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My mom recently took up piano after my uncles shared some videos of their one man band performances on arranger keyboards. She got herself a cheap arranger keyboard to learn on but she stays over at my place a few months a year and asked me to get her one for her visits. I've been thinking of getting a digital for ages to practice at night but I'm not really interested in the arranger functionality but more sound and touch. I started researching which models of digitals have arranger and there's very few choices.

Yamaha has the Clavinova's which are way out of my price range and the DGX-660 which I tried and didn't like. I think Casio has one and Korg is coming out with one soon. I think my ideal choice would have been something like a Yamaha CP88 or Kawai MP11SE if they had arranger functionality but they don't. Just curious why these companies wouldn't include this function in their high end stage models but have it in a lower end model like the DGX-660? Seems like a pretty inexpensive feature to add which might be a desired function for retired folks picking up piano.

At this point I'm waiting for the Korg XE20 reviews to come out but I'm guessing the pandemic has delayed its release.

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Because those who buy hi-end stage (and house) pianos are true pianists.

Sorry but the left hand technic in arranger keyboards is non musical, when you play like that on an acoustic piano, it's not music...

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I thought that arranging is done in a studio, not on a stage.
So you use a stage piano on stage and an arranger keyboard in the studio.

Am I right?

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Not that you couldn't combine the two into a single keyboard, but market segmentation will increase sales...


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I get that a lot of people (myself included) who want higher end piano piano action and sound wouldn't be interested in arranger backing tracks but people don't always buy the piano for themselves only. Other family members might appreciate different features. I guess I just find it weird that these super cheap keyboards have this functionality that my mom wants but the highest end digital pianos do not.

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Originally Posted by nappy
My mom recently took up piano after my uncles shared some videos of their one man band performances on arranger keyboards. She got herself a cheap arranger keyboard to learn on but she stays over at my place a few months a year and asked me to get her one for her visits. I've been thinking of getting a digital for ages to practice at night but I'm not really interested in the arranger functionality but more sound and touch. I started researching which models of digitals have arranger and there's very few choices.

Yamaha has the Clavinova's which are way out of my price range and the DGX-660 which I tried and didn't like. I think Casio has one and Korg is coming out with one soon. I think my ideal choice would have been something like a Yamaha CP88 or Kawai MP11SE if they had arranger functionality but they don't. Just curious why these companies wouldn't include this function in their high end stage models but have it in a lower end model like the DGX-660? Seems like a pretty inexpensive feature to add which might be a desired function for retired folks picking up piano.

At this point I'm waiting for the Korg XE20 reviews to come out but I'm guessing the pandemic has delayed its release.

Originally Arrangers did not exist we had sequencers. Obviously pro musicians are historically used to sequencers when it comes to creating/arranging songs/music. The idea of a professional arranger and sequencer is really neat but it was never fully materialized.

Yamaha is one of the most successful companies in manufacturing arranger keyboards and Yamaha has gone very far in development of hybrid sequencers with arranger capabilities. You can check Yamaha QY700!

QY700 is a sequencer and an arranger at the same time! Two MIDI in/out and some onboard sounds. 32 sequence tracks and 16 pattern tracks perfect eh?!

It is no surprise that Yamaha discontinued this product after they perfected it:

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Looks very much like MOTIF XS/XF which came out a decade later eh?


In fact, the MOTIF series has many of the features of this sequencer, under the exact same name, same functionality and parameters. Yamaha just trimmed it down.

Today, you see many of the features of this sequencer in Yamaha Genos which will cost you a suitcase full of money, 5000 USD. The stupid thing is we still don't see the functionality of QY700


Yamaha PSR, DGX, etc. are week musicians' tools. I had a Yamaha PSR-740 in the late '90s and I could never sequence a song fully on it. Arrangers are only good for playing a cliche rhythm. A repetitive pattern. If you want to compose or arrange a song properly, you need to manually play every single instrument. You need to play the drum, percussion, bass, guitar, etc exactly the same way on the actual instrument. You should learn a bit about drums and patterns, bass and guitars, and literally know how to play each of them a little bit, what instruments match sonically together, and many more. That's the beauty of arranging.

On a PA arranger or PSR arranger, it's impossible to do all of these. Why would one need an arranger if they can't be incorporated professionally? Even Genos is not a professional workstation when it comes to arranging music!

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I thought that arranging is done in a studio, not on a stage.
So you use a stage piano on stage and an arranger keyboard in the studio.

Am I right?

With arranger keyboards, you can play songs on the fly with the preset rhythms.

Originally Posted by Melving
Not that you couldn't combine the two into a single keyboard, but market segmentation will increase sales...

That's right. Yamaha, Korg and Roland have decided to separate them so that they can make more money.

Last edited by Abdol; 05/07/20 09:15 PM.

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And one very important thing I forgot to mention is that if you buy a pro stage piano like MP11 or Yamaha CP1, you are most likely going to play along with a band, so there will be a drummer, bassist, guitarist etc. Having an arranger will be pretty much useless.


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Wow thanks for the detailed explanation Abdol!

Yeah my mom is looking for the preset rhythms and backing chords/arpeggios that are automatically played by hitting a note in bass. Most of it sounds kinda cheesy to me but I can imagine it can be very neat for beginners. I'm thinking of going with the Yamaha DGX-660 but it came out 4 years ago and Yamaha was updating this line every 2-3 years so it feels like an update is coming soon.

