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Topic: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?  (Read 3038 times)

Offline PianoMan7753

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Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
on: January 13, 2005, 11:03:15 PM
Hello, first off I would like say that I'm glad to be a part of this board. Now for my question: I have been playing the piano for about seven years. Due to lack of space in the house (and my parents) we were unable to purchase a "real" piano so ever since then I've been playing on a digital keyboard (or piano). I have noticed that when I perform at the local theater the keys on that piano seem so much firmer than the digital ergo I have a hard time performing. One piece in particular, Mozart's Turkish March, is fine on the digital but whenever I play it at the university I attend I have to put more effort into it and that is kind of uncomfortable. I know I must get accustomed to the feel of a real piano but until I actually get one are there any suggestions?

Thanks,
John

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #1 on: January 13, 2005, 11:18:57 PM
Playing on a digital piano will never fully prepare for playing on an acoustic. Apples and oranges. Likewise, playing on an upright will never fully prepare for playing on a grand. Fuji and Granny Smith. With respect to the stiffness of action mechanisms, there are digitals on the market that have actions that are as stiff as or even stiffer than many acoustic pianos. I'd recommend going to stores and generally using every opprtunity to lay your hands on any piano you can find, so that you can derive your own picture about how pianos feel. You will be surprised how different Steinways are from Bosendorfers.

Offline PianoMan7753

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #2 on: January 13, 2005, 11:22:45 PM
Thanks, it's frustrating not having an acoustic. Enough to drive one mad...

Offline Rockitman

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #3 on: January 14, 2005, 12:37:50 AM
Hi John.  I can commiserate with your problem.  I too have a digital at home  (Yamaha S90) and it is a blast to play but when I go downtown and play on the Howard grand at this hotel, I find the very same issues.  The action is stiffer and I find that I cannot play nearly as fast as I can at home.  You really notice it on the faster runs in various pieces.  Makes you wonder how anybody can play on these things.  But the feeling and sound make up for the stiffness.  The reverberation and power that comes out of this grand is such an amazing feeling.   When i'm playing the Raindrop prelude, I feel like a god when playing the FF portion! 
I guess our only solution is to try to get more practice time on these grands.  The concert pianists I have the pleasure of seeing get my total appreciation for what they can do on a concert Steinway that our university has. 

Offline jazzyprof

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #4 on: January 14, 2005, 12:58:37 AM
As xvimbi noted, there are digital pianos with actions that are stiffer than that of an acoustic.  At home I have a Yamaha P250 digital keyboard as well as a Yamaha C3 grand.  The action on the P250 is much stiffer than that on the C3.  After practicing extensively on the digital when I come back to the acoustic grand, my fingers seem to fly over the keys.  It feels as if my technique (at least, my velocity) has been enhanced as a result of practicing on the digital keyboard.  Of course the converse would probably be true if the action on the digital were lighter, as in your case. 
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy, next to my wife; it is my most absorbing interest, next to my work." ...Charles Cooke

Offline Rockitman

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #5 on: January 14, 2005, 01:06:53 AM
I've heard that the C3 has a nice light action though.  What about a Steinway or comparable?  Have you had the pleasure of tackling the action on one of those?  It's a whole new world. 

Offline PianoMan7753

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #6 on: January 14, 2005, 01:11:32 AM
It's comforting to know that I'm not the only one struggling with these issues, I thought I was just freaking out or something. I have been visiting the local community college and utilizing their piano from time to time and the one at the university. I was at a point where I felt like quiting but I just can't do that to myself. In the big picture this is only temporary as I plan to own a piano shortly.
You really notice it on the faster runs in various pieces.
So true! I have noticed that pieces in the allegro area do not come out as good as I would have liked them to.

Jazzyprof, that makes sense. Guess it's all about what one is accustomed to. My digital piano is almost equivalent to a keyboard.

Thanks!

Offline jazzyprof

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #7 on: January 14, 2005, 01:45:22 AM
Rockitman:  I have played many a Steinway and in my subjective opinion their action is somewhat lighter than that of the Yamaha C3.   I haven't had the pleasure of testing them side by side so my impressions are probably colored by other factors like the sound to hand connection, the acoustics of the room, the size of the piano, etc.
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy, next to my wife; it is my most absorbing interest, next to my work." ...Charles Cooke

Offline Rockitman

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #8 on: January 14, 2005, 01:58:43 AM
Well then that makes the P250 quite a stiff board then. 
Have you ever played on an S90?  How would you compare the 2 actions?

Offline rhapsody7900

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #9 on: January 14, 2005, 01:59:52 AM
I bought a KORG SG-pro a few years back when I moved to college, I picked it particulary for the heavier action (though there are probably much better choices on the market nowadays.)  My parents have a Kawai grand piano at home (with REALLY heavy keys), but I still practice on my keyboard since I live in an apartment complex.  I've experienced all the things mentioned when switching to the grand, I try to keep things in mind when I practice on my keyboard.

