Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Halloween PianoSoft

We've release two new Halloween PianoSoft titles this week to provide a spooky, live soundtrack for your holiday. The new collections, A Haunted Halloween and Boo - Halloween Favorites are great background music for setting a "haunted house" mood - with creepy classical selections like Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D minor" as well as, of course, "The Monster Mash" and "The Addams Family Theme". Whether you're planning a ghostly Halloween gala, or passing out treats to costumed kids, happy Halloween from the Yamahamusicsoft team.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Behind the Scenes of Christmas PianoSoft

It may only be few days before Halloween, but some of us are already starting to think ahead to the holidays. Cathy joins us again today with a behind the scenes look at one of Yamaha's more unexpected Christmas recordings.

A couple of years ago we developed a new PianoSoft collection from an unexpected source. I was working on a very “exciting” project contacting all of the PianoSoft artists regarding a business issue. During the course of the project, we had to contact the representatives for Floyd Cramer.

It turned out that his son-in-law was his representative and we had a very nice chat during which he mentioned that his son, Jason, was also a musician. He said that Jason had recently released a very nice Christmas CD, and brought up the possibility of Yamaha doing a PianoSoft project with his son. He also said that Jason knew a lot about MIDI sequencing, orchestration and so forth.

To be honest, we were very wary of doing a project with Jason because he was very young and frankly speaking, dads always think their kids play really well. But to make a long story short, Jason’s dad did send us his CD and we were knocked out. Jason is a great player and arranger and really knows his way around a studio. We loved hearing Jason talk about his ‘granddaddy’ and we could really see Floyd Cramer’s influence in Jason’s music.

Click here ot learn more about Jason at his official site.

Or click here to check out his PianoSoft disk.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

PianoSoft Now Available for Keyboards & Easier to Download

This week we're announcing some big news for Yamaha keyboard, Clavinova and Disklavier owners: as of today, PianoSoft is available for Yamaha keyboards and Clavinovas and easier to download for Disklaviers.

PianoSoft, Yamaha's premier player piano software, is the perfect way to hear your favorite songs and new classics played live by some of today's greatest pianists. Initially designed for use with Disklavier pianos and their moving key and pedal functions, PianoSoft is able to perfectly replicate the smallest nuances of an original performance. And now PianoSoft music sounds just as great on Yamaha keyboards and digital pianos as it always has on Disklaviers.

Two types of PianoSoft are now available for keyboards - PianoSoft Solo, which is solo piano music, and PianoSoft Plus XG, which contains audio accompaniments as well as piano. Both are designed to play back on Yamaha instruments for a unique listening experience.

All Yamaha keyboards and digital pianos with a USB to Device port can now load PianoSoft music for playback and play-along.

But that doesn't mean we've forgotten about Disklaviers - with the new download system we've introduced this week, Mark IV users will no longer need to download PianoSoft to a floppy disk. After purchasing, you can now download files to your hard drive or USB flash drive and load them on your Disklavier however you want. This also means that Mac users can now download PianoSoft as well, as the MusicSoft Downloader program is no longer needed. We're still working on bringing this option to users of other Disklavier models, but we expect to improve the download system for everyone in the coming months.

So log on now and check out the changes, and don't forget to check back next week for more updates!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Autumn Sale and New Releases

It's time for our autumn sale, which means PianoSoft downloads are on sale this weekend. Log on before Tuesday and get 20% off all your digital purchases.

We are also very happy to release six great new PianoSoft collections this week, including Michael Endres's Mozart performances from the Newport Festival, hits from Bobby Vinton and two new movie themed albums.

Also, stay tuned for some big news next week.


Monday, October 13, 2008

The Story of PianoSoft Plus Audio

Today, the Yamahamusicsoft blog is proud to present our first in a series of posts from Cathy, one of Yamaha's PianoSoft managers. Over the coming months, she will be letting us in on the some of the details about the people behind the your Disklavier music and how it gets made. Cathy starts us off today by recounting the story of how audio and PianoSoft first came together.

Hi! My name is Cathy and I have been involved in PianoSoft development since 1990. When the Yamahamusicsoft team asked me to recall some “historic moments,” the first one that popped in my mind was the “eureka” moment we experienced when we realized we would be able to combine the Disklavier with singing. Click here to read more.

At this point in PianoSoft development we offered two types of PianoSoft: PianoSoft Solo which contains piano music only, and PianoSoft Plus, which contains piano plus synthesized voices. One of our most talented consultants, Tom Zink, had often said he thought it would be great if we could add audio to our MIDI files. At this point the idea was just a pipe dream but not long afterward, the Disklavier Marketing department asked our department to create PianoSoft with audio. Jim Leahy, the chief PianoSoft engineer, and I gave each other dumb looks and left the room.

We hurried on over to Tom Zink’s house and asked Tom if adding audio to PianoSoft would be possible. I think he was probably wondering why it took us so long to ask. He “ripped” audio from a CD and then played the Disklavier along with it. When he played it back, we had the live piano with the audio recording for the very first time. I remember saying then that I would never forget how exciting it was to hear the two together.

This was just the first step because there were many other technical hurdles to overcome. For example, at first the music was playing out of a computer through the Disklavier – not out of the Disklavier itself. Again we had to go beyond our department for help.

Dane Madsen is currently the Digital Piano Marketing Manager at Yamaha but at this time he was a project manager for the Piano Division. Dane is a fine musician who, as a kid, read gear magazines instead of comic books, so he has always been a step ahead in technology. Dane figured out how to make PianoSoft Plus Audio masters, then Yamaha Japan created a fantastic mastering tool, and now we have more than 80 PianoSoft Plus Audio CDs in the PianoSoft library.

PianoSoft creation is most definitely a team effort and over time, I look forward to telling you more about the people who help turn ideas into real products.