Friday, August 28, 2009

Welcome to the New Blog For Yamaha's Online Services

As you can see, we've redesigned the blog! Our goal with the new site is to make it easier for you to get the latest news about not just Yamaha MusicSoft, but also Radio, Exercise on Demand and our other Internet Direct Connection services, as well as Digital Music Notebook. Of course, everything we do here is still based on helping you to learn, play, perform and have fun with your instrument.

With that in mind, we'll also be sending out a newly designed newsletter for Yamaha's Online Services starting in the next few weeks. Subscribers will get Yamaha news, information about new online services and products, exclusive deals and more delivered straight to their inbox, so if you like what you see here and you're not already getting our newsletters, go ahead and sign up!

What do you think of the new look? Feel free to leave comments with your suggestions and first impressions.

- Doug

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Songs This Week: Michael Jackson, Kings of Leon & More

As we promised when we released our new Michael Jackson PianoSoft album last week, we have even more Michael for you this week - this time in the form of MIDI songs.

"Man in the Mirror", a #1 hit for Jackson in 1988, is one of Jackson's most openly introspective and emotional songs. It returned to the airwaves following his death, topping the iTunes charts and moving as high as #2 on the UK singles charts.

For his 1991 album, Dangerous, Jackson recorded "Gone Too Soon" as an ode to Ryan White, an HIV positive teenager from Indiana who had been expelled from his school on account of the disease and died in 1990. While "Gone Too Soon" was never released as a single in the US, it was successful and well received throughout Europe. "Gone Too Soon" was performed by Usher at Jackson's funeral.

"Smile" was written by Charlie Chaplin for the 1936 movie Modern Times and has been recorded most famously by Nat King Cole. It was reportedly Jackson's favorite song, and he recorded it for his 1995 album, HIStory. His brother Jermaine performed the song at Jackson's funeral.

There's more new this week from Kings of Leon, Steely Dan and others. Click here for the full list.

Man in the Mirror - Michael Jackson
Gone Too Soon - Michael Jackson
Smile - Micheal Jackson
Sex on Fire - Kings of Leon
Use Somebody - Kings of Leon
Peg - Steely Dan
My Old School - Steely Dan
If Today Was Your Last Day - Nickelback

- Doug

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tyros3 Premium Voice Pack News: Transfer From USB Drive

It's been a few weeks since the Tyros3 Premium Voices and Packs were unleashed on the world, which means it's time for news and reviews of the new sounds to start coming in.

First off, for those of you grappling with trying to transfer file to your Tyros3 over a USB connection, there's a new way to permanently transfer the Premium Pack and Voice files using a USB thumb drive. Using this new process, you no longer need to connect your Tyros3 to your computer to permanently transfer the files. You can now load them all individually from your USB drive. James of the renowned Yamaha Personal Keyboard Owner site has graciously put together a step by step guide to this process.

Learn how to transfer voice pack files permanently from a USB flash drive.

In other news, reviews of the new voice packs are coming - from Dolphin Music:
"Yamaha sampled these models with painstaking care, even down to sampling the individual flute footages, the classic Lowrey Symphonic Strings and the distinctive, smooth rounded tones of the Lowrey bass pedals – and the result is amazing."
We've also seen Tyros3 players already uploading recordings of their performances using the new Premium Voices:

Check back soon for more updates on the Premium Voice front.

- Doug

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New PianoSoft: A Tribute to Michael Jackson

While the man may be gone, his music lives on, and now you can experience everything from "I Want You Back" to "Man In the Mirror" on your Disklavier or Yamaha keyboard.

Just released today, the new PianoSoft Solo album, "Never Can Say Goodbye" - Tribute to Michael Jackson, features 12 Jackson classics. Pianist Joel Plimmer does an admirable job of interpreting Jackson's songs for solo piano, channeling the soulfulness of ballads like "I'll Be There" and "Never Can Say Goodbye" while also hitting the right groove on "Billie Jean" and "Rock With You". Overall, his performances add an elegance to Michael's songs that comes only from reverent, faithful solo piano arrangements. Here's one sample track, click for more samples.

Man in the Mirror

Never Can Say Goodbye

The Girl Is Mine

The Way You Make Me Feel

Billie Jean

Human Nature

You Are Not Alone


I'll Be There

I Want You Back

Got to Be There

Rock With You

Have a great weekend, be sure to check back next week for new Michael Jackson MIDI songs!

- Doug

Monday, August 17, 2009

Relive Woodstock on Your Keyboard!

Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of the end of the legendary Woodstock Festival. Over the past four decades, the concert has come to be seen as the high point of 60s youth culture and is now famous not only for the performances of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Crosby, Still & Nash, but for the spirit of hope and freedom that surrounded it.

Obviously the days of peace and free love are long gone, but the music lives on, and now you can experience the songs of Woodstock anew on your keyboard. Check below for a list of available songs and PianoSoft albums, including Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Who and more.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Clearwater Revival Medley
Susie Q
Have You Ever Seen the Rain
Proud Mary

The Who

Who Are You
Baba O'Riley
Won't Get Fooled Again
Pinball Wizard
The Seeker

Sly & the Family Stone

Dance to the Music
Everyday People


Black Magic Woman

Woodstock Covers

Hey Jude - The Beatles (Richie Havens)
America - Simon and Garfunkel (Bert Sommer)
With a Little Help From My Friends - The Beatles (Joe Cocker)
Johnny B Goode - Chuck Berry (Edgar Winter)


Joe Cocker - Ultimate Collection (Smart PianoSoft)
The Who - Who's Next (Smart PianoSoft)
Best of Creedence Clearwater Revival (PianoSoft Plus)
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits (Smart PianoSoft)
Black Magic Woman & Other Songs by Santana (PianoSoft Plus)
Santana - Abraxas (Smart PianoSoft)

Yamaha Behind the Scenes: If You Knew QC Like I Knew QC

Our resident PianoSoft insider Cathy is back to give you the inside scoop on perhaps the most important part of the PianoSoft production process - quality control.

Quality control. Those might be two of the most important words in the PianoSoft development vocabulary. I don’t mean this in a “we sure try to make a nice product” way, but rather that quality control is a serious stage in the development process. There is actually a QC staff at Yamaha and each collection is assigned to one of these excellent musicians/technicians.

In the PianoSoft creation process the performing pianist/programmer captures the best performance possible, the editor checks the musical integrity and once their jobs are completed, the data is transferred to one of the QC staff. (Look for performer and editor subjects in future blogs.) The data then undergoes a detailed technical checking process in which the QC specialist makes sure that the file is technically correct and will play correctly on your instruments. I would like to explain this process to you, but I can’t. I don’t mean I’m not allowed; I mean I don’t have a clue how it’s done. Fortunately, these three gentlemen do:


Joel Plimmer: Joel is a talented pianist/composer/arranger and producer. He has been a valued PianoSoft developer for more than ten years and is a sensitive, intuitive pianist as well as a meticulous MIDI programmer. You will frequently see his name in PianoSoft credits but now you know that he is also working behind the scenes in “QC.” Joel lives and works in Lyons, CO.

Nate Tschetter
: Nate is well known as a technical guru but his musicianship is equally impressive. He started learning piano at age 5 and started hanging around a music store where his dad worked. He was a curious young man figuring out how everything worked and this interest propelled him into a successful career in sound design, composition, MIDI song development, performing and more. You can learn more about this fascinating, talented musician at his website.

Tom Zink: An extremely versatile musician, Tom is an equally marvelous jazz pianist who can just as easily switch hats and orchestrate a piano concerto. A talented and skilled MIDI developer, he has expanded those skills to work in the world of audio in his studio, Ming Dynasty. It was in Tom’s studio where the first Piano Plus Audio recording was made and a new format of PianoSoft was born. Tom has made dozens of contributions to the PianoSoft library as an artist, engineer and, of course, in QC.

Tom made an interesting comment about PianoSoft QC and I believe he speaks for the others:
Part of what's great about the QC process is that the performing artists are a big part of the team. Knowing that my colleagues will be the first to hear and review my projects puts a little more fire under me. I always want to play my best, but the high quality of artists in the Yamaha 'collective' gives me cause to 'ratchet it up' another notch.
Questions or comments? Leave a comment on this post, and I will reply.

Note: I will entertain all suggestions or comments you send but we cannot promise to develop every project request. Please only post musical content suggestions and not any concepts that could be construed as intellectual property (technical concepts and ideas).

Have a musical day!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Yamaha Music Interactive Wins an Award For Email Excellence

Our Yamaha MusicSoft, Digital Music Notebook and Internet Direct Connection newsletters have been officially announced a winners of a Vertical Response Checkie Award for email excellence!

The Checkie Awards recognize Vertical Response’s outstanding customers across multiple industries who have achieved excellence in email marketing.

Want to see what the fuss is all about? Start reading our newsletters! We send out newsletters every week full of information about new products, sales, Yamaha news and exclusive deals.

