank (128 sounds?) makes it possible to play multi-timbral MIDI files.

2. Non-piano sounds are sometimes useful. I was at a chant session, and the keyboard player was using a layering of "piano" and "warm pad". The effect was nice -- like an infinite sustain on an acoustic piano. [Don't try that for Mozart, it doesn't suit.]

3. If you _ever_ want something more interesting than "Ting tick tick tick" to practice to, a "percussion" voice allows using built-in rhythms, or writing your own. And once you have one such voice, you're likely to have 3 or 4 of them.

There's a rather nice "vibraphone" sound on the PX-350, that I'm hoping to use in public. I really enjoy it.

As pointed out above, those "extra" sounds are usually simpler than the multi-sampled pianos, and don't take up much room in memory.

There's enough room for all of us.

. Charles
Posted by: PattyP

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/10/13 02:25 PM

I agree that most of the voices on DPs are redundant, but I will say that I enjoy changing the voice to mimic the instrument(s) a piece was written for, such as Adagio for Strings, or the harpsichord or organ for Bach. Mixing voices can also make a simple piece, or simplified version of a classic, so much more fun to play and play with. I can't imagine that anyone would use all the voices available unless used for movie/stage sound effects, however.
Posted by: personne

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/10/13 02:28 PM

Originally Posted By: adak
Some digital pianos come with over 100 sounds. Even my own entry level Casio PX-150 has about a dozen sounds. That is way too much. I know I don't use any of them except the acoustic pianos. Memory space is premium, why lower the quality of the acoustic piano sound by using the space for other sounds that will barely get used? I would rather have a digital piano with less sounds, quality over quantity. I don't want to have to pay for so many sounds I will not use. That is what turns me off from buying a high end digital piano.


You probably need to address this question to Casio, why they have so many sounds smile. I believe for high-end manufacturers additional sounds do not add much to cost - most of extra price is coming from better piano samples and more advanced sound engines, more responsive keyboard, better pedaling, better amplifiers and speakers. And probably cabinetry as well smile

Although my Roland HP-507 has many additional sounds, they are more for fun rather than for serious arrangements, as except piano and early piano sounds, hardly too many sounds have touch sensitivity (they play at one volume). So you can make some arrangements using several sounds, but it is mainly just a piano than a synthesizer.

My son enjoys playing around with different sounds though.
Posted by: peterws

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/10/13 03:49 PM

Interesting. The sounds are there for those who want `em. They invariably come with automatic accompaniment and rythms et al . . .. I like the extra instruments; you can put together a live band type feel with say, 3 insturumwents and string backing etc which I like to do. But I don`t need the accompanyment features.

I`m lucky to have a decent piano or two on my machine. I`m not sure about quality being compromised; more like business decisions based on perceived demand.

Some DPs have plenty of voices - but a lousy recorder. I see no sense in that at all, but one thing`s certain.

Ya never get QUITE what you want . . .the close you get, the more expensive it becomes!
Posted by: ONfrank

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/10/13 03:53 PM

Originally Posted By: adak
Some digital pianos come with over 100 sounds. Even my own entry level Casio PX-150 has about a dozen sounds. That is way too much. I know I don't use any of them except the acoustic pianos. Are all the other sounds fillers? I tried them. Sounds like it. Surely they do not take up as much memory as the acoustic piano sound, and if so why? Memory space is premium, why lower the quality of the acoustic piano sound by using the space for other sounds that will barely get used? I would rather have a digital piano with less sounds, quality over quantity. I don't want to have to pay for so many sounds I will not use. That is what turns me off from buying a high end digital piano.


Really? Just two weeks ago you said it was ridiculous that piano samples would take up more than a few hundred MB. I doubt the main piano voices need to use much ROM anyway lol.

