Film Focus – All About The Digital Electric Piano

Have you ever stopped to think just how many films use the digital piano as their main focus be it in the title, or as a specific scene. For example, the following  films have titles dedicated to the electric piano;

The Digital Piano Teacher (2001)

This is a psychological drama about a failed concert digital grand piano player Erika Kohut. She is a dowdy spinster who lives with her elderly mother in an apartment in Vienna and teaches digital piano at the conservatory. Her life is an entangled web of solitary and less than moral kicks. Then she meets Walter, a student, who is attracted to her – the attraction leads her into a sado-masochistic relationship, carried out on Erika’s terms. The digital piano score comprises predominatly of Schubert electric piano scores. Continue reading “Film Focus – All About The Digital Electric Piano”

The Digital Piano – Modern Monster or Dinosaur

The instrument of choice

Ask any child what instrument they would most enjoy playing and they will reply without hesitation – the digital piano. Likewise, ask a worldly adult and they will equally reply –the digital piano. The minds of adults and children alike will instantaneously skip the hours of practice bequeathed to such an undertaking and instead conjure up images of success as they sit at their piano stool and execute their favourite pieces with ease. They are transformed into their favourite celebrity be it singer-songwriters Alesha Keys, Stevie Wonder or the child prodigy Mozart. Continue reading “The Digital Piano – Modern Monster or Dinosaur”

Your Guide To The ‘Do & Doo Doo’s’ Of The Digital Piano? Part 1

Firstly, do be aware that a digital piano is a modern electronic musical instrument, different from the electronic keyboard, designed to serve primarily as an alternative to a traditional piano, both in the way it feels to play and in the sound produced. When considering your purchase do remember that the digital piano is meant to provide a simulation of a real piano. Some digital pianos are also designed to look like an acoustic piano. While digital pianos may fall short of a real piano in feel and sound, they nevertheless have many advantages over normal pianos:

  • Compared to an acoustic piano, the digital piano is generally less expensive.
  • Most models are smaller and considerably lighter, but there are large ones as well.
  • They have no strings and thus do not require tuning. They also easily accommodate different temperaments on demand.
  • Depending on the individual features of each digital piano, they may include many more instrument sounds including strings, guitars, organs, and more.
  • They are much more likely to incorporate a MIDI implementation.
  • They may have more features to assist in learning and composition.
  • They usually include headphone output.
  • They often have a transposition feature.
  • They do not require the use of microphones, eliminating the problem of audio feedback in sound reinforcement, as well as simplifying the recording process.

Sound of a Digital Piano

In most implementations, a digital pianos do produces a variety of piano timbres and usually other sounds as well. For example, a digital piano may have settings for an electric piano, an upright piano, a tack piano, and various electric pianos such as the Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer. Some digital pianos incorporate other basic “synthesizer” sounds such as string ensemble, voice doo doo, world sounds and offer settings to combine them with piano.

The sounds produced by a digital piano are samples stored in ROM. The samples stored in digital pianos are usually of very high quality and are made using world class pianos, expensive microphones, and high-quality preamps in a professional recording studio.Digital pianos do have limitations on the faithfulness with which they reproduce the sound of an acoustic piano.

On an acoustic piano, the sustain pedal lifts the dampers for all strings, allowing them to resonate naturally with the notes played. Digital pianos all have a similar pedal switch to hold notes in suspension, but only some can reproduce the resonating effect.

Many digital pianos include an amplifier and loudspeakers so that no additional equipment is required to play the instrument. Some do not. Most digital pianos incorporate headphone output.

Footnote

So, do your homework and know the do’s & doo doo’s before entering into the world of the digital piano.

The Plot Thickens in Sparky’s Magic Digital Piano – Part IV

Even more characters…

Miss Sarah Pickett

She is Sparky’s digital piano teacher, who was always disappointed with him because of his lake of commitment to learn the electric piano. She was just as shocked as everyone else when Sparky played so well. Miss Pickett thinks that Sparky is the finest digital piano player she has ever heard and she was the person who thought of putting him on stage to play. She embarks on a strict regime of practice for Sparky and collates a repertoire of digital piano music that will dazzle audiences worldwide including Léonard Gautier’s ‘The Secret’ and Liszt’s ‘Hungarian Rhapsody’ No 2 in C#m which she cleverly arranges or electronic piano and orchestra! Moreover Miss Pickles was dazzled by the thought of fame and fortune. She had no qualms in pushing herself forward to tell the world’s press that she was the digital piano teacher of the child prodigy, Sparky.

Max

He is a music critic for National Magazine. In his job he sees the good and the bad and when he first sees Sparky, he pre- judges him and thinks he will be bad. One other thing clouds his judgement, he hates child prodigy’s, so when he finds out that Sparky is very good he tries to discredit him and find out his secret. He even tried to swap Sparky’s digital piano for an identical one, but Sparky was too smart for him and he swapped it back. Poor Max went mad when he saw Sparky playing the electric piano so elegantly Sam had to get the men in white coats to drag him away to the mental hospital.

Sam

He works with Max and follows him around most of the time. He isn’t as mean as Max and thinks that Sparky has a fantastic talent on the digital piano. He is always hungry and looking for something to eat. So there are all the characters.