One of the things I notice on the keyboard is that - because of the limited range of dynamics - I play everything relatively louder than softer.  This, of course, leads to fatigue whenever I play on the grand (or on most acoustics, for that matter.)  I try to be more observant (and turn up the sound on my keyboard whenever I can) to get the same volume as an actual piano.  If you're worried about disturbing neighbors, you can get a cheap mixer that can amplify your headphones to get the same effect.

And I can vouch for Jazzyprof's observation... whenever I spend a week at my parent's house playing on the Kawai, I feel more capable on other instruments... (then I have the opposite problem, I feel that I don't have enough range of dynamics on other pianos!)  But I guess that could be a good thing...

Just don't expect to master any Chopin on a 60-key Casio... or at least, don't try.  (unless you have to, that is.)  :P

Offline jazzyprof

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #10 on: January 14, 2005, 02:14:42 AM
Well then that makes the P250 quite a stiff board then. 
Have you ever played on an S90?  How would you compare the 2 actions?
I did try the S90 at the local Guitar Center and I found its action lighter than that of the P250.  That P250 is one stiff mother!  But once you get used to it it's a lot of fun to play.
"Playing the piano is my greatest joy, next to my wife; it is my most absorbing interest, next to my work." ...Charles Cooke

Offline willcowskitz

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #11 on: January 14, 2005, 12:48:11 PM
For me, the most revealing realization I've made when playing on acoustic versus playing on digitals, is how Horowitz's excellent statement doesn't function on the latter:

"Strength comes from playing musically."

I've said it before, I'll say it again; it is VERY true.

However true it is for me when I play on an acoustic piano, I have never been able to reach that state of musicality on a digital. There is no real fusion of the mind and the body, to give strength from the former to latter, when I hear a mechanical, two-dimensional sound.

Offline Awakening

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #12 on: January 17, 2005, 12:07:57 AM
In my house, I have both a digital piano (Casio Celvianno) and a Baldwin upright.  I'd say that I spend a little more time practicing on the digital than the acoustic.  The reason I have the digital is so that I can practice late at night in my own room, without waking the entire family.  Up until a reasonable hour, I use the Baldwin for practicing.  I notice differences between the two pianos in touch, but I easily adjust between the two, as one does when playing on any piano that is unfamiliar.  The biggest difference between the digital and acoustic pianos comes in the sound quality and overall feeling when playing.  Because the digital piano doesn't sound as "real," I essentially use it for practicing technique.  I try not to delve into musicality and performance when playing in my room, and focus more on fingering, memorization, sight-reading, etc.  When I'm upstairs on the acoustic piano, I take more advantage of being able to hone the musicality of whatever piece I'm playing. 

My point is that on a decent digital piano, ie one with a comfortable, realistic hammer action, 88 keys, and a decent sound, you can practice everything sufficiently, with the exception of musicality and performance.  Because a digital piano is physically different to an acoustic, no matter how well-made the digital piano is, it's no substitute for playing on an acoustic.  With this note, I think it is very possible to practice and "get good" on a digital piano, but only with the supplemental, regular-use of an acoustic.  Hopefully, you're using a grand piano some of the time as well.  I play digital and upright pianos at my home, and then once a week, I play a grand for an hour at my piano teacher's house.  It isn't by any means necessary to own an acoustic piano, but make sure that you are playing on someone else's at least a few times a week if possible.  Maybe your school has on that you can use (I often play using one of my school's pianos). 

Offline quixoticcafe

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #13 on: January 17, 2005, 05:56:56 AM
One thing you can say about a digital--they are always perfectly in tune! Being able to hear sonorities is a plus. An out-of-tune piano not only sounds poorly but is not a joy to play either. Once you get accustomed to always hearing things in tune you get more and more frustrated with acoustical pianos which are out of tune.

But in any case, an 'in-tune' piano is a lie anyway because we all know they are actually out of tune with themselves to deal with the temperment. So maybe there is no point! lol

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #14 on: January 17, 2005, 06:07:11 AM
I wasn't rich enough to buy a real piano at first so i had to do with an old yamaha clavinova. Eventually the keys lost their sensitivity and always played at full volume. The pedal never sustained notes long enough and all this horrible stuff affected the music. But it never affected how i progressed as a musician. These things can be ignored. You hear many pro pianists studying on a broken piano when they where kids, now look at them. It is not the instrument which will make you any better or worse. But, i have to admit, it is annoying to play on something which doesnt sustain notes well, and has unusual Una Corda effect ,that is edivident on all electric piano in my opinion.
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Offline Nightscape

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #15 on: June 17, 2005, 05:35:37 AM
I wasn't rich enough to buy a real piano at first so i had to do with an old yamaha clavinova. Eventually the keys lost their sensitivity and always played at full volume. The pedal never sustained notes long enough and all this horrible stuff affected the music. But it never affected how i progressed as a musician. These things can be ignored. You hear many pro pianists studying on a broken piano when they where kids, now look at them. It is not the instrument which will make you any better or worse. But, i have to admit, it is annoying to play on something which doesnt sustain notes well, and has unusual Una Corda effect ,that is edivident on all electric piano in my opinion.

That's wierd that it happened to your digital piano.

Remember too, that even Prokofiev practiced on a silent keyboard from time to time.

