Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Sun Goes Down on Elton John's Red Piano Show

Elton John's long running and extremely successful Vegas show, "The Red Piano" has officially closed up shop. According to a Yamaha press release,
Originally only booked for 75 shows over three years, the resort accelerated the number of shows presented each year due to overwhelming demand, completing the original commitment in only 18 months and extending the agreement for an additional 166 shows. Elton closed out his spectacular run in America's playground and graced the stage at The Colosseum for the last time on Wednesday, April 22.
But this, of course, doesn't mean that Elton is slowing down - he's currently on tour with Billy Joel, and will take the Red Piano show to Europe this fall. The spirit of the Red Piano show will also live on in Yamaha's Signature Series Red Piano Disklaviers, 50 of which were produced in conjunction with the show.

For more information on the Red Piano, visit Yamaha's official Red Piano site.

- Doug

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Yamaha Behind the Scenes: This Is…NOT American Idol

Once again, we're very pleased to present some behind the scenes insight on from our PianoSoft insider, Cathy. Today's topic: American Idol, and how you can help decide what songs end up on the next PianoSoft album. Enjoy!

I am a member of the department at Yamaha called Content Research and Development (a.k.a. CRD). Among other activities, our department coordinates the development of musical content for Disklavier pianos, Clavinova keyboards and other MIDI keyboards.

I work on a small development team which decides which songs will be produced. This team assembles and assigns PianoSoft projects and songs for the ‘sound alike’ category of the library. You’ll find the ‘sound alike’ songs under “MIDI FILES” and the “Yamaha Play Along Songs” on

A lot of thought goes into the selection process. We don’t simply say, “hmmm, that’s a nice song.” The team knows which songs are Billboard hits (past and present) and which ones are hits or not in terms of sales. We also want to know what songs are played on some of the most popular television programs.

That’s where I come in with one of the happiest assignments.

Click here to keep reading...

Don’t be jealous but here’s what I do for the team. I watch American Idol and Dancing with the Stars and report what music was played, who composed it, and who the original artist is or was and whether the song would work in our formats. The team then analyzes the report and assesses the songs that have potential for our use. Many songs are performed frequently and both of these shows feature guest artists performing their biggest and newest hits. In our business we call that a clue in determining popularity.

OK, I’m kidding around a bit but I am completely serious on the subject of the type of research that is involved in content selection. Let’s go a step further. We can’t think of everything and would really like to know what artists and songs or pieces you wish were in the Yamaha MusicSoft library. Here is a dedicated email address where you may send your suggestions:

You can really help us with product planning so your comments are welcomed. In the meantime, watch for some terrific new collections coming soon:

PianoSoft Solo:

The Lyrical John Williams featuring: "E.T. the Extra Terrestrial Theme," "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer," "Theme from 'Jurassic Park'" and more.

"Midnight Cowboy" - Fabulous Film Songs including: “Somewhere in Time,” “Body Heat,” “A View to a Kill” and much more.

Celebrate America: This is a terrific collection just in time for the 4th of July: “You're a Grand Old Flag,” “God Bless the USA,” “Ballad of the Green Berets,” “God Bless America” and many other greats.

PianoSoft Plus:

“In My Life” – Beatles 1965, with hits like: “I've Just Seen a Face,” “In My Life,” “Day Tripper,” “Yesterday” and more.

“This Is My Country” – Songs of America, also in time for the 4th: “This Is My Country,” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and others.

Don’t forget to send those emails! We look forward to hearing from you!

- Cathy

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

20% Off On All Our Sites - All Weekend!

That's right, Yamaha MusicSoft, Internet Direct Connection and Digital Music Notebook are all doing their part to get your summer music making started off on the right note. From now until Tuesday, everything on Digital Music Notebook, and almost everything on Yamaha MusicSoft* and Internet Direct Connection* is 20% off!

Save all weekend on styles, songs accessories and more - and don't forget to look below for info on this week's new Premium Styles and PianoSoft.

Have a great weekend!

- Doug

*Yamaha MusicSoft: Sale covers all downloadable products, PianoSoft, ClaviSoft and other Yamaha accessories and computer software. Sale does not cover sheet music, DVDs, Books or non-Yamaha computer software. Sale ends 12am Tuesday, May 26th EDT.

*Internet Direct Connection: Sale covers all styles, songs, PianoSoft, digital sheet music, music finder performance guides, but not radio, Exercise on Demand, or Passport to Music subscriptions. Sale ends 12am Tuesday, May 26th EDT.

New Yamaha Styles and PianoSoft This Week

Just ahead of our annual 20% off Memorial Day blowout sale this weekend, we're proud to announce the release of the latest romantic PianoSoft recording from Sue Downs and three great new Yamaha Premium Styles featuring Latin and European genres. Check below for full descriptions.