To get weekly Yamaha news and deals in your inbox, just log in to your account, or create one if you haven't already, at any of our sites (Yamaha MusicSoft, Digital Music Notebook, Internet Direct Connection), and choose to receive updates about our sites, products and services.

- Doug

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Songs This Week: The Fray, Adam Lambert & More

Beat the heat with some cool new songs this week - check out the highlights below.

The Fray's undeniable "You Found Me" is great for piano play along. Follow the directions from our play with classic keyboard songs post, and mute track 5 for a great play along experience.

"Ring of Fire", the Johnny Cash classic, is available here as arranged by the Los Angeles band Universal Hall Pass and as performed by Adam Lambert on last season's American Idol. The new arrangement adds a tinge of Eastern tonality to the song, while maintaining the pathos of the original.

Two other reinterpretations are also available this week - Goffin & King's "Hey Girl" as performed by Billy Joel on his Greatest Hits Volume III, and Simply Red's version of Gamble & Huff's "If You Don't Know Me By Now", which was originally recorded by the Teddy Pendergrass fronted Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes in 1972.

Keep reading to see the full list of new songs.

Let Your Love Flow - Bellamy Brothers
Ring of Fire - Universal Hall Pass/Adam Lambert
You Found Me - The Fray
Come Back to Me - David Cook
Spotlight - Jennifer Hudson
Home - Daughtry
Hey Girl - Billy Joel
If You Don't Know Me By Now - Simply Red

- Doug

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Yamaha Keyboards & Pianos On Tour This Summer

Summer is a busy time for touring, and Yamaha keyboard artists are certainly not taking any time off. Check the list below to see how Yamaha artists are using their keyboards and pianos on the road this summer.

John Legend (C6S) - Don't miss John Legend as he coaxes soulful sounds from his Yamaha concert grand piano on the arena filling Evolver tour.

Elton John (CFIIISS) - Elton takes his Yamaha grand to Europe for a two man tour with percussionist Ray Cooper. Cooper and Elton enjoyed success on similar joint tours in the 70's and 90's.

Chick Corea (CFIIIS) - Despite his recently professed love for the AvantGrand N3, Chick Corea takes his concert grand along for a tour of the European jazz festival circuit before returning back to the states in September.

Lyle Lovett (DC7A) - Lovett is completing a tour of the Western US with a full Disklavier grand piano in tow. He's showing off songs from his new record which will be released this fall, though how he's using the Disklavier's player piano capabilities is anybody's guess.

Steely Dan (C2S) - Ever the perfectionists, Steely Dan recognize the importance of a great piano tone. It makes perfect sense that they'll be bringing a Yamaha grand piano on their current tour.

The Fray (CGP1000) - Keyboardist Isaac Slade will make great use of the CGP-1000's versatile piano and organ sounds as the Fray tours behind their self titled hit record, released earlier this year.

- Doug

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tyros3 Premium Packs & Voices Now Available

The wait is over, and as of today, the creative potential of the Tyros3 is greater than ever before - Tyros3 owners can now enhance their instrument’s capabilities with new Premium Packs & Voices! The packs and voices are now available at Yamaha MusicSoft.

With the new packs and voices, there are now three new options for expanding your Tyros3 - the Euro & US Organ Pack, the Choral & Vocals Pack and the Super Articulation 2 Trombone Voice.

First, the Euro & US Organ pack provides new organ voices including the sounds of the most famous European and U.S. home organs. The European organ sounds are reminiscent of the Wersi "Golden Organ", one of the most popular organs throughout Germany, Belgium, Holland and the UK. Check out these videos of the Euro Organ voices in action.

The US organ voices in the pack bring to mind the lush and throaty sounding Lowrey organs made popular by classic rock bands like the Eagles, the Beatles, and the Band. You can watch a demo of the US organ voices here.

Next is the Choir & Vocals pack, which gives you vocal sounds ranging from Motown style backing vocals to full choral ensembles fit for elaborate orchestral productions. Here are a few videos of the new choral and vocal voices.

Both of these packs include Premium Styles, registrations, Multi-Pads and demos in addition to the new instrument voices.

There is also a single voice available, the Super Articulation 2 Trombone voice. This voice offers an incredibly realistic trombone sound that is suitable for many different styles of music.

All of the new voices were created by the same Yamaha research & development team responsible for the Tyros3’s built-in voices, so they have the same expressive capabilities and sound quality you're used to getting from the Tyros3. More videos, demos and information are available the official Tyros3 website and, of course, the voices and packs themselves are available at Yamaha MusicSoft.


- Doug