Friday, January 29, 2010

New Songs & Styles - 60's Styles, Elton John, Celine Dion, Eric Clapton & More

This week's new releases for Yamaha MusicSoft and Internet Direct Connection will be music to the ears of fans of early rock and roll and fans of styles alike.  Four new rock styles are in stock this week, and we've also released tons of new songs from some of the biggest names in pop music: Elton John, Celine Dion, Eric Clapton, George Michael, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and the Bee Gees.

The new styles this week all have a distinctive early rock and roll sound, covering the sort of beats that are perfect for playing Elvis and Beatles classics. Take a listen to the samples below.

Elvis SI Rock - a piano heavy pop ballad track perfect for 50s and 60s style crooning.



8 Days Shuffle - an uptempo backing track with handclaps, horn accents and nice moving bassline.



Sugar Beat - a light, acoustic guitar driven pop rock beat, heavy on crash cymbals.



Sixty Shuffle
- a driving rock and roll style with horn and piano accents.



Or you can get all four new styles for half off the original price with the 60's Style Pack, Volume Two.

As for the new songs this week, it's a truly all star lineup. We have hits available from all of the big names listed above, as well as songs from Frank Sinatra, the Carpenters, Rob Stewart, and a new version of Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale", featuring one of the best play along organ melodies in the rock canon.

Keep reading for a full list of new songs and styles.

Styles

60's Styles Pack, Volume Two

Songs

Nikita - Elton John
My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion
Careless Whisper - George Michael
Lay Down Sally - Eric Clapton
Man In the Mirror - Michael Jackson
Massachussetts - The Bee Gees
Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley
Abracadabra - Steve Miller Band
Achy Breaky Heart - Billy Ray Cyrus
A Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum
Hold the Line - Toto
New York, New York - Frank Sinatra
My Way - Frank Sinatra
Living Next Door to Alice - Smokie
Needles and Pins - Smokie
Petit Fluer - Max Greger Orchestra
It Started With A Kiss - Hot Chocolate
I Could Easily Fall In Love With You - Cliff Richard
Da Doo Ron Ron - The Carpenters
Donna (In the version of Cliff Richard) - Richie Valens
Ohh Wakka Doo Wakka Day - Gilbert O'Sullivan
I Try To Think About Elvis - Patty Loveless
Don't Slam The Door - Kimber Clayton
Missing You - Chris DeBurgh
Don't Get Around Much Anymore - Rod Stewart
Are You Lonesome Tonight - Christer Sjoegren

All files are available on both Yamaha MusicSoft - Yamaha's official online store - and Internet Direct Connection - Yamaha's official "on-instrument" website. In addition to providing new songs, styles, lessons, and streaming radio for your instrument, Internet Direct Connection also offers a variety of free stuff such instrument setups and registration patches and two free radio channels. If you're new to Internet Direct Connection, you can get tons of information at our Online Services website.

- Doug

Get In the Mood With the Valentine Love Notes Channel on Piano Radio


Valentine's Day is two weeks away, which means that love is in the air, heart-shaped objects are appearing around every corner, and the colors red and pink are becoming inescapable. It also means that it's time again for the Valentine Love Notes channel, which is now playing on Yamaha's Piano Radio.

The Valentine Love Notes channel is perfect for setting the mood in the weeks leading up to this Valentine's Day. It features piano renditions of romantic standards, ballads and showtunes that are a perfect accompaniment to this season of love. Of course, Valentine Love Notes also provides wonderful background music for a quiet night by the fire or a dinner by candle light.

Like all Piano Radio channels, you can listen to Valentine Love Notes whenever the mood strikes you - all channels are available directly through your instrument 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For a taste of what you can expect from the Valentine Love Notes channel, take a listen these samples of romantic PianoSoft recordings:

How Deep Is Your Love - The Bee Gees (From "More Than a Woman - Bee Gees Hits")



My Funny Valentine - Rogers and Hart (From "Sue Sue's Back In Town")



If you've never tried Piano Radio before, now's the perfect time. Two free channels are available right now - all you need to do is get your keyboard online and you can be enjoying streaming music within seconds. Subscribers get access to over a dozen channels of piano music, including seasonal and holiday channels, like Valentine Love Notes, throughout the year.

Follow this guide for help with connecting to the internet, or head here if you're ready to subscribe. For more information on Yamaha's Piano Radio, visit our Online Services site.

- Doug

Thursday, January 28, 2010

PianoSoft Behind the Scenes - Spotlight on Jim Brickman

Our resident PianoSoft insider, Cathy, is back today to give us the scoop on 2010 Grammy nominee, and PianoSoft artist, Jim Brickman.

