Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Visting an old friend

We dropped Gramma MA off at the airport Sunday, then stopped by Papa's House on the way home. (You'll recall that Papa's house was home for us while our new house was being built.) Last time we stopped by there, I sat down at their old piano, and couldn't believe how out of tune it was, and how uneven the key action was. This time, I had an entirely different experience.

Yes, Ole Bessie is still painfully, wincingly (what, that's not a word? it should be) out of tune.

Yes, the keys are yellowed with age, and still uneven in terms of weight and height.

Compared with my Ap-200, she's much more difficult to play.

And yet, I gotta say, there is nothing, NOTHING like playing a "real" piano. Yes, if I close my eyes and put on my nice new Grado headphones, it sounds great.* And it's nice that we'll never have to tune it or have the action regulated. But the sound will never fill a room like a real piano. And the strings will never vibrate, communicating feedback through the keys.

* - Except when, you know, I start playing the wrong notes. Because my eyes are closed.

Maybe that is the next step in the evolution of digital pianos? Sympathetic resonance not just through the sounds (mine does that today), but via touch as well? Of course, such an instrument would likely cost $10k or more, and for that, you may as well buy a quality acoustic.

Anyway, thought you might be interested in that.

- Aw2pp, who doesn't "get" the point coffee. Never has. Never will.


Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree. A "real" piano is a completely different animal from the best digital. My M&H, at 118, is tempermental, it's a bear to play because the action is so heavy, and it's just plain old. But when I play it as opposed to either my Kawai (which I like very well) or the Privia in the studio where I take lessons (which I do not like), it's a wholly different experience. The acoustic sings, it reacts, it resonates- it's ALIVE in a way no digital can be. And I can say the same for every (tho they are few and far between) other acoustic I've played. I'm not a die-hard, acoustic only type, and I certainly think a good digital has its place, but I love the feel of playing an acoustic piano.

pdxknitterati said...

The acoustic: it resonates *through* you. I love the way I feel the sound. I have a nice digital, too, but it's just sound, not feeling.


Always Wanted to Play Piano said...

Both of you, it seems, get what I am trying to say. I hope some day to be in a position to where we can add an acoustic to our home. In the meantime, the Ap-200 is totally fine... but I now understand what the purists mean when they say there is music a good pianist can play on an acoustic that cannot be reproduced on a digital, any digital. The more I get used to the digital, the greater appreciation I'll build for a good acoustic. Or even a beat up one, it seems.

pdxknitterati said...

Someday! But at least you have the appreciation already. You know where you're headed.

Kris said...

I'm so very happy to have read your feelings about this. I have been trying to choose between a cheap entry level keyboard and an old, cheap, beat-up acoustic and have been discouraged by the number of experts who way not to bother with an old, cheap piano. I have very little money and a nice acoustic or digital is just not an option. I feel very encouraged by your experience. You put me over the edge and I'm going with my gut and getting a cheap or free upright.