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Re: Piano teachers do not accept digital piano
malkin #2303420 07/17/14 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by malkin
Since the dB scale is logarithmic, it doesn't make sense to say something has a dynamic range of 20dB, because the between 0-20dB is not as great a difference as 20-40dB or from 40-80dB.

Actually, the differences are identical. That's the beauty of using db's. They express a power ratio and a 20db ratio is roughly 100X.

[I guess I should explain where I learned this stuff. Way back when, during the Vietnam war, I was drafted and the military, in it's wisdom, decided that musicians would make excellent electronics engineers, so sent me to electronics school for 24 mos. When I got out I was able to parlay that knowledge into a sideline recording business, which definitely helped make ends meet, as a teacher. Not entirely a bad exchange!]


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Re: Piano teachers do not accept digital piano
bigsmile #2303448 07/17/14 03:44 PM
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I was going to say that you remember your audiology better than I do, but the fact is that I really only learned enough to become a speech-language pathologist, which is not very much!

[So, in your case at least, the military got it right!]


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Re: Piano teachers do not accept digital piano
malkin #2303481 07/17/14 05:19 PM
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Yes, I should have made clear that I was talking about "usable" dynamic range -- playing softer than the ambient noise is (a) very hard, and (b) musically pretty useless.

From a "Sound on Sound" article:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may99/articles/recpiano.htm

Quote
With the dampers lifted, a piano will resonate for over 10 seconds in the middle registers and over 40 seconds in the bass strings, although the balance of decay times is very dependent on the construction. The top C may last around 3 seconds and the same spread of decay times is apparent within the harmonic series of a single note, with the fundamental or first partial lasting far longer than the upper harmonics. The dynamic range of a piano, measured at the rather distant reach of 10 metres, varies between about 85dBC and 70dBC for the loudest playing (the upper notes being weaker than the bass notes). At the quiet end of the scale, bass notes rest around 50dBC, with mid and upper notes falling to 37dBC.


I don't know if I believe those numbers. But they give (C-weighted, which I think means "flat, no EQ") ranges of something around 50 dB.

The question of why you can hear a solo piano over (or "through") an orchestra -- that's a very good point! And I don't have any simple answer.

. Charles

PS -- I don't think we'll get much more out of this tangent. My point was only that the dynamic range of a good DP (sampled, or modelled like Pianoteq) is similar to the dynamic range of an AP. [For examples of measured DP dynamic ranges, see the "DPBSD" thread in the "DP and Synth" forum.]


. Charles
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Re: Piano teachers do not accept digital piano
Charles Cohen #2303486 07/17/14 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen

The question of why you can hear a solo piano over (or "through") an orchestra -- that's a very good point! And I don't have any simple answer.


Well, you don't always, depending on how thick the orchestral textures are, how carefully the conductor scales down the dynamics, and how reverberant the hall is.

In the Brahms concertos, the piano is frequently drowned out by the orchestra when heard in concert. But when you're there watching, you see, and focus in on the pianist's playing, and your brain filters out some of the orchestra. If you were to hear exactly the same performance without being able to see it, you'd be straining hard to hear what the pianist is playing much of the time in the tuttis.

It helps if the piano is voiced brightly, so that it rings out with its distinctive timbre. That's how the solo violin in a violin concerto can be heard even above the orchestral violins - a good composer will make sure that the soloist is playing at a higher pitch than any of the strings when they are also playing, and of course, the conductor will also scale the volume of the orchestra down. But in a cello concerto, things are much more difficult, and it's much more difficult for it to ride above the orchestra in tuttis.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Piano teachers do not accept digital piano
bennevis #2303631 07/18/14 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Charles Cohen

The question of why you can hear a solo piano over (or "through") an orchestra -- that's a very good point! And I don't have any simple answer.


Well, you don't always, depending on how thick the orchestral textures are, how carefully the conductor scales down the dynamics, and how reverberant the hall is.


When I lived in Germany I had a long daily commute, much of it on the Autobahn.