And don't forget to check back later for details about the sale!


Sue Downs - Mood For Love - Twelve classic piano ballads for setting a romantic scene, beautifully played by the "first lady of the Disklavier", Sue Downs.


Cumbia Nortena - A great upbeat latin groove featuring guitars and brass

Mallorca Disco Beat
- Epic, booming dance beats straight out of Europe's hottest clubs

Euro Power Disco - Rhythms reminiscent of disco's glory days with funky guitar and string hits

- Doug

Sheet Music Notation Guide - Find the Right Arrangement For You

Sheet Music on Digital Music Notebook comes in a variety of arrangements - so how do you know which type of arrangement to choose? Check out our handy arrangement guide below to check out free examples* and previews of the different arrangement types, and find the perfect arrangement for your needs and skill level.

* First download the free Digital Music Notebook player to get access to free songs and previews.

Click here for the full arrangement guide.

- Doug

Keyboard & Piano

Big Note (Beginner Level):
Big-Note Piano features simple solo arrangements of favorite songs in single-line melodies with right and left hand parts.

Free Preview - Example Image

Easy Piano (Intermediate Level):
These are intermediate level piano solos with notation in treble and bass clefs, along with vocals and lyrics and are generally written in easier keys.

Free Preview - Example Image

Piano Solo (Intermediate to Advanced Level):
These titles are beautifully arranged for solo piano (without lyrics or chords), and are available in three levels: Beginning (easiest), Easy (intermediate) and Piano Solo (advnaced).

Free Preview (Beginning) - Free Preview (Easy)- Free Preview (Piano Solo) - Example Image (Piano Solo)

Guitar & Bass

Bass Recorded Version (Beginner to Advanced Level):
Contains standard notation, tablature for famous bass parts, as well as lyrics. Also available in easy arrangements.

Free Preview - Example Image

Easy Guitar (Beginner to Intermediate Level):
Easy Guitar features simplified arrangements with notes, chords and strum and pick patterns, available both with and without tablature.

Free Preview (with Tablature) - Example Image (with Tablature) - Free Preview (without Tablature) - Example Image (without Tablature)

Guitar Recorded Version (Beginner to Advanced Level):
Guitar Recorded Versions are note-for-note transcriptions of guitar music taken directly off recordings, containing standard notation and tablature as well as lyrics and chord designations. Also available in easy arrangements.

Free Preview
- Example Image

Strum It (Intermediate Level):
The melody and lyrics are shown along with the guitar strumming patterns to help players keep their spot and sing along.

Free Preview - Example Image


Fakebook (Intermediate to Advanced Level):

Fake Book selections contain the melody line, chord names and the lyrics (when applicable) of a song.

Free Preview

Part Score (Intermediate to Advanced Level):
These scores are designed for Yamaha Music School students, and contain transcriptions of each individual instrument part (Guitar, Bass, Keyboard, Drums, Flute, Saxophone, or Vocal).

Free Preview (Bass) - Free Preview (Drums) - Free Preview (Guitar) - Free Preview (Keyboard) - Free Preview (Vocal) - Free Preview (Saxophone) - Free Preview (Flute)

Piano/Vocal/Guitar (Intermediate to Advanced Level):
Piano/Vocal/Guitar arrangements contain a vocal melody line with lyrics, piano accompaniment and guitar chords.

Free Preview - Example Image

- Doug

Friday, May 15, 2009

How To Control Styles On Your Keyboard - Multi-Finger Modes

Yamaha's keyboard styles are amazing tools for controlling full band arrangements on the fly with very little effort. But they aren't magic. Playing with styles, like anything else, takes a little bit of instruction and a lot of practice. Luckily, Yamaha keyboardist extraordinaire Peter Baartmans is here to make the details of style control as clear as possible so you can start mastering styles for your performances.

Last time we saw Peter, he was explaining the Single Finger mode, which allows you to control all of the harmonies of a style with just one finger, playing harmonies for major, minor as well as major and minor 7th chords.

Today, he's back to explain two modes that let you play any type of harmony you want using either three or four fingers. With the Fingered and Multifinger modes, you have more control over the style harmonies, and with Multifinger, you can still control harmonies with single finger chords. I'll let Peter explain the rest. Enjoy!

Once you've mastered these more advanced fingering modes, you might find yourself craving some new styles. Luckily, we've released a bunch of new styles recently at Yamaha MusicSoft. Stop by the site and check them out!

- Doug

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This Week's New MIDI Songs - Featuring Depeche Mode

We've got a set of new songs for you this week at Yamaha MusicSoft that's small in size but large in quality. The standout track this week has to be "Wrong", by Depeche Mode.

Depeche Mode's latest album, Sounds of the Universe debuted in the top 5 in the UK and the US last month, and at #1 throughout most of continental Europe. "Wrong" is the first single from the album and it's classic Depeche Mode - which means it'll sound great on your keyboard.