If it really bothers you, perhaps it's time to buy an acoustic and a set of tuning forks.
Posted by: JFP

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/10/13 04:19 PM

We'll he has a point , if the additional sound are so inferior in quality, that hardly anyone can seriously use or enjoy them, why put them on board. I second the idea of a DP being a digital 'piano' meaning all the rubbish gm sounds can go, apart from a few good alternative sounds for metronome to choose from. The extra memory should be used for the AP. Since many people are complaining about short looped samples, no 88 key sampling, not enough velocity layers, short decays etc, every bit of the ROM could be used to enhance the main piano sound(s). Because that's what you buy it for (?!). For sequencing , accompaniment , styles , zillion preset sound banks there are arranger keyboards, workstations and computers available.

Stage Piano's like he PX5 are an exception , cause they serve multiple purposes. A cabinet style (home) DP shouldn't need all this nonsense sounds, or....they should be really on par with the quality of the main AP sound and really useful.
Posted by: Possum SP280Krome

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/10/13 05:15 PM

I understand the OP's point:
After the AP and Rhodes sounds (Wurlitzer) everything else can be considered a bonus.
On my P95 when I had it I only touched the main 2 acoustics and that was enough.
On my PX130 when not playing the 3 acousitcs I use the Rhodes and sometimes combine Strings with Piano- so I would be using 5 or 6 sounds.
The SP280 has some additions not present on the other two; a nice CP80 as a surprise.

My general preference has been less sounds on a 88 and more sounds on a 61
Posted by: adak

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/10/13 06:21 PM

Maybe the Yamaha NU1 is the piano that I need.
Posted by: spanishbuddha

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/10/13 06:34 PM

Originally Posted By: adak
Maybe the Yamaha NU1 is the piano that I need.

Based on your posts on this forum and elsewhere on piano world, may I respectfully suggest you spend at least another six months learning to play, then cast around again. At this stage you don't know what piano or DP you want.
Posted by: Dr Popper

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/10/13 09:40 PM

Originally Posted By: adak
Some digital pianos come with over 100 sounds. Even my own entry level Casio PX-150 has about a dozen sounds. That is way too much. I know I don't use any of them except the acoustic pianos. Are all the other sounds fillers? I tried them. Sounds like it. Surely they do not take up as much memory as the acoustic piano sound, and if so why? Memory space is premium, why lower the quality of the acoustic piano sound by using the space for other sounds that will barely get used? I would rather have a digital piano with less sounds, quality over quantity. I don't want to have to pay for so many sounds I will not use. That is what turns me off from buying a high end digital piano.


shocked
Posted by: dewster

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/10/13 10:32 PM

The extra sounds do consume ROM, but probably not all that much in comparison to the main piano voice(s). They might as well put them in I suppose, some find them useful. I'd certainly pay more if they were all recording quality.
Posted by: ahhsmurf

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/10/13 10:41 PM

I like the extra instruments; you can put together a live band type feel with say
Posted by: SoundThumb

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/10/13 11:44 PM

I suppose manufactures include additional sounds so that someone like me will buy their instruments. When I finish practicing my piano pieces, I love to change up the patches and let the sound dictate the music rather than the music dictate the sound. But then, I am a patch junkie, not a piano purist. Apparently the world includes a few others like me.
Posted by: LesCharles73

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/11/13 12:03 AM

Originally Posted By: SoundThumb
I suppose manufactures include additional sounds so that someone like me will buy their instruments. When I finish practicing my piano pieces, I love to change up the patches and let the sound dictate the music rather than the music dictate the sound. But then, I am a patch junkie, not a piano purist. Apparently the world includes a few others like me.


It does!
Posted by: Charles Cohen

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/11/13 02:29 AM

Originally Posted By: spanishbuddha
Originally Posted By: adak
Maybe the Yamaha NU1 is the piano that I need.

Based on your posts on this forum and elsewhere on piano world, may I respectfully suggest you spend at least another six months learning to play, then cast around again. At this stage you don't know what piano or DP you want.


+1.

When my salesman said:

. . . "The PX-350 keyboard isn't the best one for fast repeated notes",

I answered:

. . . "It's a lot faster than I am, now."

Get some experience and skill. It'll be a while before you "outgrow" the PX-150.

. Charles
Posted by: justpin

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/11/13 04:18 AM

My casio comes with 650 different voices quite a large number of them are variations on others. Like Koto 1 and koto pad, or Koto 2 pad.

