Friday, January 28, 2011

Music Finder+ Is Better Than Ever With 150 New Records Just Released

If you're looking for a fun, free way to enhance your keyboard and your performances, look no farther than Music Finder+ and the 150 new records we've just released. The new records provide full instrument setups for a wide variety of songs, including everything from the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" to Frank Sinatra's "You Go To My Head" to Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams". Take a look at the full list of new records here, or in the messages section of Internet Direct Connection. For those unfamiliar with Music Finder, it starts with keyboard feature that lets you select the song you want to play, then automatically sets up the correct voice and style settings to play the song perfectly. Music Finder comes built in on Yamaha's CVP series Clavinovas, PSR series keyboards and Tyros workstations, but you can expand on this built in system with the free Music Finder+ records, and free Music Finder Standard Library available through Internet Direct Connection.

Music Finder+ allows you to add on to the built in Music Finder library of 100 or so songs by choosing your favorites from a selection of over 5,000 additional records. You can also expand your Music Finder library all at once with the free Music Finder Standard Library, which contains thousands of additional records. 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"). All of the records in both the Standard Library and Music Finder+ include the full original song name for each record, which will prove especially useful for users of older keyboards and Clavinovas, whose Music Finder record names may be encrypted.

If you need help connecting to Internet Direct Connection, please refer to the connection guide here, or contact customer support.

