Mozart played on an acoustic and digital piano

If an acoustic piano is well-voiced and regulated, one can attempt to make a timbre and touch comparison with a “hammer-weighted” digital piano by playing a side-by-side excerpt from the repertoire. In this instance, my Steinway grand is in the process of undergoing hammer filing and regulation, so the two instruments are not perhaps justly comparative. Still, it’s instructive to hear tonal differences between the two, and decide which is more appealing for listeners. (Note the tempos taken are slightly different)

Steinway M grand, 1917

Yamaha Arius YDP 141


About arioso7: Shirley Kirsten

International piano teacher by Skype, recording artist, composer, piano finder, freelance writer, film maker, story teller: Grad of the NYC HS of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, NYU (Master of Arts) Studies with Lillian Freundlich and Ena Bronstein; Master classes with Murray Perahia and Oxana Yablonskaya. Studios in BERKELEY and EL CERRITO, California; Member, Music Teachers Assoc. of California, MTAC; Distance learning and Skyped instruction with supplementary videos: SKYPE ID, shirleypiano1 Contact me at: OR or at FACEBOOK: Shirley Smith Kirsten, /shirley.kirsten TWITTER: Private fund-raising for non-profits as pianist--Public Speaking re: piano teaching and creative approaches
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9 Responses to Mozart played on an acoustic and digital piano

  1. lamymn says:

    A very relevant posting for me, as I took delivery of my first acoustic yesterday (not a Steinway grand :-() and was able to play it alongside my Yamaha Clavinova CLP 320 and compare. The Yamaha stood its ground quite well, I thought. But when listening carefully through the ‘life’ of a single note, I could hear a difference which seemed to me to be this: the Yamaha’s column of sound could be visualised as a straight and narrow column. Whereas the acoustic’s column was shaped like some sort of Greek amphora, blooming to begin with then narrowing then blooming a bit more before dying. Would that make sense?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Indeed a perfect and poetic conclusion. I’m with you!


  3. Congratulations on your latest musical acquisition…May you enjoy years of inspired and pleasurable music-making.


  4. Fran says:

    Thanks Shirley for the information comparison! I always knew the difference was worlds apart. However for some reason I have not been able to convey this to all my students! The digital sounds tinny with little warmth or core sound. Acoustic pianos are always the best and the natural decay of each note is soothing to the ear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the decay is a big differential..and wholeness of sound/harmonics, as well is missing in the digital. The sad thing is if kids, et al get used to the digital sound, that’s their sound model and expectation, so horizons must be widened through exposure. I was just posting this on Berkeley Patch.. an online news distributor.


      • Fran says:

        Yes, well said Shirley. Those who play on digitals are sadly stifled. Once they get used to this limited sound and feedback while practicing they lose the opportunity for subtle expression. Good, let’s keep educating the masses towards acoustic pianos and the immense benefits! Keep it up!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Fran says:

    Opps, mistake ‘informative’ comparison. Sorry about that!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. PjJns says:

    I started taking piano lessons and bought a digital 88 key grand piano to practice with at home. Well after hearing my instructors piano and coming home to practice on my digital (guess the name “grand” fools you until you hear an actual piano), anyway I quickly realized that the flat digital sound and non-weighted keys may actually be hampering my practice and therefore my learning, where as it could be more difficult to go from a digital to an acoustic than the other way around. After buying one a I sold the digital to a lady who of course learned on and played an acoustic for many years and just wanted the digital for portability. So, after I’ve learned how to play well on an acoustic maybe one day I will purchase another digital if I want to be mobile. In mho, if you have a choice, acoustic first and foremost.


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