Or, if you're more in the mood for a throw back, this week's batch of songs also includes classics from the Temptations and the Rolling Stones. Check the full list below, and be sure to check back for more in the next few weeks.

Wild Angels - Martina McBride
Wild Horses - The Rolling Stones
Keeps Gettin' Better - Christina Aguilera
Life Is a Highway - Rascal Flatts
Kryptonite - 3 Doors Down
Jump In the Line (Shake, Senora) - Harry Belafonte
I Can't Get Next To You - The Temptations

- Doug

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Another Update on Tyros 3 Voices

The Tyros 3 website has been updated again - this time with a preview of "Euro & US" organ sounds. The new demo showcases classic bright organ sounds that bring to mind the glitz and glamour of the 70s, as well as more sweeping majestic sounds. Take a listen for yourself over at the Tyros 3 website.

The site is still promising a summer release for the "Premium Download Service" and the image on the site suggests that there is at least one more demo on the way. Be sure to check back here or at the Tyros 3 site for more updates in the coming weeks.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Jason Nyberg Introduces a New Way to Practice on the Clavinova

Last fall, Yamaha unveiled the Exercise on Demand lesson system - an online practice tool that allows piano students to access interactive guides to the lessons they're working on in their normal piano studies. Exercise on Demand is a great tool for students of all types to use in improving their practice technique. But, with so many features it can be tough to understand how Exercise on Demand can actually improve your playing.

Luckily, pianist and PianoSoft recording artist Jason Nyberg is here to explain the finer points of Exercise on Demand. Check out the video below to see exactly how Exercise on Demand can make practicing more effective, and more fun.

- Doug

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Cinco de Mayo Special

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo and all things Mexican we're proud to offer special discounts today on three of Mexico's most famous songs, and one Mexican accompaniment style.

For today only, get interactive digital sheet music for Richie Valenz's "La Bamba" and Augustin Lara's "Granada" for only 99¢! With Digital Music Notebook, print out the sheet music & play along - or transfer the MIDI versions of the songs to your instrument so you can learn to play along with real time playback! Either way, you can be making music and celebrating Mexico's musical heritage within minutes.

You can also practice Mexico's national dance with a MIDI song file of "Jarabe Tapatio" - otherwise known as the "Mexican Hat Dance". This song and the dance that it accompanies has a long and storied history, which you can read about here, or you can click here to watch a demonstration. Get the song file for your keyboard today for only 99¢.

Finally, you can also add some Mexican flair to your keyboard's style selection with Cumbia rhythms. Normally $6.95, the Cumbia Premium Style is over half off - only $3 - for today only.

Everybody's Mexican today - so fire up your accordion (or keyboard) and dust off your guitarrĂ³n (or guitar) and start playing!

- Doug

Friday, May 1, 2009

New Songs & Styles From Midi Spot This Week

Our intrepid friends over at Denmark's Midi Spot Studios have once again graced us with some wonderful songs and styles.

This week's batch of new music includes four new styles:

8-Beat 5 - A nice ballad beat featuring fingerpicked guitar and flute.

Blind Beat - Synth heavy and fun. Computer pop!

Pizza-16 - Light synths and understated guitar over a pop beat.

Shoop Beat - a great take on the classic Motown sound.

On the song side of things, we have 26 new ones for you! Everything from Bruce Springsteen to Elvis to Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven is a Place on Earth", a personal favorite of mine.

Click here for a full list of this week's new products,
and have a musical weekend!

- Doug

Styles For Tyros2 & Tyros3

8-Beat 5

Blind Beat


Shoop Beat

MIDI Songs

Heaven Is a Place on Earth - Belinda Carlisle

Every Time We Touch - Maggie Reilly

Tennessee Waltz - Patti Page

A Groovy Kind of Love - Phil Collins

The Great Pretender - Freddy Mercury

Moonlight Serenade - Max Greger Orchestra

The Young Ones - Cliff Richard

When You're Smiling - Vikingarna

To France - Maggie Reilly

Corazon Partio - Alejandro Sanz

Living Doll - Cliff Richard

Cottonfields - Creedence Clearwater Revival

You Ain't Woman Enough - Martina McBride

I'm Gonna Knock On Your Door - Klaus & the Servants

I Can't Stop Loving You - Roger Whittaker

Turn Back The Clock - Johnny Hates Jazz

Red Red Wine - UB40

Cavatina - Hank Marvin

Hungry Heart - Bruce Springsteen

My Boy Lollipop - Millie Small

That'll Be The Day - Buddy Holly

Heartbreaker - Dionne Warwick

Eternal Flame - The Bangles

Elvis Medley - Elvis Presley

The Gambler - Kenny Rogers

Something 'Bout You Baby I Like - Tom Jones