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Digital Dilemma
#2482832 11/20/15 05:48 PM
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It's really hard when you practice on a digital piano at home, then take lessons with someone who owns an acoustic grand. I have a Yarius YDP-141, so it's a more than capable instrument, but the touch is so different from that of an acoustic that it completely ruins my performances for my teacher. Acoustics's are so much more sensitive, in every way. My digital has the hammer-weighted keys and everything, and it set me back $1100 so it's not like it's a piece. Does anyone else have this problem, and maybe some tips on how to overcome it? I'm auditioning for a music program at a university in February and I don't want to eff it up because I got too comfortable on my digital.

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Re: Digital Dilemma
itsfreakingmeout #2482853 11/20/15 06:39 PM
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There's not much to be done about it. A digital piano is not an acoustic. It doesn't have the same action. It doesn't have the same feel. It doesn't have the same touch. So we ought not pretend it's an acoustic.

If you want a acoustic sound, touch, and behavior, you must get an acoustic. There is no substitute.

Re: Digital Dilemma
itsfreakingmeout #2482856 11/20/15 06:47 PM
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Do not freak out, grasshopper.

First, you have a digital reproduction of a real acoustic instrument with an amazing history of composers and players dedicating their whole lives to advance the craft. You are entering this world with the best of intentions. This is good.

Second, acoustic pianos do not, and never have, play the same as each other. You have probably heard the phrase 'hand-ear coordination'. When you have played, really played, dozens of pianos, you realize that the real skill is not 'I play this passage with this weight', but rather 'I play this passage with whatever weight is required for me to hear the tone I want'. And this means that even with the best 9 foot Steinways you will need to play differently depending on the instrument, the room, the audience, other instruments on stage, etc.

Third, you want to prepare. Yeah! How about finding a handful of real pianos that you could practice on before the audition? Not just one. Many. Okay, so much for my pitiful advice. Good luck!

Re: Digital Dilemma
itsfreakingmeout #2482863 11/20/15 07:24 PM
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I know this problem. The close to ideal solution is to have both DP and acoustic (at least somewhere not so far from you). You can play acoustic quite very little amount of time (daily) but it could be enough for you to get this sensation. Then you are welcome to destroy your DP practicing. And overall it helps a lot with that "switch" problem that is familiar to all pianists. Also consider checking Pianoteq software - it gives the closest sensation to the real one, especially with the higher than default dynamics settings.

Last edited by Andrei Kuznetsov; 11/20/15 07:28 PM.
Re: Digital Dilemma
itsfreakingmeout #2482872 11/20/15 07:54 PM
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Piano/keyboard players through the ages have dealt with house instruments. The grand, baby grand, studio upright, spinet, organ, electric, digital piano whatever is there when they arrive to play the gig. This manufacturer, that model, year, whatever. It's the keyboard player's burden to carry. You sit down, run through some scales, chord changes arps, etc. and get a feel for the action and response of the instrument and adjust and compensate until you've got the hang of it. And that's that. No whining. You get what you get, and you don't get upset. wink


Unless... it's wicked out of tune and has broke keys that don't sound. Then bitch to your heart's content. smile

Re: Digital Dilemma
itsfreakingmeout #2482875 11/20/15 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by itsfreakingmeout
I have a Yarius YDP-141, so it's a more than capable instrument, but the touch is so different from that of an acoustic that it completely ruins my performances for my teacher. Acoustics's are so much more sensitive, in every way.

The most important thing is to set the volume on your digital high enough to be as similar as possible to what you get from your teacher's acoustic. Otherwise, you'll be messing up your sense of touch every time you practice on your digital.

I'm not familiar with the YDP-141, but I suspect that if you're playing using its speakers, the sound isn't loud enough, in which case you'd be better off using good headphones instead.

I practice almost exclusively on my (high-end) digital using only my headphones, and have no problem performing on an acoustic grand (which I do once a month) what I'd practiced at home. Nor on any other acoustic that I encounter. The key action isn't quite the same, but it's close enough not to be a problem. And in any case, acoustic actions differ from each other quite a lot too. But I set the volume control on my digital (via my headphones) to be commensurate with that of a typical baby grand, and have never altered it all the years I've been playing it.


"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: Digital Dilemma
itsfreakingmeout #2482877 11/20/15 08:34 PM
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I've met so many high end grands that I would rank second to my Kawai digital in terms of touch and playability. As said above, it's all different, even among the best instruments.


2012 NY Steinway Model B | Kawai MP11 | Nord Stage 3 Compact | Moog Sub 37 | Behringer DeepMind 12 | Sequential Circuits Prophet 6 | Korg Prologue
Re: Digital Dilemma
itsfreakingmeout #2482943 11/21/15 03:55 AM
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As already mentioned, acoustic piano actions are different by make and model right out of the factory/workshop. They become more diverse with age. I was quite amazed when I played through a dozen or so different pianos in a shop once.

Second, with digital pianos, the action gets more realistic with money spent, as gets the speaker system. You can argue if the relationship is linear, but it is there :-)


Kawai CN35. Daughter wanted a piano, so we got one. Now who'll learn faster? ;-)
Re: Digital Dilemma
itsfreakingmeout #2482977 11/21/15 08:42 AM
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All good advice here. I will add that if you play a wide variety of pianos and even DPs/keyboards you will get better and better at adapting to a new one. When I was in college all I had to play at home on was a synth action keyboard and the schools practice rooms with all different makes and models of uprights, each with their own feel (and tuning!).

It instilled in me the confidence and ability to adapt to any keyboard. Now even minikeys don't bother me. laugh

So I guess my advice is try to play as many different keyboards as you can so you develop a feel for how to adapt quickly. Visit a piano store and spend some time on various models or a music store and play all the different keyboards.

Re: Digital Dilemma
itsfreakingmeout #2483013 11/21/15 11:28 AM
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One thing I've tended to do, FWIW as a beginner, not to obsess over the velocity curves too much, within reason I may make some tweaks. I have several pianoteq presets downloaded from fxp corner for example, they usually come with their own velocity curves, Often I don't even touch them and try them as they come, sometimes I may change a little.

Two fxps I use have rather very different velocity curves that are my regular go to, but you get used how the piano produces tone, and adapt accordingly to extract what you want.

as in what painoman51 says, is how I think about it, as much as that is possible at my level anyway

Quote
'I play this passage with this weight', but rather 'I play this passage with whatever weight is required for me to hear the tone I want'



The more I've done this the easier I find it to switch between, it just like playing different pianos I suppose, or as close to doing so without actually being able to swap out the action.

I often hear people obsessing over velocity curves and one setting but I've never done this, however I do use say 4 or more settings regularly from time to time. If I stick to one setting for a few days I may zone into it a bit better and become a bit more precise accordingly, but that's about it for me.

This video may also be of interest.



Selftaught since June 2014.
Books: Barratt classic piano course bk 1,2,3. Humphries Piano handbook, various...
Kawai CA78, Casio AP450 & software pianos.
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