Monday, June 29, 2009

Introducing the Disklavier E3

Earlier this year, Yamaha announced the arrival of the newest member of the Disklavier family, the E3.

Like previous Disklaviers, the E3 is the perfect instrument for piano players, students and enthusiasts who want a piano with something extra. Seamlessly integrating electronics into Yamaha's grand pianos, the E3 system allows for exceptional digital control of a world class acoustic instrument. This means that the E3 has both the ability to play itself, either through Yamaha's PianoSoft software or Piano Radio, as well as the ability to record, playback and enhance performances.
"Students can see and hear themselves perform, play along with audio or digital accompaniment, or even practice on had while the Disklavier plays the other.

Tempo and transposition controls, and the handy remote unit, make the Disklavier an ideal accompanist... It can provide 'live' accompaniment at any time, in any key or tempo, and repeat specified sections as desired... all at the touch of a button."
Equally important is the fact that the E3 also offers all of this at an intriguingly low cost.
"A host of leading-edge capabilities, coupled with a competitive price point, are sure to make the E3 Series a very popular system in the line," says Jim Levesque, Disklavier marketing manager. "The E3 offers the ideal solution for budget-minded customers seeking the performance quality of the Disklavier."
For more information, check out the E3 website or visit your local Yamaha piano dealer.

- Doug

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Tribute to Michael Jackson

By now I'm sure you've heard that Michael Jackson died yesterday in Los Angeles.

Though the significance of Michael and his career cannot be easily summed up, the New York Times does a decent job:
"As with Elvis Presley or the Beatles, it is impossible to calculate the full effect Mr. Jackson had on the world of music. At the height of his career, he was indisputably the biggest star in the world; he has sold more than 750 million albums. Radio stations across the country reacted to his death with marathon sessions of his songs."
Perhaps the only bright side of the news is that it has inspired people around the world to re-discover Michael's music. Across the globe, fans and artists worldwide have reacted to Michael's death by putting on Off the Wall or Thriller for a reminder of what it was that made him the King of Pop - one of the most legendary performers of all time.

One example, again from the New York Times:
"Celine Dion, the recording artist, said on CNN: 'My son is 8 years old, and… he’s listening to this song, brand new, from him. Like, I’m rediscovering Michael Jackson again.'"
If you feel the urge, this weekend, to remember Michael and his music by learning or performing one of his many amazing songs, Yamaha is of course here to help you do that. We've compiled a full list of Michael's songs available on Yamaha MusicSoft and Digital Music Notebook.

Click here to see the list.

- Doug,


Play Along Songs @ Yamaha MusicSoft

ABC
Ben
Beat It
Billie Jean
Dirty Diana
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
Earth Song
I'll Be There
I Want You Back
One More Chance
Remember the Time
Rock With You
Thriller
We Are the World (w/ USA for Africa)
You Are Not Alone
You Rock My World


Digital Sheet Music @ Digital Music Notebook

Ben
Got To Be There
I'll Be There
I Want You Back
Man in the Mirror
Rock With You
Say Say Say
The Love You Save
Thriller
We Are the World (w/ USA for Africa)
You Rock My World

- Doug

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sibelius 6 Now Available at Yamaha MusicSoft

The latest version of Avid's Sibelius notation software is now online and on sale at Yamaha MusicSoft.

For the uninitiated, Sibelius is a world class piece of professional software used by composers, musicians, educators and educators worldwide to create, teach and learn music. To try and simplify Sibelius's many features - it lets you compose new music, hear your compositions as you write, and eventually print out professional quality scores for your finished piece.

Sibelius 6, in particular, expands the educational capabilities of notation software. With new teacher controls, it gives educators new tools for leading lessons, tracking students' progress and helping burgeoning composers make amazing music.

Of course, Sibelius 6 also adds new features to help musicians streamline the composition and notation process, such as a new magnetic layout, ReWire support to allow Sibelius to integrate and communicate with other music programs, and keyboard and fretboard windows to make entering notation easier for users that might prefer to compose from a more instrument-centric point of view.

Sibelius 6 is available in Academic and Professional versions, as well as bundled at a discounted rate with Neuratron's Photoscore software.

Click here for a detailed explanation of Sibelius 6's many features and improvements over Sibelius 5.