Since it’s almost February, it seems appropriate to feature an artist whose greatest hits include the songs “Valentine”, “Love of My Life” and “By Heart”. If you like romantic piano music (who doesn’t?) you’ll definitely enjoy the music of one of our most popular PianoSoft Artists, Jim Brickman.

Jim’s music is perfect for this romantic time of year. But February is special for Jim in more ways than one this year, as his album Faith is up for Grammy Award this weekend in Best New Age Album category. Jim was previously nominated for a Grammy in 2003 for his holiday CD, Peace and he has many other awards to his credit already including the SESAC Songwriter of the Year in both 1998 and 1999. In case this gives you the impression that he’s just a critic’s darling, he also has also produced three Gold Records and one Platinum Record (The Gift). Over the years Jim has collaborated with artists such as Martina McBride, Lady Antebellum, Olivia Newton John, Kenny Loggins, Carly Simon, Sara Evans and Donny Osmond.

His resume is indeed impressive, but we had the pleasure of his company for two live recordings in our PianoSoft studio and can testify to the fact that he is a lovely person as well as an extremely talented musician. He is a gentleman who, though he must be accustomed to “first class” treatment, was appreciative of the smallest courtesies. I believe his charm and kindness, in addition to his musical talent, have contributed greatly to his tremendous success.

If you’re a fan of live music, chances are you can catch him in concert no matter where you live, because the man does travel! He visits more than 125 cities a year, and plays for devoted fans across Asia and Europe . On top of that, he hosts fantastic cruises every year for his many fans, giving them a special opportunity to enjoy his music and hospitality. This year’s cruise will be heading to Alaska in July.

If you’re looking for a perfect musical Valentine’s Day gift, think of the romantic Jim Brickman. Both of his PianoSoft albums, "Winter Peace" and "The Romance of Jim Brickman" are in stock at Yamaha MusicSoft and Internet Direct Connection.  A visit to Jim's website is also worthwhile trip. The site is full of interesting information, great music and special offers. You can even purchase an autographed copy of “Valentine!”

Jim is the most talented and warm-hearted musician you could ever hope to meet, and we are so pleased to count him as a member of the PianoSoft family. As you can tell by the picture at the top of the post, he’s cute, too.

- Cathy

Thursday, January 21, 2010

NAMM Show Video Highlights - The DKC-850, Tyros3 Premium Voices, and More


The 2010 NAMM show was the setting for a number of exciting events for Yamaha we hope some of you had a chance to tune in to the live broadcasts on HubTV last weekend during the show. But, in case you missed anything, you can still find videos of all of Yamaha's performances, product demonstrations and press conferences, including many that will be of special interest to Yamaha keyboard and Disklavier owners, at the Yamaha NAMM site.

While Yamaha introduced a new flagship concert grand piano, the CFX, and a new flagship stage piano, the CP1, it's easy to overlook the very exciting news about the Disklavier DKC-850. The new Disklavier unit is a godsend to anyone using a Disklavier Mark III or Mark II, since this simple box will instantly give a Disklaiver produced as many as 20 years ago all of the high tech features of the latest E3 model. With a DKC-850 unit installed, Mark II and Mark III pianos can connect to the internet for online Piano Radio, load songs without a floppy disk through USB, and store thousands of downloaded or recorded songs directly on the unit's expansive hard drive. Sue Downs, a Yamaha Disklavier expert whose work you can hear on a number of PianoSoft albums, introduced the DKC-850 at the show, and you can watch her demonstration here.

Sue Downs Tours the New DKC850 Disklavier Control Unit

Tyros3 and Arranger Workstation enthusiasts will want to take a look at this new demonstration from Peter Baartmans. In addition to a wonderful performance with the Tyros3's built in SA2 Clarinet voice, Peter shows off the sounds of the Tyros3 Choir and Vocals Premium Pack and the expansion SA2 Trombone Premium Voice. This video reinforces the fact that most people can't play a Tyros quiet like Peter does, but his demonstrations give a breathtaking view of the musical possibilities this instrument presents.

Tyros3 Product Demonstration with Peter Baartmans


There are also tons of other videos available on the site, featuring Yamaha artist performances, like this one featuring (and PianoSoft recording artist) Philippe Saisse on the new Yamaha CP1 Stage Piano, and drummer Zak Bond on the new DTX Digital Drums.

CP & DTX Jam with Phillipe Saisse & Zak Bond

Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

- Doug

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Premium Styles - 80's Hard Rock and Mambo Rhythms


Today we've released two great new Premium Styles that have distinctive sounds, but are flexible enough to be used in all kinds of performances.