New Music Finder+ Records
  • Goodnight Sweetheart - Al Bowlly
  • You Oughta Be in Pictures - Al Bowlly
  • My Mammy - Al Jolson
  • Love Is a Losing Game - Amy Whinehouse
  • Almost There - Andy Williams
  • Baubles, Bangles and Beads - Ann Blyth
  • Money [That's What I Want] - Barrett Strong
  • You See the Trouble With Me - Barry White
  • Puttin' on the Ritz - Benny Goodman
  • Sing, Sing, Sing [With a Swing] - Benny Goodman
  • Don't Be That Way - Benny Goodman Orchestra
  • Liza - Benny Goodman Orchestra
  • Afrikaan Beat - Bert Kaempfert
  • Waltz for Debbie - Bill Evans
  • Crazy Man, Crazy - Bill Haley & His Comets
  • That Old Devil Called Love - Billie Holiday
  • Pennies from Heaven - Billie Holiday
  • Brother Can You Spare a Dime? - Bing Crosby
  • MacNamara's Band - Bing Crosby
  • Swinging on a Star - Bing Crosby
  • The Shadow Waltz - Bing Crosby
  • The Whiffenpoof Song - Bing Crosby
  • You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby - Bing Crosby
  • You're Getting to Be a Habit With Me - Bing Crosby
  • Lazybones - Bing Crosby & Louis Armstrong
  • Don't Fence Me In - Bing Crosby & The AndrewsSisters
  • You've Made Me So Very Happy - Blood, Sweat And Tears
  • Take Good Care of My Baby - Bobby Vinton
  • You Can Have Me Anytime - Boz Scaggs
  • The Guitar Man - Bread
  • Minnie the Moocher - Cab Calloway
  • Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves - Cher
  • Let's Misbehave - Cole Porter
  • One O'Clock Jump - Count Basie And His Orchestra
  • I Put a Spell on You - Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • I Hear You Knocking - Dave Edmunds
  • Isrealites - Desmond Dekker
  • All of My Life - Diana Ross
  • My Old Piano - Diana Ross
  • Lullaby of Broadway - Dick Powell
  • I Wonder Why - Dion And The Belmonts
  • Teenager in Love - Dion And The Belmonts
  • Ma, He's Making Eyes at Me - Eddie Cantor
  • Oh! My Papa - Eddie Fisher
  • Everytime We Say Goodbye - Ella Fitzgerald
  • From This Moment On - Ella Fitzgerald
  • It's De-Lovely - Ella Fitzgerald
  • What Is This Thing Called Love? - Ella Fitzgerald
  • Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall - Ella Fitzgerald & The Ink Spots
  • Stuck on You - Elvis Presley
  • That's All Right [Mama] - Elvis Presley
  • Viva Las Vegas - Elvis Presley
  • You're the Top - Ethel Merman
  • Aquarius - Fifth Dimension
  • Heart and Soul - Four Aces
  • Day In, Day Out - Frank Sinatra
  • It All Depends on You - Frank Sinatra
  • Nice and Easy - Frank Sinatra
  • You Go to My Head - Frank Sinatra
  • You'd Be so Nice to Come Home To - Frank Sinatra
  • Jezebel - Frankie Laine
  • I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket - Fred Astaire
  • I'm Telling You Now - Freddie And The Dreamers
  • Play a Simple Melody - Gary Crosby And Bing Crosby
  • Parisienne Walkways - Gary Moore
  • Heather on The Hill - Gene Kelly
  • You Are My Lucky Star - Gene Kelly & Debbie Reynolds
  • September in the Rain - George Shearing
  • Oklahoma! - Gordon MacRae
  • Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Green Day
  • Red Sails in the Sunset - Guy Lombardo
  • Scarlett Ribbons - Harry Belafonte
  • Moonlight and Roses - Jim Reeves
  • It Could Happen to You - Jo Stafford
  • You're Sixteen - Johnny Burnette
  • I Wish I Were in Love Again - Judy Garland
  • The Wedding - Julie Rogers
  • Wheel of Fortune - Kay Starr
  • Feels Like I'm in Love - Kelly Marie
  • [Something Inside] So Strong - Labe Siffre
  • 1-2-3 - Len Barry
  • You Don't Own Me - Leslie Gore
  • Stuck on You - Lionel Richie
  • Muskrat Ramble - Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five
  • Be My Love - Mario Lanza
  • Pride and Joy - Marvin Gaye
  • Sexual Healing - Marvin Gaye
  • Wherever I Lay My Hat - Marvin Gaye
  • It Takes Two - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston
  • Portrait of My Love - Matt Monro
  • Softly as I Leave You - Matt Monro
  • Smooth Criminal - Michael Jackson
  • All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth - Nat "King" Cole
  • Serenata - Nat "King" Cole
  • Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen - Neil Sedaka
  • Little Green Apples - O C Smith
  • If Not for You - Olivia Newton John
  • Shortenin' Bread - Paul Robeson
  • "A" You're Adorable [The Alphabet Song] - Perry Como
  • The Glory of Love [Theme From The Karate Kid Part 2] - Peter Cetera
  • In The Air Tonight - Phil Collins
  • Mah-Na Mah-Na - Piero Umiliani
  • Give Peace a Chance - Plastic Ono Band
  • What I'd Say - Ray Charles
  • Love Is the Sweetest Thing - Ray Noble & The New Mayfair Orchestra
  • California Sun - Rivieras
  • How Beautiful Is Night - Robert Farnon & His Orchestra
  • You're Driving Me Crazy - Rudy Vallée & the Connecticut Yankees
  • Just Friends - Russ Columbo
  • I've Gotta Be Me - Sammy Davis Jr
  • The Rhythm of Life - Sammy Davis Jr
  • [It's Gonna Be a] Great Day - Sarah Vaughan
  • On the Good Ship Lollipop - Shirley Temple
  • I Got You Babe - Sonny & Cher
  • Pictures of Matchstick Men - Status Quo
  • It Might Be You [from "Tootsie"] - Stephen Bishop
  • Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing - Stevie Wonder
  • Back in My Arms Again - Supremes
  • Rag Mop - The Ames Brothers
  • She Wore a Yellow Ribbon - The Andrews Sisters
  • Don't Worry Baby - The Beach Boys
  • Surfer Girl - The Beach Boys
  • Surfin' Safari - The Beach Boys
  • Life Could Be a Dream - The Crew Cuts
  • The Glory of Love - The Five Keys
  • I Only Have Eyes for You - The Flamingos
  • Shake Me, Wake Me [When It's Over] - The Four Tops
  • I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire - The Ink Spots
  • Listen to the Band - The Monkees
  • The Last Train to Clarksville - The Monkees
  • My Prayer - The Platters
  • Twilight Time - The Platters
  • De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da - The Police
  • Don't Stand So Close To Me - The Police
  • Brown Sugar - The Rolling Stones
  • Heart of Stone - The Rolling Stones
  • It's Only Rock and Roll [But I Like It] - The Rolling Stones
  • Jumpin' Jack Flash - The Rolling Stones
  • You Can't Always Get What You Want - The Rolling Stones
  • [The Best Part of] Breakin' Up - The Ronettes
  • Nathan Jones - The Supremes
  • It's Raining Men - The Weather Girls
  • Kisses Sweeter Than Wine - The Weavers
  • She's Not There - The Zombies
  • She's a Lady - Tom Jones
  • The Music Goes Round and Round - Tommy Dorsey
  • Hey Sister, Soul Sister - Train
  • When The Lights Go On Again - Vera Lynn
  • Blues in The Night - Woody Herman
  • Love Is a Many Splendored Thing

- Doug

Learn To Play the Keyboard in 2011 With Online Lessons

Maybe you made a resolution earlier this month to start playing your keyboard more. Or maybe there's a certain technique, playing style, or skill you vowed to learn or improve. Or maybe you just decided that 2011 would be the year you finally really learned how to play the keyboard. No matter what sort of musical promises you made to yourself this new year, Yamaha has online lessons that will help you live up to them.