I tend to stick with 1-14

With the prefered setting of 3 grand piano or brite piano which I think is number 8.

Everything else feels and sounds gimicky other than the church organs around 85-105.

Everything above 550 is a gimick, with rap, gunshots, machinery, alarmbells etc.

Interesting there are some Joe Hisaishi compositions that works very well changing the voice in the middle, so far however being a rookie. I can't really use these things to their full potential. I still think wowzers when I finish a 50 bar piece!
Posted by: peterws

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/11/13 04:27 AM

I had a keyboard I used with a band. It was PSR630 I think; every instrument you could imagine with a lot more bedides. I worked with a compere wo thought he was a comedian; nobody laughed at his jokes. So I registered for "Applause" and at the appropriate time, pressesd the button.

I got a "car crash". . . . through a big PA system ha ha

If anybody wants to know if those other sounds on DPs are useful, here`s what I like to do. It`s fun,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6_ffqK4xRU
Posted by: piRround

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/11/13 09:30 AM

Originally Posted By: SoundThumb
I suppose manufactures include additional sounds so that someone like me will buy their instruments. When I finish practicing my piano pieces, I love to change up the patches and let the sound dictate the music rather than the music dictate the sound. But then, I am a patch junkie, not a piano purist. Apparently the world includes a few others like me.


+1
Posted by: zapper

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/11/13 10:33 AM

additional sounds are just teasers, most of the time useless but they do their job in marketing.

p.s.
I wish same was true for a car dealers - I buy pickup truck and they throw in a small convertible...

Posted by: slipperykeys

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/11/13 01:28 PM

There is no guarantee that a reduction in voices would automatically mean a cheaper price or an increase in quality of piano tones.

I play The Beatles, "Yesterday" as a string quartet. Sounds great, and other people love it too.

There are many advantages to buying a digital piano, just as there are disadvantages.

One of the best features is the versatility, I don't want to lose it, despite the fact I virtually only play Acoustic Grand Piano.

In fact comparing a Roland V piano to a Roland RD 700NX I realised I could not justify the extra expense of the V Piano with the lack of facilities, and settled for the RD 700NX.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/11/13 02:04 PM

Additional sounds are like UFOs: you either believe in them or you think they're useless for mankind (or womankind).

And like Marmite®, you either love 'em or hate 'em ©..... wink

BTW, if the V-Piano had non-piano sounds in it, I'd have thought a bit longer (like an extra hour or two) before committing to buying it, because I'd be thinking along the lines of 'Is Roland totally committed to its concept as an acoustic piano substitute, or are they still hedging their bets? Because if Roland isn't totally committed to it as a pure piano substitute, maybe they haven't fully developed it to their complete satisfaction yet.' I wouldn't settle for anything other than 100% commitment from any DP manufacturer.
Posted by: Tom Fine

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/11/13 03:29 PM

Memory is super cheap these days. And these other sounds use vastly less memory than the piano sound engine. Throwing in these extra sounds is probably cheaper than the toy surprise in cracker jacks.

tom
Posted by: bennevis

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/11/13 04:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Tom Fine
Memory is super cheap these days. And these other sounds use vastly less memory than the piano sound engine. Throwing in these extra sounds is probably cheaper than the toy surprise in cracker jacks.

tom


What about all those extra buttons, which not only clutter up the console but must surely add additional cost to the manufacture and circuitry, even if the memory itself costs peanuts?

On the V-Piano, there is just one dial to access all 28 piano sounds. If they'd added organ, EP, synth, strings, harpsichord etc, to the dial, one would have to scroll through all the piano sounds (plus your own customized piano sounds, which can number up to 100 if you're so inclined to tinker) to access one of them (or alternatively, scroll through all the junk to access the piano sounds). Or else clutter up the clean surface with an extra button for each additional sound.......which would make a serious pianist think twice about whether this really is a V-Piano or V-Synth. But Roland already has a V-Synth for such purposes.
Posted by: zapper

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/11/13 06:25 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis

What about all those extra buttons, which not only clutter up the console but must surely add additional cost to the manufacture and circuitry, even if the memory itself costs peanuts?