This week's styles are 80's Rock Anthem, a melodic, versatile  and hard driving rock beat, and Pop Mambo, a fun swinging latin dance beat with modern flourishes.

The new styles are available in four versions especially optimized for Yamaha keyboards.  Versions are designed for the Tyros3 and CVP-509, the Tyros2, CVP-505/409/407 and PSR-S910, and a final version is available for all other recent PSR and CVP models.

As always, Martin Harris is here to demonstrate the new styles.  Check out videos of his performances below.

80's Rock Anthem - Rock out with this powerful hard rock Style capturing the rebellious attitude of American rock heroes of the 80’s.





Pop Mambo - Not strictly Mambo, this Style recreates a chart topping US and European take on the genre.




On a side note, if you're still learning the ropes as far as playing with styles goes, you might want to take a look at some of Yamaha's videos on the subject.  Start off learning about the single finger mode, and then, when you're ready, check out the multi finger mode.  Don't forget to check back in with us next month for more new styles!

- Doug

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Celebrate 50 Years of Yamaha In America

2010 is a big year for Yamaha, as it marks our 50th year of providing the U.S. with world class musical instruments.

Since setting up shop in California in 1960, Yamaha has produced some of America's favorite musical instruments. And, what better way to celebrate than to take look back at some of the groundbreaking products Yamaha has produced over the last half century? Yamaha Corporation of America has put together a special Yamaha 50th Anniversary Website that will let you do just that.

The 50th anniversary site provides videos that tell the story of the company's growth over five decades, as well as images of iconic Yamaha moments and instruments and detailed written histories. The site places Yamaha's advancements and achievements in a broad historical context, explaining not only how Yamaha has impacted the world in the last 50 years, but also how the company and its products have responded to changes and events. With commentary from Yamaha employees past and present, and footage from historic Yamaha concerts and artists, the site gives a comprehensive view of Yamaha's fascinating first 50 years in America.

- Doug

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Save 20% On Tyros3 Premium Packs & Voices This Weekend


For this weekend only, you can drastically expand the capabilities of your Tyros3 with Premium Packs and Voices, and save money at the same time.

Until Tuesday, you can get the SA2 Trombone Voice, the SA2 Pan Flutes Voices, the Euro & US Organs Pack, and the Choir & Vocals Pack for 20% off the usual price.

The Choir and Vocal and Euro and US Organ Packs provide a full upgrade for your Tyros3 by adding new Voices, Premium Styles, One Touch Settings, Multi-Pads, registrations and demonstration songs, while the SA2 Trombone and Pan Flutes Premium Voices are new individual sounds that are perfectly balanced addition to your Tyros3's built-in factory content.

For a glimpse of the new musical possibilities these Voices and Packs can open up for you on your Tyros3, take a look at Martin Harris's demonstrational videos.

SA2 Trombone



Euro & US Organs



SA2 Pan Flutes



Choir & Vocals



Have a great weekend!

- Doug

*Sale provides a 20% discount on all Premium Pack and Voice products purchased at yamahamusicsoft.com until 12am EST on Tuesday, January 19th.

Yamaha's Online Services NAMM Show Preview

Today marks the opening of the 2010 NAMM show in Anaheim, CA, and it's going to be a big weekend. During the show, which runs through Sunday the 17th, and is the largest musical instrument trade show in North America, Yamaha will be providing live video broadcasts, up to the minute news updates, as well as tons of announcements about new products and programs.

Though most of us, myself included, can't be there to witness all of the excitement first hand, Yamaha America and the Hub have set up so many ways to connect with the show online that nobody will need to miss out. First, there's the official Yamaha NAMM '10 website. From here you'll be able to watch live streaming video from the show with the HubTV live feed, or watch videos of performances and demonstrations as they're posted throughout the weekend.  The Hub's Twitter feed will also be providing up to the minute updates, and you can follow all the updates from an iPhone at this address: http://tr.im/yamahaiphone.

Of course, you can also read up on all of the official Yamaha NAMM '10 press releases, featuring detailed information on the latest products that will be debuted during the show. At a glance some of the most exciting products include:
  • The DKC-850 Disklavier module, which will provide a major upgrade to any Mark II or Mark III Disklavier system. With the DKC-850, any Disklavier can now connect to the internet for streaming radio, load songs from or transfer songs to a computer with USB, and store hundreds of your own recordings on the expanded internal memory.
  • The DGX-640 digital piano, which gives piano and keyboard players a great new tool. Improving on the best selling YPG-635, the DGX-640 offers a more realistic keyboard feel, easier to use USB features, and great sounding built in speakers.
  • The DTX-950 digital drums, which mark a new breakthrough in digital drum systems. Combining technology from Yamaha's Motif synthesizers, sampling and mixing features and new space age synthetic drum head materials, the new DTX kits feel and sound better than ever.
See all of the new products Yamaha will be introducing in the Yamaha NAMM '10 Product Showcase.