With 150 different Digital Lesson Books to choose from at Yamaha MusicSoft, including German language lessons, there's something for everyone. Players looking to hone particular skills or take their playing to the next level will find a variety of intermediate level lessons, but there are some especially great lessons for players who are just starting out on the keyboard.

The Complete Keyboard Player series is designed to have you playing your favorite pop songs as quickly as possible. This series of books covers all of the usual bases, helping your understand chords, notes and the basics of reading music. However, it won't waste time on teaching you proper technique or theory that you don't care about. It jumps right in to how to play popular songs like "Imagine", "Candle in the Wind" and "Clocks", along with detailed audio guides. The lessons also focus on using the accompaniment features on your keyboard that can make even your earliest performances sound great. This isn't a system for purists, and it won't turn you into a professional player, but after finishing the lessons in these three books, you'll have all the tools you need to impress audiences with popular piano hits.

Keep reading for more on lessons for beginners, as well as lessons for guitar, drums and more, for anyone looking to branch out in the new year.

Or, for those looking to learn how to play keyboard as part of a band as quickly as possible, the lessons from Berklee's "Instant Keyboard" book are perfect. Written by professors from the famed Berklee College of Music, the lessons cover only what you absolutely need to know to start forming chords and playing real music fast. Then, if you're ready to explore some more music theory and start working with right hand melodies, just move on up to the Fast Track Keyboard series. With the basics you've learned from "Instant Keyboard" it will be easy to pick up the new skills and ideas introduced in the Fast Track lessons. Before long you'll be reading music and playing full songs with full right and left hand parts - you'll have all the skills you need to play with a band, or on your own.

The catalog also goes beyond keyboard instruction to include online lessons for drums, guitar, saxophone, and more. The lessons feature a number of entries from the "A Tune A Day" and "Xtreme" series, which give you two great options for learning to play a new instrument.

Each lesson can be viewed on your computer immediately after purchase. Take a look at the whole catalog of books, including lessons for harmonica and ukulele, or visit Yamaha's Online Services site for more information about Digital Lesson Books.

- Doug

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Tyros4 at NAMM 2011

Yamaha made some big news at this year's NAMM show, with exciting developments including remote live concert on the new DCFX Mark IV Pro Disklavier piano, a night of amazing performances from Yamaha saxophone artists, and of course, plenty of performances and demonstrations of the new Tyros4 arranger workstation keyboard. While there's tons of video available on the Yamaha NAMM website, we've collected some of our favorite "unofficial" videos as well.

First, Martin Harris, whose playing you'll recognize from Yamaha's many style and voice demo videos, gives a full, 20 minute demonstration of the Tyros4 (spread across three videos). This demonstration covers everything you can think of about the Tyros, all with Martin's world class playing.

And of course Peter Baartmans, one of Yamaha's best known keyboard players and demonstrators, was at the show as well, and in this video for Harmony Central he demonstrates some of the Tyros4's great sounds, then touches on Premium Packs and Voices, and vocal harmony features.

And in one final exciting moment, the legendary pianist Larry Dunn stopped by to try out the Tyros4, as Peter explained and demonstrated the choral and vocal voices, guitars sounds and styles. In this video, Dunn gives the Tyros4 a full run through and even joins Peter in a little duet, which I can only imagine was quite a thrill.

Full Yamaha NAMM highlights can be found at the Yamaha NAMM website, and the official post NAMM wrap-up press release.

Update: Larry Dunn in the final video was previously mis-identified as Keith Jarrett.

- Doug

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Old Soul and Pop Become New With The Latest Songs and Styles

Music often tends to run in cycles. In composition, pop songs cycle constantly between verses and choruses, and classical forms are full of complex repetitions. Tastes, musical styles, and even specific artists vanish and reappear in the same way. The new songs and styles at Yamaha MusicSoft this week show these circular trends in music, with the sounds of 60s and 70s soul coming back to influence today's hits, and the triumphant return of one of the 90s most successful groups. Experience some musical rebirth of your own this week with Aloe Blacc, Take That, the Lambada, and more!

