The evolution of the piano has really come a long way in its 500 year history. The acoustic piano has gone through a number of evolutional changes throughout the course of its history, but no other change has been so dramatic as to revolutionize the current state of the piano industry, blending old technology, the art of piano making with the latest digital piano revolution.
So if you are at the crossroads of deciding the type of piano, acoustic or digital, you are considering, we will provide you with information about the important differences between the two.
Many classical pianists would argue the notion that an acoustic piano is far better than a digital piano. In absolute terms that would be unequivocally yes. One would say that the classical piano offers the best in terms of keyboard weighting, meaning the action and responsiveness of the piano keys far outweigh that of a digital piano. The sound of an acoustic piano cannot be accurately replicated on a digital piano as well according to the classical musician. But if you are a new student and taking beginner piano lessons, then the difference in weighting and responsiveness might not be readily apparent.
Although many classical pianists believed that the current state of technology is not up to speed to genuinely reproduce the characteristics of an acoustic piano; however, the rate of adoption of technology in the piano industry is rapidly evolving and might soon change all of the arguments against the digital keyboard.
Now that we have stated the advantages of playing an acoustic piano there are some disadvantages as well. For instance, an acoustic piano requires regular tuning particularly if it is moved to an area where weather is significantly different. Heat and humidity can significantly impair the qualities of an acoustic piano.. Also, most pianos are heavy and take up a large footprint. Another disadvantage is that the acoustic offers only one instrument sound, namely the piano.
Now we are going to look at the digital piano. A digital piano attempts to replicate the sound and the touch and feel of an acoustic piano. Although some would say that the technology still does not allow the digital piano to replicate an acoustic piano, there have been great strides in developing a digital piano that is closely and authentically replicates that of an acoustic piano. Take for instance the Roland-V piano, which most accurately replicates the sound of an acoustic piano. Rather than simply digitally record, i.e. sample the sounds of an acoustic piano with all its which will inherently capture the slightest of unwanted noise, The V-piano technology actually eliminates that problem by actually building the sound from the ground up. The sound is built algorithmically by identifying the elements of a note and then building them using an algorithm to create each element. For instance, the striking sound of the piano hammer is built by algorithmically creating that element, followed by the sound of each string. Additional elements are assembled to create the final tonal characteristics of the piano. In the end, the building blocks that comprise the complete tonal qualities of an authentic acoustic piano have been engineered and crafted into an exceptional digital piano. Roland is the first to develop the technology. It is just a question of time when other keyboard manufacturers such as Yamaha keyboards follow suit.
Some of the benefits of buying a digital piano include the price tag, which is generally cheaper to buy than an acoustic piano. Want to practice in the middle of the night while others are sleeping, just plug in the headphones. One caveat is the sensitivity of the keys which can be less than that of an acoustic piano affording less opportunity to accurately interpret piano pieces the way they should. But then again technology is changing at such a rapid pace that it might no longer be an issue. A digital piano offers more than just one instrument, in fact many digital pianos today offer over 400 instruments thereby providing the piano player with a variety of choices, providing an the pianist unbounded opportunities for creativity. Most digital pianos have built-in recording features called MIDI. With MIDI enabled, a pianist can create full orchestrations using the built in instruments. If the pianist is a composer, then a digital piano might just be the ticket.
All in all your choice of keyboard would depend on what you want to accomplish. If you’re looking for a keyboard to perform only, and have enough room in your home, and the piano will not likely move, then perhaps an acoustic piano is your best choice. If on the other hand, weight, and space are considerations as well as your objective is to create music, be a one-man-band then consider the purchase of a digital piano. If price is an issue then definitely consider a digital piano as these can cost less than half the price of a good acoustic piano.
About the author: Dan Maynard is the publisher of a piano keyboard review site. In his spare time Dan enjoys golfing, reading, playing and composing music.