The acoustic piano has changed very little from the instrument of Cristofori’s day – bar some tinkering with key length, hammer felt and aesthetic changes to cabinet making. Digital pianos, however, have undergone a huge transformation thanks to weighted keys, improved timbres and inbuilt technologies to help keep playing interesting, fun and motivational.
Whether you’re an advanced player, a complete beginner or a parent investing in a piano for your child, understanding the differences between acoustic and digital can help you make an informed decision.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AN ACOUSTIC PIANO AND DIGITAL PIANO
An acoustic piano produces sound with felt-covered hammers hitting steel-wire strings. A digital piano doesn’t use hammers; instead it features electronic speakers to playback high quality recordings taken from the very best acoustic pianos.
The touch of a piano is important to the player. Playing on stiff keys can be frustrating as can keys that are too light with no resistance. Digital pianos are able to simulate the weighted keys of an acoustic with seamless lifelike hammers. There is even the option on some digital pianos to adjust the touch sensitivity of the keys to suit a player’s preference. A low touch sensitivity means the player has to press the keys harder to make them louder. High touch sensitivity means you don’t have to press as hard for the same loud result.
Digital pianos have a range of sounds available so you can switch between strings, church organs or harpsichord at the touch of a button. Some digital pianos let you split the keyboard so a certain sound is played at the bottom with a different sound at the top. This can make for a more expressive and varied performance, and learners often have fun experimenting with sounds.
STORING YOUR DIGITAL OR ACOUSTIC PIANO AT HOME
When choosing a piano for your home it’s important to think about where it’s stored. An acoustic piano needs to be in a room where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate as changes in humidity can affect tuning. A digital piano, on the other hand, doesn’t need tuning or maintenance so can be accommodated in any room regardless of temperature. Its portability means you can move or relocate it without too much hassle. Acoustic pianos are usually very heavy so tend to stay put in one place.
The space available is also a consideration when choosing between acoustic and digital. Digital pianos can be compact if there isn’t much space available. An acoustic piano is usually much larger and the sound can be compromised if positioned too close to a wall, requiring even more space.
USE HEADPHONES FOR UNLIMITED PLAYING TIME DAY OR NIGHT
The headphone connection on a digital piano removes any restrictions when trying to squeeze in some early morning or late night practice sessions. Plugging in a set of headphones provides immediate and direct sound and builds confidence by playing privately. It also keeps family, flatmates and neighbours at peace too.
Some digital pianos have two headphone sockets so you can play in private with friends or alongside a tutor to analyse, praise and critique your performance.
KEEP MOTIVATED DURING PRACTICE TIME
Everyone experiences motivational slumps, whether you have been playing for years or just started learning under the guidance of a teacher. This is where a digital piano can really come into its own. Digital pianos have the ability to connect to an iPad/iPhone and use a range of apps to encourage practice. Whether it’s easy to learn note games, digital sheet music or on-screen guides to improve hand and fingering action, there is usually an app to help and improve your performance.
The inbuilt metronome on a digital piano is a blessing when learning a new piece or tackling a new time signature. It helps improve rhythmic skills and develops your inner timing. In addition, you can use the record function and listen back to your performance – which is a great way to analyse and improve.
TAKING PLAYING THE PIANO TO ANOTHER LEVEL
Whether you simply fancy a break from practice or want to be the next Andrew Lloyd Webber, the digital piano offers tools for composition and pianos with a USB port let you transport the file back to your computer for instant notation, saving hours in the process.
THE KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ACOUSTIC AND DIGITAL
Every day people look for ways to improve their lives. Nutrition and exercise are certainly the main components to a healthy lifestyle but the addition of playing a musical instrument, such as the piano, provides numerous benefits for individuals both physically and mentally.
A pianist can reap several benefits while in the early stages of learning. These benefits may continue to be realized throughout a person’s lifetime. Several scientific research studies have proven that playing the piano is good for a person’s health and overall well being whether he or she begins piano as a child or as an adult.
1. Playing the piano can increase cognitive development. Numerous scientific studies have shown that producing music stimulates the brain in ways that almost every other activity cannot. Neurological pathways are connected while playing the piano that can then be utilized in other disciplines, such as mathematics, science and engineering.
2. Eye-hand coordination is developed while playing. Reading piano sheet music trains the eyes and hands to work closely together. Sight reading drills will further enhance this coordination.