Offline Baohui

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #16 on: June 17, 2005, 08:07:43 AM
I've been playing on a digital keyboard (or piano).

A digital keyboard (unweighted) or a digital piano (weighted)? It's likely that a keyboard would stifle your talent as the action's nothing like a piano. What model do you have?

Offline Phillip

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #17 on: June 17, 2005, 09:08:08 AM
I find that these days, as a working pianist one needs to be able to perform on any of grands, uprights or digital pianos - and even 61-note keyboards.  I have a Kawai KG2D boudoir grand which I bought new 20 years ago, and an old Clavinova bought new aat about the same time, plus a Yamaha PSR230 61-note keyboard I bought a couple of years ago second hand.  I practice on whichever of these is closest to what I am going to perform on.  I have found that the Kawai prepares me pretty well for playing on most acoustic pianos, although I have to use more arm weight on concert grands. 

Phillip

Offline mound

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #18 on: June 17, 2005, 10:57:30 AM
My teacher informs me my pedalling has become "superb" - I only own a digital piano, but I have spent many hours at the church where he works, using their pianos to practice. I've found that the one really big thing that a digital doesn't allow you to do is pedalling - not well at least, you know, "on or off" (has anybody found a digital that allows half pedalling, "flutter pedalling" as it were?)  I tip and tap the pedal on the grands I practice on ever so slightly to get the nuances I'm looking for. Can't even approach that on a digital. If it weren't for the time I do get to spend on real grand pianos, my pedalling technique would absolutely be stifled.

now I just looked back at your subject, you asked if it's stifled your talent? I don't know about talent, I'd like to hope not. It has stifled my  pedaling technique, a stifling only actual work on a grand could "undo"

-Paul

Offline nsvppp

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #19 on: June 17, 2005, 02:30:16 PM
Yes The Yamaha P120 allows half pedalling

Offline mound

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #20 on: June 17, 2005, 03:30:16 PM
Yes The Yamaha P120 allows half pedalling

oh yeah that's right.. but it's still not the same

Offline sonatainfsharp

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #21 on: June 17, 2005, 03:35:10 PM
Yamaha, for example, brags about their digital piano actions being as close to a grand as you can get, but a digital can't reproduce the control of SOUND, as that would be scientifically impossible, being ACOUSTIC vs. DIGITAL after all.

Offline hahad

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #22 on: June 20, 2005, 08:25:20 AM
Yamaha, for example, brags about their digital piano actions being as close to a grand as you can get, but a digital can't reproduce the control of SOUND, as that would be scientifically impossible, being ACOUSTIC vs. DIGITAL after all.

Scientifically impossible? I doubt that...

The problem is that current implementations of digital pianos use recorded sounds/samples from a real piano. The future in digital instruments is to try and model and simulate the piano. Only problem is that the computational costs are too expensive and would probably require our greatest super computers to do it. But, in 100 years? Who knows...

Offline mound

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #23 on: June 20, 2005, 11:49:11 AM
Scientifically impossible? I doubt that...

The problem is that current implementations of digital pianos use recorded sounds/samples from a real piano. The future in digital instruments is to try and model and simulate the piano. Only problem is that the computational costs are too expensive and would probably require our greatest super computers to do it. But, in 100 years? Who knows...

Try 10 or less I bet! We're already seeing some pretty impressive modelling software built into guitars and amplifiers for modelling cabinet/speaker/mic combinations. I bet Yamaha and Roland probably have some pretty impressive prototypes already. 

Offline c18cont

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #24 on: June 21, 2005, 02:01:09 PM
Even in comparison to the Yamaha P120,

There remains the pedaling variations, often needing more than half pedal, (which I found hard to manage),...It is possible to do far more in some avant guard and even impressionistic music with the completely mechanical pedals of a "real" piano...seems to me..

John Cont

Offline baso

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #25 on: June 23, 2005, 03:39:43 PM
I use a Kawai ES5 digital piano at home and one thing I miss when I play a digital piano is the tactile feedback (due to string vibrations) that I feel on the tips of my fingers when playing a real piano.  The action is almost the same as a real piano so I don't think it will really stifle anybody's talent.  However, it is sometimes hard to play with full expression with a digital piano because I am not getting the full sensory feedback from it.

Offline dave santino

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #26 on: June 23, 2005, 11:50:03 PM
I have a Roland HP136 at home, and at my school we have a Steinway. I've found that the action on the Steinway is lighter than my Roland; this is also true of other Steinways I have played. IMO, the Kurzweil 2600 has the best action of any digital keyboard I've ever played, very comparable to a Steinway. But for 3k it should have!
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Offline totallyclassics

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Re: Has the digital Keyboard stifled my talent?
Reply #27 on: June 30, 2005, 09:04:53 AM
i have a yamaha p200 digital...i love it because it's all i have right now!  do i want a grande?  oh man, do i....i like the yamaha because i can get softer sounds, and work the pedal better.

when i switch to acoustic,  i have a hard time playing softly and overpedaling...

i can't wait to get a grande, but for now, the yamaha will have to do.
 

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