you're right, those buttons cost is for sure noticeable for manufacture but if you sell product with main feature not good enough to stand on its own like piano or EP, you need to add something extra to convince reactant buyer.
Posted by: xorbe

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/11/13 08:36 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
On the V-Piano, there is just one dial to access all 28 piano sounds. If they'd added organ, EP, synth, strings, harpsichord etc, to the dial, one would have to scroll through all the piano sounds (plus your own customized piano sounds, which can number up to 100 if you're so inclined to tinker) to access one of them (or alternatively, scroll through all the junk to access the piano sounds).

Wait until you hear that you have to use that same dial to access all 965 sounds in the Roland RD-700NX! grin
Posted by: SoundThumb

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/11/13 09:28 PM

My guess is that at the factory assembly level, the cost of a switch and a button is pennies. On the other hand, at the retail level, one can charge several dollars for that functionality. So theoretically, a keyboard without the extra patches could be sold for less. However, would a buyer choose a board with piano only that was $10 cheaper than a board next to it that for $10 included a number of additional patches? If I were a manufacturer, I wouldn't have the guts to try it.
Posted by: Ojustaboo

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/11/13 09:58 PM

Deleted
Posted by: Sand Tiger

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/12/13 01:43 AM

Most low cost digitals are sold to families with kids. Most kids like playing with the extra sounds. It is as simple as that. If a kid becomes serious about piano, the family will often buy an acoustic.

For stage pianos, many keyboard players are members of a band, where the extra sounds often come in handy.
Posted by: dewster

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/12/13 08:08 AM

Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
Most low cost digitals are sold to families with kids. Most kids like playing with the extra sounds. It is as simple as that.

My wife teaches private piano, and she uses the DP as a something of a treat for the little ones. Most of the lesson is on the AP, and at the end they often move to the DP. The student gets to pick among the various sounds while they play their piece over and over (and over). Good way to stimulate practice. (Really young students with weak fingers often have their lessons entirely on the DP due to the somewhat lighter action.)

This is another reason the RD-700NX is nice, there are gobs of sounds in there, and the UI is simple enough for children and non-technical adults to grasp the rudiments fairly intuitively.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/12/13 10:34 AM

Originally Posted By: dewster
Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
Most low cost digitals are sold to families with kids. Most kids like playing with the extra sounds. It is as simple as that.

My wife teaches private piano, and she uses the DP as a something of a treat for the little ones. Most of the lesson is on the AP, and at the end they often move to the DP. The student gets to pick among the various sounds while they play their piece over and over (and over). Good way to stimulate practice. (Really young students with weak fingers often have their lessons entirely on the DP due to the somewhat lighter action.)

This is another reason the RD-700NX is nice, there are gobs of sounds in there, and the UI is simple enough for children and non-technical adults to grasp the rudiments fairly intuitively.


I suppose it depends on how serious the child is about learning to play the piano. I watched a documentary film recently about child prodigies in Russia - the audition for the music school included the teacher playing several seven-note chords (not straightforward diatonic ones, with the two hands spaced apart) on her piano, then the child (about 7 years old) repeats those chords, note-for-note, instantly, without being able to see the teacher's hands. This depends not just on the child having absolute pitch, but also highly developed musical ears.

One would expect that children like that won't need funny sounds to keep them interested in learning to play the piano and keep practising.....
Posted by: toddy

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/12/13 10:48 AM

Bennevis, your point is well taken, but I do not think life is as straight forward, or the path between great and small quite so linear as your comparison would suggest. I'd be willing to bet that Haydn, Mozart & Beethoven, for instance, would have been very taken with the range of sounds that come on a Casio, Roland or Korg. I bet they'd have been intrigued - inspired with new ideas even.
Posted by: fizikisto

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/12/13 10:55 AM

bennevis, if that were the standard for learning to play, very few people would ever learn. I would not want a world where the playing of music is confined to child prodigies who spend hours a day focused on their instruments and have no time for sports or play or sleepovers with their friends. Much of learning to play the piano is drudgery (PLAYING is fun, learning to play not so much). If one can make learning more fun for children, why wouldn't you want that? If one can make the creation of music accessible to more people, why wouldn't one want that?