I listened to the local Radio Klassik station, and they seemed to program more piano than anything else. The piano competed well with the road noise frequencies, and other instruments did not. I don't know if it was the timbre or the pitch range or a little of both. A middle brass concerto, say trombone or horn, was difficult to hear, but piano was fine. At any rate, I think they chose music partly based on what would be heard in high speed driving.

The radio engineers probably had a different approach to compression as well.


gotta go practice
Re: Piano teachers do not accept digital piano
bigsmile #2303700 07/18/14 11:19 AM
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I am not a piano teacher, just a parent smile

I never grew up with musical instruments in the home. I now have 2 digital pianos (Yamaha Clavinovas), 2 guitars (well, 1 is broken), and a drum set.

With regards to the pianos ... my kids have spent countless hours on those pianos practicing, singing, playing for family and friends ... we even have had a few neighborhood block parties where we moved all the equipment into our garage and had a little "garage band" action happening during the party.

I have been rejected by piano teachers who will only teach if the family has an "acoustic".

All I can say is that having music in the home is an absolute blessing. I cannot thank those teachers enough who have been able to look past our "flawed" pianos and continued to teach my kids.

Re: Piano teachers do not accept digital piano
bigsmile #2303847 07/18/14 08:33 PM
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Quote
. . .
The radio engineers probably had a different approach to compression as well.


Radio engineers are well-known for compressing music as much as they can. Especially for pop music, people like to listen to the _loudest_ station on the dial.

The FM classical stations are probably a little bit closer to the original (recorded) sound. But they know that many people will be listening in their cars. And that means that they _must_ boost the soft passages. Without such boost, those sections would be way, way below the level of "road noise".

. Charles



. Charles
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Re: Piano teachers do not accept digital piano
rlinkt #2329482 09/21/14 12:30 AM
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Thanks for your reply. My son has already started off with a piano teacher who doesn't mind us having a DP. He's on his second lesson just yesterday. At this moment, I really don't know how much success my son is going to have, so my next move is going to depend on that. If he's really into classic, then surely I will buy him an acoustic.

Thanks again, your advice is really helpful.

Originally Posted by rlinkt
Originally Posted by bigsmile
Thanks for the reply.

To be honest, I'm not that into classic music. I have no intention of entering my son into serious competitions, at least not before he show any sign of being talented at this, he's not the competitive type.

I like music myself, as I said, I learn piano by myself on and off. I mostly want to introduce my son to music. I also want him to be good at piano, but I'm not that keen about him being able to play difficult classic works, but just having a way of expressing himself through keyboard.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I just want him to be mediocre. I actually want him to be good, but I don't want him to just be good at playing difficult piano musics, but to be good at a broader sense, to be proficient in keyboard music or even music in general.


Also a parent here, and I shared much of your sentiment when I started my daughter on piano -- and that's what is motivating me to respond. This is just my perspective. I had no particular affinity for classical piano either. I just wanted my daughter to enjoy and appreciate music. Personally I am much more of a rock and blues enthusiast. But so far, my daughter is more interested in playing classical music. She is not that motivated about experimenting yet, which I consider to be pretty essential for rock / blues / jazz. In her case, she really needed an acoustic piano to develop the right techniques to play these classical pieces. So I would recommend keeping your child's need in mind in figuring out if and when to move to an acoustic piano. If my daughter had been more interested in blues / jazz, I probably would thought seriously about moving to high end digital piano instead.

My daughter was also five when we started her. She played a digital piano for three years. I will say that while her basic playing skills developed pretty well, i.e. sight reading, rhythm, fluency, she did not come close to being able to get tone or articulation out of an acoustic. It took her some time to adjust her technique after we got the acoustic. In retrospect, should we have started with an acoustic? Without knowing what she will actually enjoy -- NO!!

Re: Piano teachers do not accept digital piano
bigsmile #2329498 09/21/14 01:30 AM
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Thanks for all that had replied. I had read through all 4 pages of replies (trust me I am serious), there are some very informative posts.

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