Now sit back and watch the Sparky’s fly!

Jr

Meet The Family in Sparky’s Magic Digital Piano – Part III

The other characters

Beans is Sparky’s faithful dog, who watches him while he has his digital piano lessons. Beans will protect Sparky from anyone who tries to do him harm. He even oversaw Max, Sam and his father swapping Sparky’s digital piano for a duplicate one. In the story Beans ran off to get Sparky and show him what was happening. Beans goes everywhere with Sparky and even gets his own 1st class seat when flying with him.

Mrs Wilson is Sparky’s mother, who wants Sparky to learn the digital piano. She would love for him to play well, so forces Sparky to practice for 1 hour each night, but little does she know that he sneaks out most nights to play baseball. A real tiger mum! She is so shocked when she hears Sparky playing the digital piano really well and it is too much for her and she faints. It seems that all her dreams are coming true. She is blinded by her aspirations for Sparky and herself, so pushed him forward to earn them fame and fortune with a whirlwind concert tour. She even ignored her husband’s pleas that he is only a little boy who should be in school.

Mr Wilson is Sparky’s Dad. He is a sceptical person and didn’t believe that Sparky had turned into a boy genius at the digital piano. He even looked everywhere in the room to find out where the music was really coming from including the hi-fi. He was happy that Sparky was a proficient digital piano player, but he kept his feet on the ground and pointed out that Sparky was a little boy that should be at school and not performing in concerts.   Sparky’s Dad was not at all happy when he found out his wife and Miss Pickles had taken Sparky on a concert tour. Indeed it took him a while to get time off from work and try to bring Sparky home. His wife hadn’t noticed that Sparky had become arrogant and rude, but his father saw it straight away and knew action needed to be taken.

A Lesson To Be Learnt On Sparky’s Magic Digital Piano – Part II

The Prodigy Digital Piano Player – Sparky is an 8 year old little boy, whose life changed when his digital piano started to speak to him. It seems that Sparky is the only one who that can hear the piano speak. With the piano helping him out and playing the music, he took to the stage where he became a massive hit. So popular was his concerts that suddenly he became an overnight sensation and he was touring the country. But all the attention started to go to his head and he became very spoilt and was rude to the digital piano. When the digital piano stopped playing for him, everyone in the audience started to laugh at Sparky who sat at his piano stool embarrassed and dumbfounded. At last the audience could hear how dreadful his real piano skills were.     Continue reading “A Lesson To Be Learnt On Sparky’s Magic Digital Piano – Part II”

Sparky’s Magic Digital Piano – A Modern Story

The original story – Sparky’s Magic Piano was the second in a series of children’s audio stories featuring Sparky, an original character created for Capitol Records in 1947. Sparky was a little boy with an over-active imagination in which his adventures involved objects which magically came to life and talked to him e.g. his piano. But image if you will the same story in a more contemporary setting involving a digital piano. Continue reading “Sparky’s Magic Digital Piano – A Modern Story”

MR PIANO MAN – THAT’S THE WONDER OF STEVIE

Known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist including vocals, various keyboards including digital piano, percussion & harmonica to name but a few. Stevie was a child prodigy who developed into one of the most creative musical figures of the late 20th century. Blind since shortly after birth, Wonder signed with Motown‘s Tamla label at the age of eleven and continues to perform and record for Motown to this day. In his junior years he was named “Little” Stevie Wonder and his first album made him a huge child star.  Continue reading “MR PIANO MAN – THAT’S THE WONDER OF STEVIE”

Room At the Inn – A Digital Piano’s Tale

So you’re thinking of buying a digital piano this Christmas. You’ll need to send a note to Santa then. After all, he’s got the job of parcelling it up and getting it delivered…. down the chimney. That’s the easy bit as the question still remains ‘Where are we going to put it?’ Not sure. What about a contemporary Digital Piano, also known as Electric Piano? Reply to self:  it will need ready access to electricity and all the plug points are in use! Then there’s the piano stool and the lessons. These are the questions that will flow through your mind as you start to consider your purchase and hopefully arrive at your decision in time for the ‘big day’. Continue reading “Room At the Inn – A Digital Piano’s Tale”

Choosing the right piano stool for the job

Sir Winston Churchill once said ‘Why stand when you can sit!

So why is keeping the correct posture so important?

Consider the fairy sitting on her toadstool adding a sense of enchantment and nostalgia to the garden. She looks comfortable; no wriggling or sliding off and all actions are effortless to her. The correct posture helps prevent her body from damage and stress that might occur while sitting through the long hours on her toadstool.

And why is it so important to find a suitable piano stool?

Similarly good posture on the right piano stool allows us to produce continuous power and flow while we play. The result is greater sensitivity and focus due to having the right ‘stool for the job’.

Sir Winston Churchill also said“… courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen’’. Sitting on your piano stool and listening are two essential elements associated with playing your keyboard be it a Grand piano or digital piano. Firstly, sit at the stool with your feet on the ground; knees slightly under the keyboard; sit on the front half of the piano stool; straight back with your elbows slightly higher than the keyboard; loose shoulders & long neck with your palms curved as if holding a tennis ball; think ‘puppet’ and keep your arms buoyant. Continue reading “Choosing the right piano stool for the job”