For my own playing, I find that practicing pieces with different sounds helps me learn them more solidly. Also, it's just fun sometimes. I love the sound of the piano, and love playing piano. But sometimes it can be fun to layer a pad under it, or play a piece with the vibraphone (or whatever), or improvise a bit with a bass sound in the left hand split, etc...
Posted by: bennevis

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/12/13 11:27 AM

Originally Posted By: fizikisto
bennevis, if that were the standard for learning to play, very few people would ever learn. I would not want a world where the playing of music is confined to child prodigies who spend hours a day focused on their instruments and have no time for sports or play or sleepovers with their friends. Much of learning to play the piano is drudgery (PLAYING is fun, learning to play not so much). If one can make learning more fun for children, why wouldn't you want that? If one can make the creation of music accessible to more people, why wouldn't one want that?

For my own playing, I find that practicing pieces with different sounds helps me learn them more solidly. Also, it's just fun sometimes. I love the sound of the piano, and love playing piano. But sometimes it can be fun to layer a pad under it, or play a piece with the vibraphone (or whatever), or improvise a bit with a bass sound in the left hand split, etc...


Point taken, but I have an awful suspicion that if I'd started out learning on such a DP as a child, I wouldn't have become a classical pianist and be able to play most of the world's great piano music that's been composed over the past few centuries.

I was very intrigued by, and learning about new things - especially mechanical ones that I can participate in. (I loved designing and making model planes that can fly, and taking things apart to see how they worked, for instance). If I had a DP that could give me all sorts of sounds and rhythm accompaniments etc when I was learning to play, I'd have spent all my 'practice' time playing with all those possibilities, rather than building up my technique and musicianship - which required thousands of hours of incessant practising, and listening critically to myself playing, for which there are no short-cuts (as I was no prodigy cry).
Posted by: anotherscott

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/12/13 11:56 AM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
Point taken, but I have an awful suspicion that if I'd started out learning on such a DP as a child, I wouldn't have become a classical pianist and be able to play most of the world's great piano music that's been composed over the past few centuries.
...
If I had a DP that could give me all sorts of sounds and rhythm accompaniments etc when I was learning to play, I'd have spent all my 'practice' time playing with all those possibilities, rather than building up my technique

We are largely the sum of our experiences, some within in our control, and some not. If your parents had started you off on some keyboard with lots of sounds, you might be right that you would not have developed the same orientation of a classical pianist, but who knows, maybe it would have put you on an early path to being an orchestrator. Or auto-accompaniment may have led you down a path more toward composition. There's no better or worse here, really, as it is impossible to know which may have ultimately been more rewarding!
Posted by: Kbeaumont

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/12/13 12:02 PM

Quote:
If I had a DP that could give me all sorts of sounds and rhythm accompaniments etc when I was learning to play, I'd have spent all my 'practice' time playing with all those possibilities, rather than building up my technique and musicianship - which required thousands of hours of incessant practising, and listening critically to myself playing, for which there are no short-cuts


Maybe, who knows? You might have ended up a composer instead of playing songs of composers that have long since died.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/12/13 12:44 PM

Originally Posted By: Kbeaumont
Quote:
If I had a DP that could give me all sorts of sounds and rhythm accompaniments etc when I was learning to play, I'd have spent all my 'practice' time playing with all those possibilities, rather than building up my technique and musicianship - which required thousands of hours of incessant practising, and listening critically to myself playing, for which there are no short-cuts


Maybe, who knows? You might have ended up a composer instead of playing songs of composers that have long since died.


Actually, I've been composing since my late teens - very bad music, with more style than substance, that I've only ever played to a select few (who probably wished they hadn't been selected grin): mostly for solo piano, but also a few chamber works and songs. In several different styles, including a couple of tangos and some jazz-inspired pieces. Plus an experimental atonal piece in which anything resembling a tune or recognizable harmony is purely coincidental. (A Mozart I'm not. Not even a John Williams.... wink ). I also improvise - again badly, in a variety of styles.