-Doug


From the official Sibelius Blog:
  • Magnetic Layout takes care of almost every detail of score layout for you, automatically. As you write, it gives everything just the right amount of space and avoids collisions – producing beautiful results. This one feature cuts the time taken to prepare a score by up to half.
  • Versions keeps track of revisions to your score, lets you look back at earlier versions of it, and see what changes were made since. Add sticky note-style comments to your score as reminders for yourself, or for others. Compare two versions of the same score, or even two separate scores, and see the differences color-coded in the score.
  • Live Tempo lets you conduct the playback of your score by tapping a key on your computer keyboard, MIDI keyboard or foot pedal. Sibelius follows your beat just like a real orchestra does: you can subdivide your beat to slow down, beat once per bar in fast tempos, and hold as long as you like at pauses, all without marking up the score in advance.
  • Sibelius Sounds Essentials, the included sample library, is better than ever and now requires no set-up thanks to the integrated technology from AIR. The new Sibelius Player allows Sibelius to play back up to 128 channels simultaneously (depending on computer power) with real-time effects including convolution reverb. Sibelius even loads the samples required for playback in the background, so you can edit your score while the sounds load.
  • ReWire support allows you to sync Sibelius playback with Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic, GarageBand, and more.
  • Classroom Control enables teachers to instantly send scores to every classroom computer, temporarily lock student computers to attract their attention, and gather in all student files at the end of a class.
  • Totally revamped chord symbols, with faster input than ever via your MIDI keyboard. Typing chord symbols is faster too: you can simply type the plain text equivalent, and Sibelius will auto-format the chord symbol for you. Text chord symbols and guitar chord diagrams have been combined into a single kind of object, with a library of more than 600 different chord types, and many new features.
  • Keyboard and Fretboard windows allow you to input notes by clicking on keys or frets, or play your computer’s QWERTY keyboard like a piano. These beautiful, resizable windows are also ideal for students learning notation.
  • Professional engraving improvements include the most flexible and controllable slurs of any notation program, automatic stemlets, feathered beams, note-attached arpeggio lines, automatic cautionary accidentals, and intelligently positioned jazz articulations.

- Doug

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tyros3 Expansion Voices To Be Released August 3rd

It's official: Yamaha will be releasing new Premium Voices for the Tyros3 on August 3rd.

The announcement came today through an update on the Tyros3 website. The website has been hinting at the availability of new voices for months, but now Tyros3 players finally have a date they can circle on their calendars. What the website is calling the "Premium Download Service" will be available August 3rd and it seems it will include downloadable versions of the voices on display in the demos they've provided.

Along with the release date announcement, the Tyros3 website update includes a new demo of the new Choir & Vocals voices that showcases the large, epic choral sounds these new voices are capable of producing.

The release is still more than a month away, there ought to be more information on the way in the coming weeks. Don't forget to keep checking back here and at music-tyros.com for updates as they come in.

- Doug

Friday, June 19, 2009

July 4th Music Sale at Yamaha MusicSoft

From now through July 4th, selected American patriotic music is 20% off at Yamaha MusicSoft.

The sale covers sheet music, MIDI song files, PianoSoft, ClaviSoft and more. Click here for a full list of sale items on Yamaha MusicSoft.

We also have tons of digital sheet music for American songs collected at Digital Music Notebook, including the Digital Music Notebook 4th of July Pack - get sheet music and a downloadable MIDI file for 5 of America's most treasured songs and save 10%!

With just over two weeks left before America's most patriotic holiday, now is your chance to start learning "The Star Spangled Banner", "My Country, 'Tis of Thee", and "God Bless America". Have a great, and musical, weekend!

- Doug

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New Songs This Week: "Mad World", Beyonce & Celine Dion

We've got an all-star lineup for our new MIDI song release this week. Along with Celine Dion's classic "The Power of Love" and Beyonce's 2008 hit, "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" we're also releasing both versions of the ever popular "Mad World".

"Mad World" was originally written and recorded in 1982 by the British band Tears for Fears. It was released as a single and on the band's debut record The Hurting, and though it failed to chart in the US, it went as high as #3 on the UK singles charts. The song became more widely popular when a slower more acoustic cover version by Gary Jules and Michael Andrews appeared on the soundtrack to the 2001 film Donnie Darko. This version was #1 on the UK singles charts during Christmas 2003, and it has since been prominently performed by 2009's American Idol runner up, Adam Lambert - adding to it's popularity in the US.

Now, for the first time, you can have both the original Tears for Fears version and the Gary Jules cover version on your keyboard!