I've just scratched the surface here - be sure to check the Yamaha NAMM website throughout the weekend for further updates and details.

- Doug

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hundreds of New European Songs Added - Carnival, Party Music & More

Over the course of the past few months, we've been working with one of our beloved partner sites, the Yamaha German Downloadshop, to expand our catalog of MIDI songs to include more hits from Germany, Eastern Europe and beyond. As a result, you can now browse a selection of 1500 European songs, available in various formats suited to Yamaha instruments, at Yamaha MusicSoft and Internet Direct Connection.

Since 1500 new songs cover everything from Czech folk music to current German pop hits, there's way too much to cover all in one post. Instead, today, we'll focus on a particular type of music that's especially popular in Europe this time of year - Carnival and Apres Ski party music!

From the name Apres Ski, you might assume that we're talking about winter sports, and not music. You'd be partly correct - "Apres Ski" means "after skiing" in French, and refers to the sort of activities that go on when you're done with the chill and exhilaration of the slopes. Usually, this means dancing, eating, drinking and celebration. In addition to giving Europe's skiers something to look forward to after a long day on the mountain, the spirit of celebration around Apres Ski also creates its own musical style characterized by catchy, simple melodies, fun, no nonsense instrumentation and funny, and often racy, lyrics.

This time of year also means the beginning of the Carnival, or Fasching, season. The anything goes party that is Carnival takes place in the weeks leading up to the Christian season of Lent. Carnival is celebrated around the world with parades, music, masquerades and general merriment and though the music of Carnival in Europe is definitely different than what you would hear at Brazil's Carnival celebrations, but the spirit is the same - fun, mischief and, above all, dancing.

Combining Apres Ski and Carnival, you end up with a party season that runs all through the winter, and a wonderful soundtrack to match. And, of course, we have tons of these songs available in MIDI format so you can dance along, play along, and sing along on your keyboard. Click for a list of some of the great Apres Ski and Carnival songs newly available in MIDI versions at Yamaha MusicSoft and Internet Direct Connection.

New European Party Songs

10 Meter Geh' - Chris Boettcher
Das Geht Ab (Wir Feiern die Ganze Nacht) - Frauenarzt / Manny Marc
Die Bunte Kuh - Markus Becker
Pretty Belinda / Schlauchboot - Chris Andrews / ToBee
Reiss die Hütte Ab - Mickie Krause
Kenn Nicht Deinen Namen, Ganz Egal - Peter Wackel / Michael Hirte
Das Schäferlied - Schäfer Heinrich
Der Eskimo Tanz - Axel Fischer

- Doug

Friday, January 8, 2010

New PianoSoft - Songs For Lovers, Sarah McLachlan & 60's Hits


Our most recent PianoSoft releases hold a little something for everyone - romantic piano music to get you in the mood for Valentine's Day, stirring performances of Sarah McLachlan's greatest hits to get you're 90's nostalgia going in the new decade, and some great arrangements of 60s pop and soul to get you through the post-holiday doldrums.


My Valentine - Songs for Lovers



The songs on this album are all undeniably romantic, but, with the soulful "Let's Stay Together" next to the minor key jazz standard "My Funny Valentine", they all present different approaches to the classic love song.  Pianist Tom Zink's arrangements bring a warm, cohesive feel to the album, focusing on what all of the songs have in common: timeless romantic melodies.  Of course, there are also some wonderful interpretations throughout the record - Zink takes the Beach Boys classic "God Only Knows" into waltz time, and he throws some exciting improvisational flourishes into Etta James's "At Last".


On a related note, be sure to keep an eye out for the Valentine Love Notes channel on Piano Radio, which will be available to all subscribers on February 1st.

Angel - Sarah McLachlan



With multiple Grammy awards and platinum records on her mantle, Yamaha artist Sarah McLachlan has established herself as one of the greatest female voices of the past two decades. Songs such as "I Will Remember You" and "Angel", are the sort of timeless tracks that express universal, powerful emotions and will be heard and played for years to come. On this PianoSoft album, pianist Bill Cunliffe focuses on McLachlan's ballads, creating solo piano arrangements that allow him to delicately highlight the dynamics and lyricism of her songs.

(For more on Sarah, check out her recent profiles in Yamaha's All Access Magazine and exclusive behind the scenes video at All Access 360.)

