Wednesday, 16 March 2011

My Piano

I'm a synth player; I love the sound of a well-programmed synthesizer patch. I love getting down to low level editing and creating new and interesting sounds, adding effects, making sounds that you couldn't possibly produce organically. Having said all that, I'm in love with the piano; the sound, the feel, the sheer size of the thing. The piano is not an instrument for those who want convenience; it’s heavy and hard to tune, but it’s such a satisfying instrument to play.

Unfortunately, because I move a lot it’s not practical for me to have an acoustic piano – even an upright would be too much hassle, but I do have a digital piano, and even though it’s getting on (coming up to 9 years old) it’s still a very solid, reliable, and above all realistic sounding piece of kit.

I’ve always liked Roland digital pianos, to me they’ve got the best grand piano sound on the market and the best hammer action weighted keys (Yamaha and Casio being too soft and clicky, Kurzweil being too heavy and rigid). I’ve used a few of the RD line, and I own an F-100, and they have all sounded great.

A formidable pair - my Roland F-100 with my Juno-G. Taken a few years ago in my flat in Durham

It’s hard to be sentimental about a piece of technology – I could get a new laptop tomorrow and as long as I had my files I wouldn’t care if I never saw this one again. That’s not to say it’s a bad laptop, because it’s a damn good one, but I don’t feel anything for it emotionally. My digital piano on the other hand, that’s a different story. It’s prepared me for some major events in my life; my music GCSE performance, my audition for New College Durham, the NCD shows. I’ve learned to play some of my favourite pieces of music on it. I’ve composed music on it; some of which I am incredibly attached to. These days it spends most of its time hooked into Reason and Pro Tools via MIDI, so I don’t use the internal sounds as much anymore, certainly not for recording, but I still play it every day, and most of my new musical ideas begin with me sitting playing my piano.

Me playing Please Don't Ask by Genesis on the F-100 (using Reason's Piano refill as a sound source)

To someone else it’s a few bits of wood, metal and plastic. Indeed in its current form it’s not even especially attractive (I took the wooden sides and pedal bar off in order to make it more portable), but to me it’s been a source of great joy and inspiration.
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  1. Different digital pianos come back speakers of variable power and quality. Some, each low cost and big-ticket, do not accompany speakers in the slightest degree.