My opus currently runs to no. 147 at present....
Posted by: kapelli

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/12/13 06:03 PM

The sound are, because when I pay 3-4k USD for the piano, adding few more sounds doesn't cost too much, but gives marketing advantage from one side,
from another - as I pianist I would like sometimes to play on good quality organs, harpsihord, some rhodes or jazz piano. I plan piano for fun so why not to have a little bit more fun?

It's for us, I uderstand that here are few piano purist, however let's be happy because of few more sounds smile

However, if I had money, I'd buy AG1 laugh
Posted by: LesCharles73

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/12/13 09:20 PM

I think a lot of the reasoning behind these extra sounds is 'because they can'. Nearly every major DP manufacturer also makes some type of workstation or 61-key "rompler" or did at one time, so why not add select simplified versions of those sounds to their lines of DP's? They're already sampled and ready to go, and sometimes they even reside on a different chip than the piano voices so they may not necessarily 'cut in' to the memory allocated to the piano patches, even if negligible.

I have also seen some of these used as "filler" in live musical theatre productions (usually electric piano, organs, harpsichord and strings). There are those who have an occasional need for those additional bread-n-butter sounds. For more than an occasional need, of course I'd recommend a synthesizer or workstation (or a real orchestra if you can afford it), but the additional sounds can have a use out in the wild. Keep in mind that DP manufacturers need to cater to both contemporary and classical style players and stocking a 'bare-bones' and 'deluxe' model is both prohibitive for the manufacturer and the retailer who has to find room to display and store them!

I come from the other side of the spectrum where my keyboards focus on the additional sounds and the piano is 'extra', so I couldn't really see myself using a Digital Piano's string ensemble patch in a serious setting, but there are those that do, either out of enjoyment or necessity.

I guess my opinion is "don't worry about it". The price seems dictated by the keyboard action rather than the on-board sounds anyway, so I doubt (highly) that their elimination would produce any noticeable lurch forward in piano realism, or lurch downward in price. I think of it like I think of my computer. I rarely use all the features, but it's part of the deal. Can't make everyone happy wink.
Posted by: toddy

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/12/13 09:24 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
My opus currently runs to no. 147 at present....

Beethoven's Gross Fugue - just about the last thing he did - was Op.135. Brahms notched up Opus 122 before he died whilst Anton Webern managed a mere 36 terse opuses. But Bennevis, who lists mountaineering, hang gliding and advanced orienteering among his pass times, and professes musically to concentrate on classical performance rather than composition, casually mentions that he (...if indeed this be the gender....) has already completed 147 opuses. Might I be entertaining a romantic fancy in assuming that these are accomplished before lavage each morning?

What ever the case may be, this is phenomenal!
Posted by: bennevis

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/12/13 10:05 PM

Originally Posted By: toddy

Beethoven's Gross Fugue - just about the last thing he did - was Op.135. Brahms notched up Opus 122 before he died whilst Anton Webern managed a mere 36 terse opuses. But Bennevis, who lists mountaineering, hang gliding and advanced orienteering among his pass times, and professes musically to concentrate on classical performance rather than composition, casually mentions that he (...if indeed this be the gender....) has already completed 147 opuses. Might I be entertaining a romantic fancy in assuming that these are accomplished before lavage each morning?

What ever the case may be, this is phenomenal!


I wish that something along the scale of Sorabji's Opus clavicembalisticum number among my opuses wink , but the truth is that most of my pieces are barely five minutes in length (and those are the slow ones...). Less than fifteen minutes' worth of music composed every 365 days barely register on the (Sviatoslav) Richter scale in terms of time and effort taken. (And don't forget, there's plenty of style, but little substance in them cry).

Nothing at all compared to Wolfie composing his last three symphonies (each lasting half an hour, and each a masterpiece) in less than three months - not that I'm comparing my feeble efforts to that of my favourite composer, of course.....

As for my outdoor and underwater activities, they are mostly concentrated during my annual (or biannual, or triannual) vacation. Apart from my running.......
Posted by: toddy

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/13/13 06:27 AM

I'm well and truly a bicycle person so it's a little similar.