3. Fine motor skills are also developed. Nimble hands move efficiently only because of consistent practice. Any size hands can learn to play the piano. It is the training of the hands that produces the agility necessary for playing the most demanding piano compositions.
4. Playing the piano requires a certain amount of dedication. For most people it will take a significant amount of work to become an accomplished pianist. Regular practice sessions each day will instill discipline in an individual that can then be applied to many other areas of life.
5. Music itself can reduce anxiety and stress. Sitting down to play a piano for even a few moments on a busy day can help the mind refocus: relieving stress and even lowering a person’s blood pressure.
6. Playing the piano can also affect the mental health of an individual. Pianists may see a reduction in depression, its’ symptoms and other mental health issues. Social pain, such as loneliness, can also be battled when playing a piano.
There are virtually no ill side effects from playing the piano, but the benefits are good for the body and mind of any individual. Piano playing allows for both strict discipline and unlimited creativity. All this is found in an activity that can be done by any individual with a desire to learn, regardless of age or intellect.
Reference: New Acoustic Society 2013
An acoustic piano with volume control, or a digital piano with strings? Yamaha's latest development stretches the imagination and opens up a whole new world of possibilities.The TransAcoustic™ Piano introduces a new way for piano players to emotionally connect with their instrument. The touch of the keys, the embodiment of sound, the resonance of strings; TransAcoustic Technology enhances the playing experience by using all elements of the acoustic piano to augment and amplify non-acoustic sounds. This means that any sound can be delivered through this naturally resonant piano.
Natural string resonance
The TransAcoustic™ technology transmits the digital sound directly to the piano soundboard and makes the piano itself behave like a loudspeaker. The sound you hear has the natural tonal characteristics of the soundboard. The vibration of the soundboard is also transmitted to the piano strings and creates the same natural string resonance as when you play an acoustic piano. With the soundboard producing a rich tone and the strings a natural resonance effect, instrument voices sound better than ever. Digital was never more natural.
How does it work?
On TransAcoustic™ Upright pianos, activate TransAcoustic™ mode by depressing the center pedal and sliding it to the left. This brings a hammer stop rail into place and prevents the hammers from striking the strings. On TransAcoustic™ Grand Pianos the hammer stop rail is engaged by using a motorized system.
Doesn't Interfere with Soundboard
Each transducer contains a coil and a permanent magnet. On upright TransAcoustic™ pianos, the comparatively light coil section is affixed to the soundboard, and the heavier permanent magnet is attached to a side board. Since the transducers themselves do not press against or exert any weight on the soundboard, the soundboard can vibrate and resonate freely, ensuring no adverse effect on the acoustic piano tone.
Yamaha Quality Sound
Because the tonal traits of acoustic pianos vary with size and shape, TransAcoustic™ pianos are digitally optimized to deliver the same quality sound regardless of individual piano characteristics.
Long Lasting Sound Quality
Yamaha has developed a patented technology that separates the transducers from the soundboard using a proprietary link mechanism to offset any future changes in the soundboard's shape.
Contact: Latta Music Company 3332 West Main Street Dothan, AL 36305, 334.793.6011
11 Facts About Music Education
Latta Music teaches music lessons year round. Please call us at 334.793.6011 or stop by our store at 3332 West Main Street Dothan, AL 36305 to sign up.
What is a Silent Piano?
Silent Pianos combine the best of Acoustic and Digital Pianos.
Our prime goal is to ensure that we provide a beautiful acoustic piano, built with the knowledge and skills of over 100 years of Yamaha piano history.
Then we add our market leading Silent Piano technology to enable the piano to be played silently using headphones.
When the silent function is activated, the hammers will no longer hit the strings and instead, a highly sophisticated sensor-technology captures all movements of the keys and sends them to the digital tone module.
Play a real acoustic piano with headphones at any time, day or night without being disturbed or disturbing others. The Yamaha Silent System is unsurpassed, allowing 24-hour practice as well as possessing many other features including a range of pre-installed sounds, being able to record your own performances or connecting mobile devices to use the latest Apps.
Yamaha, the world's leading provider of sound muting technology offers two new Silent Piano systems, each with different levels of operation and quality of sound available when in silent mode.
"The SH silent system provides a truly unbelievable quality of piano sound. It's that good you may even find yourself removing the headphones just to make sure you're in "silent" mode!"
t's genuinely a different experience playing the Yamaha Silent piano - put the headphones on and instead of feeling like the sound is being pumped into your ears it feels so natural, like the sound is dancing around you.— Jamie Cullum