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The Electronic Keyboard: an instrument in its own right? (Read 1730 times)

Offline minona

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The Electronic Keyboard: an instrument in its own right?
« on: September 12, 2013, 09:04:23 PM »
Mellotrons have existed since 1963. Basically, the key triggered a motor which pulled a section of magnetic tape carrying recorded material through a head.

The modern electronic keyboard (in one form) is merely an advanced mellotron. Pressing a key triggers the playing of a digitally recorded sample. Every key has it's own recorded note, and different key pressures can trigger different notes to be played. There can be so many samples per key, that it becomes *almost* undistinguishable from the 'real thing'.

But here lies the problem: Will we only ever consider this instrument to be a substitute for acoustic equivalents? Can it not become truly an instrument in it's own right? Would J.S and C.P.E Bach not consider this a 'wonderous invention' worthy of being a performance instrument in it's own right? We know that C.P.E Bach was frustrated at the lack of interest in the 'Bogenclavier', keyboard instrument that had wheels that 'bowed' the strings when keys were pressed.

I'm not suggesting electronic keyboards should replace acoustic instruments or even substitute them ...for there is always the danger of poor sonic judgements destroying the authenticity. But, I mean, if you create your own keyboard music rooted in the western tradition, there is a sense that the electronic keyboard simply isn't good enough.
 

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: The Electronic Keyboard: an instrument in it's own right?
«Reply #1 on: September 12, 2013, 09:49:00 PM »
Hmm, I've done some recitals and I played out a little in some function halls on grand pianos. I'm really thinking I wouldn't do them on a digital or wouldn't have. Not Beethoven, Bach and the like anyway. Pop stuff maybe so, and in that category I think digital is already accepted.

Keyboards are good for accompaniment, stage shows, gigging, home practice, silent practice in tight apartments etc.. Can't imagine yet, any world class concert pianist showing up and setting up his Roland stage piano to play the concert ! I mean seriously ?
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline minona

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Re: The Electronic Keyboard: an instrument in it's own right?
«Reply #2 on: September 13, 2013, 01:29:18 AM »
I agree, the notion is absurd. I'm not sure presently if self-contained portible keyboards are up to the job yet anyway actually...

It's just that I went to my brother's and he has a whole Hauptwerk Virtual Pipe Organ set up with pedals and all from his desktop. His speaker system is also excellent and I was blown away. Some of the pianos were also excellent!

So it got me wondering about the future of these systems. Perhaps, when such high standards could be self-contained (except the speaker system) is still might not 'look' right for solo playing.

I'm actually thinking more of what could be done with these keyboards that can't be done with acoustic instruments... like a virtual (keyed) glass organ, glass armonica is perfectly acceptable to the acoustic version. Perhaps it is better since it would be possible to play a digital one much faster than a real one. Or a pipe organ in an ensemble playing modern compositions where a church organ is not present.

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: The Electronic Keyboard: an instrument in it's own right?
«Reply #3 on: September 13, 2013, 09:15:55 AM »
Digital will only continue to improve and get closer and closer to accepted as main stay. Especially so among the younger crowd, they gravitate to electronic keyboard already.

Hey, I own one ! Never thought I would own one but I do and enjoy it as well. Last summer right as I was picking back up on my grand piano after a time away, my sister in law moved in for a few months. I decided then I needed a digital option with silent feature. Now if I could only find affordable speakers that sound as nice as my headphones ?
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline minona

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Re: The Electronic Keyboard: an instrument in it's own right?
«Reply #4 on: September 13, 2013, 03:19:10 PM »
Perhaps the action should take after a real piano action, or perhaps it could be alterable so that weighting can be changed. A modern concert grand is weighted as it is, not because it is ideal for playing, but because it is necessary for an even tone.

Players of earlier keyboards say that those action offer more direct control and therefore a more direct means of expression than modern pianos. Perhaps a digital model could offer the best of both worlds, and at least then it's purpose would be more clearly defined.

Offline pianoplunker

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Re: The Electronic Keyboard: an instrument in its own right?
«Reply #5 on: September 21, 2013, 04:46:43 AM »
Mellotrons have existed since 1963. Basically, the key triggered a motor which pulled a section of magnetic tape carrying recorded material through a head.

The modern electronic keyboard (in one form) is merely an advanced mellotron. Pressing a key triggers the playing of a digitally recorded sample. Every key has it's own recorded note, and different key pressures can trigger different notes to be played. There can be so many samples per key, that it becomes *almost* undistinguishable from the 'real thing'.

But here lies the problem: Will we only ever consider this instrument to be a substitute for acoustic equivalents? Can it not become truly an instrument in it's own right? Would J.S and C.P.E Bach not consider this a 'wonderous invention' worthy of being a performance instrument in it's own right? We know that C.P.E Bach was frustrated at the lack of interest in the 'Bogenclavier', keyboard instrument that had wheels that 'bowed' the strings when keys were pressed.

I'm not suggesting electronic keyboards should replace acoustic instruments or even substitute them ...for there is always the danger of poor sonic judgements destroying the authenticity. But, I mean, if you create your own keyboard music rooted in the western tradition, there is a sense that the electronic keyboard simply isn't good enough.
 


I think JS bach would have considered the acoustic piano a wonderful instrument in its own right.