You say your favourite composer is Wolfie. This is interesting as I must admit I've never heard of him (if this be the gender). In fact, the only Wolfie I can recall was the leading member of the Tooting Popular Front, back in the mid 70s. In fact, he was also the only member, afaicr.

I've begun to try 'composing'. The pieces are short. One minute seems about the average. There is so much to be said, the thin g is to find different - unexpected - ways of saying them. This takes bollocks, or good old fashioned courage.

It also comes in very handy that I have hundreds of sounds in the DP. This is a paint box - a very crude affair, perhaps, compared to the sophisticated VST sound sets that people use for this kind of work. Nevertheless, I'm finding my feet with this facility, and to my ears, more than 10 percent sound good. To that extent, I'm very grateful to Roland for putting them into this relatively lowly DP. They're tools, and emphatically not gimmicks.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/13/13 07:16 AM

Originally Posted By: toddy
I've begun to try 'composing'. The pieces are short. One minute seems about the average. There is so much to be said, the thin g is to find different - unexpected - ways of saying them. This takes bollocks, or good old fashioned courage.

It also comes in very handy that I have hundreds of sounds in the DP. This is a paint box - a very crude affair, perhaps, compared to the sophisticated VST sound sets that people use for this kind of work. Nevertheless, I'm finding my feet with this facility, and to my ears, more than 10 percent sound good. To that extent, I'm very grateful to Roland for putting them into this relatively lowly DP. They're tools, and emphatically not gimmicks.


I believe there is a Sibelius program/software that commits to print/file exactly what you play on the keyboard - makes 'composing' a doddle as you don't even need to be able to read/write music. I don't know how many 'real' composers use it, but I've seen some 'compositions' that make me suspect this, when notes fly randomly around the staves with all sorts of weird cross-rhythms which make no sense - except when someone is doodling at the keyboard....

Anyway, all this technology is beyond my feeble brain. I just write my music on manuscript paper, then check out what I've written by playing it on the piano afterwards, and make corrections/alterations as necessary.

Posted by: peterws

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/15/13 05:19 AM

"Anyway, all this technology is beyond my feeble brain. I just write my music on manuscript paper, then check out what I've written by playing it on the piano afterwards, and make corrections/alterations as necessary."

At least you do it properly! I`ve recorded stuff, but the music`s in me `ed. This Sibelius sounds up my street . . . Just - Play and LO! . . .Music appears . . how good`s that??
Posted by: bennevis

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/15/13 06:12 AM

Originally Posted By: peterws
"Anyway, all this technology is beyond my feeble brain. I just write my music on manuscript paper, then check out what I've written by playing it on the piano afterwards, and make corrections/alterations as necessary."

At least you do it properly! I`ve recorded stuff, but the music`s in me `ed. This Sibelius sounds up my street . . . Just - Play and LO! . . .Music appears . . how good`s that??


Do you remember a guy on a BBC reality TV show called 'Goldie' (I think), who couldn't read music?

He 'composed' a piece of music using the Sibelius stuff, then someone orchestrated (and corrected/improved) his music for him under his verbal instructions, and then even got it played by a symphony orchestra.....
Posted by: pv88

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/15/13 06:17 AM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
Anyway, all this technology is beyond my feeble brain. I just write my music on manuscript paper, then check out what I've written by playing it on the piano afterwards, and make corrections/alterations as necessary.


Actually, the Sibelius and Finale softwares are very expensive as well as they take a very long time (or, learning curve) to figure out how to use them. So, I do as you do and end up writing down my occasional transcription by hand, instead.
Posted by: peterws

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/15/13 06:33 AM

Silly me . . .
I thought it was free
Posted by: mabraman

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/15/13 07:30 AM

Musescore is free...