Click here for a full list of new releases, available now on Yamaha MusicSoft and Internet Direct Connection.

-Doug

Mad World - Tears for Fears







Mad World - Gary Jules/Michael Andrews







Send One Your Love - Stevie Wonder







Vehicle - The Ides of March







Single Ladies [Put a Ring on It] - Beyonce







I'm Outta Love - Anastacia







Ain't No Sunshine - Bill Withers







The Power of Love - Celine Dion







-Doug

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Piano Radio Channel - 4th of July Patriot

Piano Radio's 4th of July channel, the "July 4th Patriot" channel, has officially launched. Enjoy iconic and patriotic songs on your instrument whenever you want, from now through the 4th of July weekend. Below are some examples of the wide range of tunes you can expect to hear:

America, The Beautiful








Swanee - George Gerswhin








Philadelphia Freedom - Elton John








For more information on Yamaha's Piano Radio service, check out our Online Services website.

As for all of you Yamaha keyboard users outside of the U.S., we'll have something for you later this week. Stay tuned later this week for new play along MIDI songs.

- Doug

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Rememberance of Yamaha's Past

Yamaha produced their first reed organ 1887 and went on, over the next 96 years, to become the largest musical instrument company in the world.



And then, in 1983, they made this commercial for the now discontinued line of Porta Sound keyboards. The commercial features the play by lights system (which is still in use on today's keyboard models), Yamaha's PlayCards (which, unfortunately, aren't) as well as some good old fashioned Yamaha-inspired intergenerational bonding.

Ahhhh... the good old days.

Not much news on the Online Services front this weekend, but be sure to check out this week's new PianoSoft if you haven't already, and brace yourself for more developments next week.

Have a great weekend!

- Doug

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Yamaha Behind the Scenes: A License To Trill

Once again, we're very pleased to present some behind the scenes insight on from our PianoSoft insider, Cathy. Today's topic: The grueling licensing process behind the music you hear on your Yamaha instrument. Enjoy!

Have you ever browsed through the MusicSoft library and wished that you could find a favorite song or artist? Well, you are not alone. Those of us in the production end wish that we could feature our favorite songs or artists. Most of the time we can but there is a significant percentage of music that we cannot develop.

Popular songs composed after a certain date (always changing) are owned by someone. A large percentage of songs are managed by a larger clearing house that can grant mechanical licenses to developers (like Yamaha) but many songs are not managed by them. The songs that are not represented by larger organizations may be controlled by individuals or the original copyright holder. These companies may decline our request to produce their music.

On the bright side, we are currently in negotiations with copyright holders whose music was previously unavailable.

Click here to keep reading.


On the bright side, we are currently in negotiations with copyright holders whose music was previously unavailable. We hope to release many new selections and will keep you informed as we acquire the licenses for more great music.

I mentioned that this type of license is called ‘mechanical.’ This type of license allows the developer to produce a rendition that may be sold as a product. It might be on a record (what’s that?) or a CD or other types of physical media. There is also a mechanical license called ‘Digital Permanent Download’ and this license gives the party permission to sell a downloadable version of a rendition of the song. Sometimes we can get a license for a physical product but not the downloadable version. It gets complicated.

Let’s not forget the radio! Yamaha offers a great radio service playable through Internet Direct Connection on internet capable instruments. This usage involves an entirely different type of license called a performance license. These licenses are managed by performance rights organizations like ASCAP and BMI.

It is possible that we may have ‘cleared’ a song for mechanical rights and be unable to feature it on the radio. Sometimes the reverse is true. We would be able to play a selection on the radio but not offer it as a product. Fortunately, there are some smart people at Yamaha who track all of these attributes and make sure that the right songs are being released in the right environment and that the right people are being paid for their usage.

PS…I’m not one of those smart people.

This is a little bit of the saga of music licensing as it pertains to MusicSoft development. Do you have comments or questions? Do you want to know how my cat can eat dry food with only four teeth? Write to:

MyMusicSoft@aol.com


and I will reply! I may not know the answer but I will reply.

Note: Any suggestions or comments you send will be reviewed but we cannot promise to develop every project request. We have already received some great content suggestions and they are all under consideration. Please only send musical content suggestions and not any concepts that could be construed as intellectual property (technical concepts and ideas).

Have a musical day!

- Cathy


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Beatles Meet James Bond In Our Latest PianoSoft Release

Last week we released two new PianoSoft collections, and they're two of the best we've released in quite a while. Let's take a closer look.