New Style

Dollar Beat
A soul/funk accompaniment lead by piano and horns, equally well suited to your renditions of mid tempo James Brown, Stax, or Motown. Of course, with old soul sounds coming back in style, you can also use this style for your Amy Winehouse covers!

New Songs

I Need A Dollar - Aloe Blacc
Aloe Blacc is bringing the sound of old school soul back to pop music, and "I Need a Dollar" hits all the right notes. With a blend of lyrical messages and funky rhythms seldom heard since the hey days of motown, this track will certainly bring some fresh grooves to your keyboard.

The Flood - Take That
One of the biggest boy bands in history is all grown up now, but their songs just keep getting better. This astounding comeback single features the return of Robbie Williams, and manages to be even more epic and catchy than their previous hits.

My Father's Eyes - Eric Clapton
This 1998 single from one of rock's greatest guitarists is one of his most emotional and touching songs.

There Goes My Everything - Christer Sjögren / Engelbert Humperdinck
Country music is known for its songs of lost love, and this is one of the best and most performed, with Englebert Humperdinck, Jack Greene and Elvis Presley all producing hit versions.

Lambada - Kaoma
Responsible for launching the Lambada as an international dance craze, this song features an excellent Latin dance beat, with a particular Brazilian flair.

Check Yamaha MusicSoft for a complete list of new songs, including old favorites from Julio Iglesias, Ten Sharp and Mental as Anything.

- Doug

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hear Gershwin Play Gershwin On Our Latest Radio Channel

George Gershwin is best known as the composer of "Rhapsody in Blue", the songwriter behind songs like "Fascinatin' Rhythm" and "Swanee", and the genius behind one of the 20th century's greatest operas, "Porgy and Bess". Of course, he was also a fantastic pianist, but it's less widely known that he was a prolific performer for player piano roll recordings. At the beginning of his career, Gershwin made a variety of piano roll recordings of both his own compositions and other popular songs of the era. Luckily, these recordings have survived so that you can enjoy them in PianoSoft form on your own keyboard or Disklavier. But now, in a twist that Gershwin certainly couldn't have envisioned, you can also enjoy these original Gershwin recordings, along with additional performances of his work from Yamaha's PianoSoft artists, on the new Gershwin channel for Yamaha's Piano Radio.

You can now hear Gershwin's legendary songs on their own exclusive Piano Radio channel. With the new channel, you can enjoy piano arrangements of your favorite Gershwin tuness played live on your instrument, whenever you want. Plus, each song you'll hear was recorded either by one of Yamaha's acclaimed PianoSoft artists, or by Gershwin himself, and will be reproduced on your instrument exactly as it was originally performed. Check out some examples of what you can expect to hear on the new channel:

Swanee (from "Gershwin Plays Again")

Sweet and Low Down (from "David Buechner Plays Gershwin")

The Gershwin channel is just the latest addition to our channel lineup, which includes 19 other stations available around the clock and throughout the year. For anyone listening to radio on a CLP Clavinova or MODUS digital piano, the Gershwin channel is your new channel 20.

To try out the Gershwin channel now, first log in to Internet Direct Connection on your instrument and choose "Listen to Radio", or from a Disklavier Mark IV choose "Internet" from the main menu on your controller, then "Disklavier Radio".

On a Disklavier E3, you can listen to radio by pressing the "Internet" button on your remote, then choose "D-Radio". However, if you haven't created an account for Internet Direct Connection, you'll need to do that before subscribing to Piano Radio for your E3 - you can create your account here.

If you've never tried Piano Radio before, now's the perfect time. If you're not ready to subscribe and check out the Gershwin channel, that's fine. 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. 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

Jersey Boys and Classical Legends In the Latest PianoSoft Albums

To experience the special feeling that only live music can provide, you've got a number of choices for venues: you can head to a concert hall for an elegant evening with the symphony, you can go to the theater and take in a musical, or of course, there's always the rock club. But no matter where you prefer to go for the live music experience, if you've got a Yamaha Disklavier or keyboard at home, you know that you actually don't need to go anywhere at all! This week's new PianoSoft albums bring both the Broadway stage and the concert hall to you, with original live performances of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, as well as songs from the hit musical Jersey Boys.

The Three Bs: Bach, Beethoven and Brahms

Ever since Brahms, Beethoven and Bach were first named "the three Bs" by noted conductor and pianist Hans von Bülow in the mid 19th century, they have been widely considered to be the "holy trinity" of classical composers. In this PianoSoft album, the distinguished pianist Kevin Fitz-Gerald takes on full solo piano pieces from each of the three Bs, including Beethoven's 8th Piano Sonata (the "Sonata Pathétique"), Bach's Partita No. 2, and two of Brahms's famous Hungarian Dances. The impeccable selection of pieces and quality of playing on this album make it a must for any classical fan.