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"Arranger" is one thing and can mean that you can make your own accompaniments too, but there are many piano like products with fixed accompaniment patterns
- A few Medeli and Dynatone products that are nowhere to be found(?)
- Yamaha DGX series
- A few Casio Privia and Celviano models (PX-560M, CGP-700, AP-710?) and also the CDP-S350
- Most Rolands: RP-501R and F-140R have everything built-in and others need Roland's app on a smartphone or tablet, some (FP-10 and FP30?) lack the wider instrument set
- Korg XE20 (and the discontinued Havian 30)
- Dexibell pianos, but only with their iOS app. running on an iPhone/iPad
- Yamaha CVP models
- Others?

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Arrangers are designed for live performers and entertainers. They're really useful for small bands/ensembles. I know several small performing groups who use arrangers - and they can knock the socks off you when they perform. Honest to god old-school entertainers - and their audiences aren't interested in hearing a solo classical piano performance, they're there to experience an all-around show from good performers.

This is probably one of the main reasons arrangers are a separate category from standard stage and digital pianos - it's a very different world - and requires a different set of musical skills. Not saying they don't overlap - but you gotta pick the right tool for the job. Adding arranger features to a digital piano isn't super attractive to to those buyers. And vice versa, entertainers who need arrangers are looking for more than just a digital piano.

Don't get me started on the Combo-Organ keyboard category! grin In the end, I assume I'm gonna have one of each keyboard ...

My gear list right now:
- Roland FP-30 Digital Piano
- Yamaha PSR S970 Arranger
- Kawai K800 Upright
... shopping for a combo-organ probably the MOJO 61 or Vox Continental
(yah, yah I know - no acoustic Grand yet ... still waiting for the right one)

* and I'm not into synths, so that's never gonna happen.


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I was looking for some basic drum rythms for jazzy stuff practice in the FP90.
It turns out this used to be available in the FP80, but the FP90 only has the metronome built in. There's supposed to be a BT connected app for rythms and presumably also basic accompaniment if you're interested. But when I tried to put it on a tablet at hand, it turned out the Android version is cable-only and it couldn't install, demands Android 7.1, the rating at Google Play is two stars so I haven't bothered and got Walk Band instead. I don't care much but WTF!?

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Oops, it's the old Celviano AP-650 that has accompaniment, not the AP-710.

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Stage pianos are aimed at the professional market. Arrangers are inferior in almost every way to computer based sequencing. The interface is dreadful and the functionality is crap.

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Some of us don’t aspire to be classical pianists. Sorry you got a lot of sneers. I love arrangers and think they’re a lot of fun. Try the Roland F140R. It has accompaniments and a piano touch key bed. I have the Havian 30 and quite like it.


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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Stage pianos are aimed at the professional market. Arrangers are inferior in almost every way to computer based sequencing. The interface is dreadful and the functionality is crap.

Despite the name, arrangers are designed to be used live by performers, usually in small 1-3 person bands. They are pretty good at that. If you compare them to in-studio computer based workstations, they won't perform as well - because that's not what arrangers are designed for.


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I have about ten songs that need some a’ranging. Are you telling me that these so-called ‘arrangers’ aren’t capable of a’ranging these songs for me? That kinda sucks!

I already ordered me one of ‘em arrangers because a certain person ‘round here told me that all you needed to do was play the melody, tell the arranger the style you want (salsa, samba, country, etc..), and out came the a’rangement!

Needless to say, I’m canceling that order! cool

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Originally Posted by Pete14
...all you needed to do was play the melody, tell the arranger the style you want (salsa, samba, country, etc..), and out came the a’rangement!

Yamaha tried to do that in their "XGWorks" software back in the 90's.

The auto-chord feature didnt' really work, but if you fixed them by hand, then you could "arrange" the music in any of the included styles. It had monophonic voice-to-notation conversion too, so you could of (/have) just hummed the melody to a microphone.

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So you’re telling me I could of, should of, and would of, been able to do this’ve with that there XGWorks?

I (kind’ve) doubt that....of! laugh

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I thought that arranging is done in a studio, not on a stage.
So you use a stage piano on stage and an arranger keyboard in the studio.

Am I right?
No... arrangers are essentially "one man band" devices, a fancier version of "auto accompaniment." They (or at least their arranger-specific features) are unlikely to be used on a stage OR in a studio. They are mostly for use in your home, or for doing solo (or close to solo) gigs.... busking, cocktail hour, other such gigs that don't involve a full band.

Originally Posted by johnstaf
Arrangers are inferior in almost every way to computer based sequencing.
Kind of like saying cars are inferior to boats. Very different applications. Sequencing (whether in a computer or a keyboard) is for people who want to compose their own backing tracks; arrangers are for players who want backing tracks automatically generated for them as they play.

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I have a Roland BK-7m. I bought it on the spur of the moment as a possible sound module, not for ther accompaniment capabilities. On FakeBook there is a group for it and several users are accordion players and use it for their one-man-band gigs. Most videos where I see one in use, I find it too robotic/artificial. Probably OK for the intended audience, maybe even in a home have-fun setup, but not to my taste musically speaking.

I have seen some videos in Utube where the folks have a backing track and they sound much better, probably because they were created in a sequencer by the person itself so it add some variability typical of us humans. This is one case where too much "perfection" ruins it.


Kawai ES8, Roland RD2000, Yamaha AG06 mixer, Presonus Eris E5 monitors, Sennheiser HD598SR phones.
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