My Guy - Hits of the 60s



The 60s were a tumultuous time that saw the true birth of American popular music in the emerging soul, rock and rhythm and blues genres. And true to the spirit of the 60s, this PianoSoft album spans all of these styles and more, from the Broadway style drama of "Downtown" to the country tinged vamp of "These Boots Are Made for Walking". Pianist Michael Asher really gets going, however, on the more soul inspired numbers, like "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Dancing in the Streets".

Have a great weekend!

- Doug

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Flashback To the 80's Or Step Out On Broadway With Two New Premium Styles

After a brief break for the holidays, we're back with two brand new Premium Styles.

This week's new styles are Mid 80's Chart Pop, a synth and drum machine heavy beat with a variety of great 80's one touch settings, and Show Swing, a jazzy showtune style with bold horns and intricate orchestrations, especially on the extend intro and ending sections.

The new styles are available four versions especially optimized for Tyros3 and CVP-509, Tyros2, CVP-505/409/407 and PSR-S910 and a final version for all other recent PSR and CVP models.

As always, Martin Harris is here to demonstrate the new styles.  Check out videos of his performances below.

Mid 80's Chart Pop - Synthpop exploded into the charts in the 80’s with songs featuring the sound of the synthesizer. This particular style has a Norwegian New Wave flavor.



Show Swing - Bring Broadway's showstoppers to your own home with this flamboyant showtune style.



Of course, this isn't the last you'll hear from us this month on the topic of Premium Styles. Expect more news in the next few weeks!

- Doug

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Expand Your Yamaha Keyboard For Free With Yamaha's Online Services - Songs, Setups, Sheet Music & More

Last week we laid out all of learning and playing possibilities our services open up on your instrument.  But, especially if you're a new Yamaha owner, it makes sense if you're not quite ready to shell out more cash to expand your keyboard quite yet.  Which is why today I'd like to introduce some of the many ways you can get new music and more for your keyboard absolutely free!

First, there's the Music Finder system. With Music Finder you can select the song you want to play, and your keyboard will automatically set up the correct voice and style settings to play the song perfectly. Though Music Finder comes as a built in feature on Yamaha's CVP series Clavinovas, PSR series keyboards and Tyros workstations, you can expand on the built in system with for free Music Finder+ records and the free Music Finder Standard Library.

The built in Music Finder library on the latest Yamaha keyboards contains only a hundred or so songs, but you can expand the library to its rightful size with the free Music Finder Standard Library, which contains thousands of additional records. In addition to providing a full library of Music Finder records, the Standard Library also includes the full original song name for each record. This will prove especially useful for users of older keyboards and Clavinovas, whose Music Finder record names may be encrypted. You can download the Standard Library from the Online Services website or from Internet Direct Connection (choose "Get Music", "Music Finder+", then "Download Standard Library").

Beyond the Standard Library, there are thousands of additional Music Finder records available through Music Finder+ on Internet Direct Connection, with more being released each month. If you need help connecting to Internet Direct Connection, please refer to the connection guide here, or contact customer support.

Keep reading for information on free songs, sheet music, lesson books and more for your Yamaha keyboard.

Music Finder records are great for providing guidance when you already know a song, but if you need to learn the notes first, we can help there, too. Digital sheet music from Digital Music Notebook is the best way to learn songs quickly and easily on your keyboard. For each song, you can print out a copy of the sheet music and, for songs marked as compatible with the Keyboard Sync feature, transfer a copy of the song to your keyboard in MIDI format. Most songs are $3.95, but there are a number of free songs available as well. Check out the full list of free songs here.

In the free downloads section of Digital Music Notebook, you'll notice a lot of lessons, as well as songs. Sections of many of the lesson books on Digital Music Notebook are also available free of charge, and can be printed out, or read, played and used through the free Digital Music Notebook player.

Of course, if you're more into expanding your keyboard's song library, either to play along with your favorite songs, learn new ones, or just enjoy the sound of your instrument, we have free trials of MIDI and PianoSoft songs available at the Online Services site. "House of the Rising Sun" will give you a taste of what you can expect from Yamaha's XG Song Library, while "The Entertainer" is a great example the wonderful music you can find in our PianoSoft catalog.

And, finally, if the idea of 24 hour a day streaming radio on your instrument appeals to you, there are always two free channels available from Yamaha's Piano Radio. To access the complimentary channel sampler, playing 30-second samples of the popular hits you'll hear on the rest of our channels, and the complimentary music channel, playing full-length versions of some of the great classics you'll find on subscription channels, just log in to Internet Direct Connection, and choose "Listen to Radio".

- Doug