Every so often I go to the local music store to have a closer look at the new instruments on the market and to try them out for myself. On my last visit, after playing several of the acoustic, grand and eclectic pianos mentioned in an earlier blog post, I turned to look at some of the new piano developments in the show room. Here is a brief overview of three combinations of acoustic and eclectic instruments I tried out. The first two have been out for a couple of years, the third one is the newest.
1.The Yamaha Hybrid Piano:
This is a piano with the mechanics of an acoustic grand piano but an eclectic sound. The name may be a little confusing, since Hybrid in cars means a combination of both eclectic and fuel driven, but the Yamaha Hybrid Piano has one sound- electric, with the mechanics of an acoustic piano.
The people who would benefit from hybrid pianos are those who have access to an acoustic grand piano and would like to practice without being heard. Concert pianists often have these in their homes.
The Yamaha Hybrid also has an upright version, again, using the mechanics of the upright piano but producing the eclectic sound. These instruments look like acoustic pianos: They have the hammers and the bouncy keys, but there are no strings inside.
2. The Silent Piano:
Here we have an instrument that has an electric panel built into the acoustic upright piano. It has the benefits of the upright combined with the possibility to play with headphones. Unlike playing a Clavinova (electric piano ) the keyboard of the Silent has the bounce and flexibility of the Acoustic piano. This instrument is popular and appreciated in households that would like to have the natural piano sound and touch with the option of silencing it. The Silent piano has a built in metronome and the electric version usually has a few different sounds like organ, harpsichord, celesta and more.
Apparently, any acoustic piano can have the eclectic piano built into it, more or less for the price of an electric piano.
3. The Yamaha Trans- Acoustic piano:
This is a fascinating development that goes one step further than the silent. In addition to having two separate systems in the one instrument, here there is the possibility of combining the sound of both. Rather than having the usual built-in loudspeaker, the Trans- Acoustic has the whole back side of the piano take over the function of a loud speaker, and the vibrating strings in the piano can contribute to the sound production even when the electric piano is played on its own.
This eclectic/acoustic mix is a very interesting feature. The player can decide how much of each to add and use for the overall sound.
Price wise, the Trans- Acoustic is quite a lot more expensive than the other instruments listed above. People interested in composing ,recording and performing using new sound blends would be the ones to purchase it.
To sum it up, I find it impressive to see how flexible keyboard instruments are. This constant and continuous process of development has kept them updated ,appropriate and popular over many generations.
In another post I would like to go back and look at the different historical instruments that preceded the piano.
Pianoways on Facebook
- Choosing the Right Piano
- Metronome: Friend or Foe?