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#1177646 - 04/10/09 12:18 AM Re: Could you have gotten where you are with a DP? [Re: Chris H.]
MoodyBluesKeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 258
Loc: Trent Woods, NC
In my case, I HAVE made my accomplishments on a digital instrument; although my playing is only now at an intermediate level. For several reasons, including financial, space, and the possibility of silent practice; a quality standard piano is not within my reach.

I play primarily on two instruments, the older is a Kurzweil PC2X, the newer is the Kurzweil PC3X. I am presently at a level where I am beginning to work on the easier pieces by Chopin.

On my digital, I do have the opportunity to practice whenever I wish, without disturbing others. More practice improves my playing at a faster rate than less practice on a grand. I do have three pedals, all functional (similar, although not exactly like the function of the three pedals on a grand). The damper pedal does not provide for half-pedaling. At this point, that has not posed a problem, although it might at some future point.

The PC3X in particular has a very good sound, especially in the souple of octaves beginning an octave above middle C - quite bell-like with sufficient sustain (the older electronic instruments that I have played to not perform well in this area). The instrument is NOT styled so as to look like a piano, being a pro keyboard that is stage piano shaped. By the way, the amplification and speaker systems employed make a large difference in its sound.

One area that I have noticed that is quite different from a traditional piano - if the key is not quite fully released, and struck again, it will sound (since the mechanism is not make like a traditional piano action) - if I am playing a traditional piano quite softly, I have to take extra precaution to be sure that all the notes are heard.

Life is a series of many compromises. Even if I were to inherit, or otherwise come into, a new Tier 1 grand piano; I would still not get rid of my Kurzweil. Now, part of this is because I also use my instruments as synthesizers in various ensembles, so I am not always playing piano. The action is harder than most spinet and studio pianos which I have played, about the same resistance as a local church's Yamaha grand, but less than the college's S&S model B. More important, I cannot (yet) play faster than it is capable of responding, and the action is very even.

Hopefully, my response is useful to the OP. My wife and myself will be playing in a recital in a couple of weeks. I plan to use it, having already tried the Kawaii studio that is at the recital site. I have been so well satisfied that I also purchased a 76key PC3 to use on gigs.
Jim Cason
Promised LAN Computing, Inc.
Howard C171 Grand, Kurzweil PC3X, PC3, PC361, PC2X, PC2.
JBL 10&15 EONG2s, EV SxA100+s QSC K10s, HP & ThinkPad DAWs, eMu 1820M & 1616M.
Epi Les Paul & LP 5str Bass, Trace amp-cabinets.
Formerly in electronic keyboard repair trade - semi-retired

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#1177961 - 04/10/09 02:33 PM Re: Could you have gotten where you are with a DP? [Re: pianozuki]
rrb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 212
Loc: Bend, USA
Originally Posted By: pianozuki
So: how many of the excellent pianists here practice mainly on a DP and don't have a grand piano? Does/did it limit your progress? ... Rephrasing: Can you imagine getting to where you are today if from the beginning you had used only one of the best DPs available now?

This thread has wandered quite a bit and thrown up a couple of possibly peripheral but rather interesting questions. This is my attempt at a summary.

If I interpret the original question as 'Does using a DP for practice hinder playing on a P?', the consensus answer seems to be 'No!, rather the converse, because use of a DP allows practice at times and in locations where practice on a P would be either antisocial or impossible'. An advantage of the DP which one can immediately understand and accept.

A secondary question that came to take over the thread is whether a modern DP 'sounds like' a P. Various posts suggest that a modern DP gets very close, though this refers, presumably, to a comparison of the sound generated by a DP + headphones versus the sound from a CD of a P playing the same piece, and listened to on the same headphones.

The question for which K-Ch proposed an experimental test, is, I think, a bit different.
'Suppose one set up in a concert setting a concert grand on the one hand, and a modern DP with the finest available sound reproduction system on the other. An opaque curtain separates these instruments from an audience. A selection of pieces from the literature is played on each instrument, with the audience unaware which instrument is being played. Each member of the audience is given a card with the sequence of pieces (say ABCDCBDA) listed and check boxes provided which are to be marked according to which instrument the listener believes is playing each piece. The results are then analyzed statistically to determine whether there is any bias one way or the other.'

Is this a reasonable description of your 'Turing Test' for DP v P, K-Ch? If so, the test is not only of the digital output of the DP but of the mechanical system that converts this into sound waves. Since I've never experienced a sound reproduction system that adequately reproduces the full dynamic range of a concert grand, I would expect the result of this test to be a foregone conclusion. Even if the waveform emitted by the DP were identical to that of the P, the sound reproduction system would distort it.

A fairer test for the DP may be to compare with recordings of a P made on an analogue master tape in a concert setting and reproduced from that tape via the same sound reproduction system used by the DP. (Of course, the recording onto the master tape will introduce distortion, but this is presumably significantly less than the mechanical distortion induced by the reproduction system.)

A third question, which has received almost no attention, is whether playing a DP gives the same level of enjoyment as playing on a P. I guess this is my question. I'd be interested in comments from people who've had the experience. A sensible formulation of the question might be:
'Do you get more, less or the same level of satisfaction when playing a concert grand or a modern DP?'

#1177990 - 04/10/09 03:12 PM Re: Could you have gotten where you are with a DP? [Re: rrb]
kennychaffin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/09
Posts: 889
Loc: Aurora, CO
RRB, I think your potential experimental set up would work fine. smile

Again all I was interested in proposing was the experiment itself. It would hopefully be set up in a "proper" scientific manner to limit the variances and give useful results.
Kenny A. Chaffin
Art Gallery - Print Gallery - Poetry
"Strive on with Awareness" - Siddhartha Gautama

#1178166 - 04/10/09 09:16 PM Re: Could you have gotten where you are with a DP? [Re: rrb]
Larry B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 383
Loc: Boston
Originally Posted By: rrb
A sensible formulation of the question might be:
'Do you get more, less or the same level of satisfaction when playing a concert grand or a modern DP?'

Funny - I did this tonight. I was at Guitar Center with my son to buy an equipment case, and could note resist trying all the digitals. I played and still own a Yamaha P200 digital for several years before getting a decent acoustic. In fact, I owned an old (but playable) "stencil" baby grand piano from the 1920s at the time I bought the digital, and the digital was a good step up from that. The P200 is a very very good digital, with full weighted keys. I'm grateful to it and for it, as it was my main piano for some time.

That said, I played the (new model) P300 tonight, as well as a wide sampling of others in the US$800-2000 range.

It was not hard to adjust to the digitals, and in some cases, they were kind of easier to play. Dynamics that I struggle with a little on my grand were simpler because the instrument is simpler. Pieces on my grand with which I work to get the sustain just right through a combination of pedaling and good fingerwork were easier on the digital since the sustain is less complex and easier to control.

Classical music was most unsatisfying - no "depth" to it; while my favorite moment was playing Billy Joel's Rosalinda's Eyes with a setting that really sounded a lot like the Fender Rhodes he plays on that song.

So, do I like a good digital piano for some things? Yup. Great tools, they are. Having a to choose one or the other, would I be "satisfied" with one in place of my first-rate acoustic now? No way.

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#1178410 - 04/11/09 10:56 AM Re: Could you have gotten where you are with a DP? [Re: pianozuki]
FunkyLlama Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/09
Posts: 359
Well, I have. An acoustic would be too costly, so I only have a digital. My piano teacher has a baby grand and I regularly play on the grand at college, so it's not too much of a problem playing on a proper piano.

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