In My Life - Beatles 1965









This collection is perfect example of what PianoSoft can be, as it captures both great performances from pianist Joel Plimmer as well as highlighting the Beatles at their creative peak. Beatles '65 shows the Beatles as rock and roll experimentalists, with "Drive My Car" and "Nowhere Man", and also includes two of their most moving ballads, "Yesterday" and "In My Life".

In keeping with its title, all of the songs selected for this collection were originally released in 1965. Most songs appeared on either Help! or Rubber Soul, while "Day Tripper" and "We Can Work It Out", both of which were recorded during the recording sessions for Rubber Soul, were released on a double A-side single.

For more about Joel Plimmer, the pianist behind this new collection, check out this article from our beloved contributor, Cathy.


Midnight Cowboy - Fabulous Film Songs









Midnight Cowboy features the classic film themes of John Barry. You may not know Barry by name, but a quick look at the track list for this collection should reveal that you already know him by his music. Perhaps best known as the composer of scores and themes for the James Bond films of the 60s and 70s, his themes for other films such as Midnight Cowboy and Somewhere In Time (both included here) are some of the most recognizable soundtrack works of their time.

For this collection Barry's work has been arranged and performed by pianist David Spear, a notable film composer in his own right. Spear's orchestrations have been heard in such comedy classics as Airplane! and the Three Amigos, but in this collection he puts his skills as a pianist to work, creating beautiful solo piano arrangements of some of Barry's most famous themes.

Both collections are available now through Yamaha MusicSoft or Internet Direct Connection.

- Doug

Friday, June 5, 2009

Clearance on Play Along Song Disks - Now 70% Off


Yamaha MusicSoft is experiencing a song disk blowout! Everything must go! All Tune 1000 MIDI Song Disks are now 70% off!

Choose from sets of rock, pop, classical or latin songs and save - while supplies last. All disks contain 8-10 songs complete with lyrics, and with General MIDI compatibility, they'll work on almost any instrument.

Also 70% off is Tune 1000's "Kool Karaoke" computer software, which turns your computer into a fully functional karaoke machine. Just load your MIDI songs with lyrics into the program, and it's an instant karaoke party.

Click here to check out the full list of clearance MIDI disks and software.

- Doug


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Release - Tyros3 Premium Styles

The Tyros3 comes fully loaded with the best sounding styles Yamaha has ever created, but that doesn't mean you can't have more!

We're very proud to finally release a set of great sounding expansion Premium Styles for the Tyros3. The new styles are designed specifically for the Tyros3, which means the Tyros's Mega and Super Articulation voices are used to their full capacity. I've heard quite a few styles in my day and I have to say that these styles really do sound amazingly realistic and powerful.

The ten new styles are available from Yamaha MusicSoft and Internet Direct Connection, and include files covering jazz, pop, rock, reggae, and more.

Click here for a full list of new styles.

-Doug



Big Band Foxtrot - An amazingly faithful big band sound with squealing trumpets and big full band stabs.

60's Novelty Pop - Led by acoustic guitar, and handclaps, this is a fun, nostalgic pop style.

70's Country Pop - Lap steel guitar melodies enhance this style's down home country authenticity.

60's Brit Pop - A soulful mid tempo rock style with incredibly realistic guitar melodies and fills.

US Rock - Wailing electric guitar really makes the most of the Tyros Mega Voices on this style.

80's Pop - There is a Carribean feel, complete with steel drums, to this danceable pop style.

Big Band Train - Great intro sections add extra flavor to this great sounding mid tempo jazz style.

80's Sister Pop - All the vintage synth goodness of 80's pop music with a poppy dance beat.

60's Beat - An unforgettable driving 60's rock beat, with guitar, piano and organ backing.

Pop Reggae - The smooth sounds of classic reggae with tonewheel organ and guitars.

- Doug


Monday, June 1, 2009

Super Articulation Trombone Voice Sample Now Up on the Tyros3 Site

The Tyros3 website has released a third audio sample preview of their Premium Download Service today. This time, we're treated to a jazz ballad performance featuring the SA2 Trombone voice.

While there are no further updates on when the voices will actually be released, but promise that the voices are "coming this summer" is still there. And since it's officially summer now, I guess that means we could be seeing these voices any day now.

We'll continue following all the developments on the Tyros3 Premium Download Service front and letting you know about them as they happen, so be sure to check back.

- Doug