Edit:...and quite usable, just taking care of how it works, I mean, configuring the sheet (bar width, number of bars, etc) right before you begin to enter the notes, and leaving some details (expression ties) to the final stage.
Of course it takes some time to learn how to use it, but it's very well done.
If you are working on easy or short pieces, it's faster to write it yourself on the fly.
But for larger/difficult pieces, combos, lead sheets or some purposes (i.e. transposition)...it's a great tool. And you can enter notes via midi, too.
I often use it to get the sheets cleaner, for my teacher gives them to me hand-written, sometimes.
Posted by: Dr Popper

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/15/13 09:41 AM

Originally Posted By: bennevis


Point taken, but I have an awful suspicion that if I'd started out learning on such a DP as a child, I wouldn't have become a classical pianist and be able to play most of the world's great piano music that's been composed over the past few centuries.

I was very intrigued by, and learning about new things - especially mechanical ones that I can participate in. (I loved designing and making model planes that can fly, and taking things apart to see how they worked, for instance). If I had a DP that could give me all sorts of sounds and rhythm accompaniments etc when I was learning to play, I'd have spent all my 'practice' time playing with all those possibilities, rather than building up my technique and musicianship - which required thousands of hours of incessant practising, and listening critically to myself playing, for which there are no short-cuts (as I was no prodigy cry).


Yeah but you might have been able to learn how to play more varied types of music that maybe even other people would pay to hear and make a living out of it. You never know where things might lead. I've never had a piano lesson in my life and yet I've probably played to more people then most classical pianists in history. Some of its practice , some of its technique .... But most of its just pure luck.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/15/13 11:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Dr Popper



Yeah but you might have been able to learn how to play more varied types of music that maybe even other people would pay to hear and make a living out of it. You never know where things might lead. I've never had a piano lesson in my life and yet I've probably played to more people then most classical pianists in history. Some of its practice , some of its technique .... But most of its just pure luck.


I realized quite early on that I had no gift for music, or playing the piano - my cousins (who were responsible for my parents wanting their children to learn piano - keeping up with the Joneses and all that....) were younger than me but already playing Mozart's Rondo alla turca at 8 (well, they did start learning piano at 5), while I could just about pick out 'Twinkle, twinkle little star' at 10 cry.

My parents weren't musical - there was hardly any music in the home before the piano arrived. I listened to pop and rock songs on the radio like everyone else, but it wasn't until by chance when (after being given a short-wave radio, which I promptly took apart...) I tuned in to a classical music request program on BBC World Service (I wasn't living in the West then) that I found music that really 'spoke' to me. It was Mozart's Symphony No.40: that first movement kept haunting me, until I finally saved enough money to go to a record shop and buy an LP of it to play on the turntable at home (which was gathering dust until then). And I knew then that it was classical music that would dominate my listening (and keep my interest in playing the piano going), regardless of what my friends and parents thought. I had, and still have, a thick enough skin that I didn't care what people thought of me..... grin

I had no interest in playing any other kind of music until many years later, when it was sort of fun occasionally to jam with friends playing pop music (even if I'd never heard the songs before - I just improvised my way through them wink ), as we once did on an Alaskan ferry, to an appreciative (?) audience. I also played the odd classical recital for fun or for charity. But I didn't think it would be right for me to make any money out of my piano playing when there are so many pianists (young and not-so-young) struggling to get concert engagements, so I'd never take on any 'job' where a fee was offered (- or should have been offered), which I thought would be better suited to a professional pianist.

Oddly enough, I have no qualms at all about making money out of my (amateur) photography by selling my mountaineering and travel photos to magazines, etc. I figured that if a professional photographer can't climb, he won't be able to get the photos I got, so I'm not depriving him of his income...... grin
Posted by: LarryShone

Re: What is the point of all the sounds? - 03/15/13 06:36 PM

Funny isnt it. I have one keyboard, not even full size (5 octaves). I bought it in 1999 for under £200. Now although it has, for its class a fantastic piano voice,and a great DSP it also contains over 100 other voices. OK theyre all sampled so are pretty authentic but I only wanted a piano voice. So when I get chance to play it I end up playing through the various voices and forgetting why I switched it on!
And annoyingly at the time it was almost impossible to buy a digital piano for that kind of money, yet it was quite possible to buy a home keyboard complete with midi and 4 track recorder!!