"Big Girls Don't Cry" - The Best of Jersey Boys

Thanks to Jersey Boys, the Broadway blockbuster based on the history and songs of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, songs like "Walk Like a Man" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" are officially back in style. Now, just as these classic songs were adapted for the stage for Jersey Boys, pianist, arranger and PianoSoft artist Bill Cunliffe has adapted them for solo piano for this new PianoSoft album. On songs like "Sherry" and "Big Girls Don't Cry", Cunliffe has captured that rock and roll excitement of the original versions, as well as the drama that comes from the Broadway spotlight, all in a format that will play back on your instrument exactly as they were originally performed.

- Doug

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Learn To Play Classic Organ Lines With This Week's New Songs

With the ability to create a wide variety of sounds, the organ is very closely related to today's electronic keyboards. Given the organ's versatility, it's no surprise the everyone from guitar gods Led Zeppelin to the masterful harmonica fronted J. Geils Band made room for the organ in some of their biggest hits. This week's new MIDI songs include some of rock's most memorable organ moments, but for even more on organ based songs, tips and videos, check out our article on the organ.

Freeze-Frame - The J. Geils Band
Driven by an incredibly catchy and fun to play organ lines, this upbeat number from 1982 has become a rock radio classic. Though the J. Geils Band was known for their harmonica work, both "Freeze-Frame" and their hit "Centerfold" are prime examples of great rock organ songs.

Thank You - Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin, typically a guitar lover's band, they also know how to write a great organ part. "Thank You" features a wonderful and moving organ accompaniment, as played by bassist John Paul Jones.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - Iron Butterfly
With this song, you'll get a chance to practice your rock organ soloing over one the greatest riffs in 60s rock. A nice song for beginners, too - the blues progression is easy to learn, but tough to master.

The Phantom of the Opera - Andrew Lloyd Webber
When you write a musical based around the character of a myserious organist, you'd better include some good organ music. Luckily, Andrew Lloyd Webber knew what he was doing - showtunes fans certainly know and love this song already, and organ lovers will quickly add it to their list of favorites.

Simply Irresistible - Robert Palmer
Robert Palmer's distinctive blend of bluesy rock, glamorous 80s pop will sound great on your keyboard. Make sure to take a look at the video, too - undoubtedly one of the best of the 80s.

Nature Boy - Nat King Cole
This evocative jazz standard recorded by Nat King Cole, Celine Dion and David Bowie just to name a few, is sure to raise the romance level on your keyboard.

- Doug

Vocal Rock Accompaniments & A Capella In This Week's New Premium Styles

As marvelous as Yamaha's keyboards are, we have to admit that the human voice is still the most amazing, versatile and expressive instrument around. Luckily, Yamaha's keyboards recognize the importance of great vocal sounds, as you can tell by the spectacular vocal recreations in both this week's new Premium Styles and the Choral Vocals Premium Pack. Both of the new Premium Styles just released feature vocal accompaniments that create a realistic, human feel that will add a new dimension to your playing, whether you're playing, rock, pop or jazz.

The two new styles are each available in five different versions designed to suit each specific instrument type, including an optimized version dedicated to the new Tyros4, so you can be sure you're getting the best quality style for your particular keyboard model whether you're using a Clavinova or a workstation keyboard.

50s Twist
With the youthful rebellion of exciting, raucous music and the dance to go along with it, the twist sums up perfectly the feel of early rock and roll. You can easily create the same feel easily with this style, which puts doo wop backing vocals at the forefront of the accompaniment. For a more piano heavy take on the twist, try the 60s Twist style.

Acappella Swing
A capella music appears most often these days in the form of barbershop and vocal jazz. The a capella swing sound has been taken up recently by groups like Take 6 and the Manhattan Transfer, and this style is a perfect accompaniment to use in creating your own a capella tracks. Using only human voices for harmony and finger snaps for percussion, this style recreates the sound of a barbershop quartet with amazing realism and expressiveness. Add your own voice to create new "a capella" songs!

- Doug

Friday, January 14, 2011

Yamaha at NAMM 2011

The 2011 edition of the Winter NAMM show is underway this weekend in California, and Yamaha is on the scene, with a full slate of exciting new instrument announcements, demonstrations and performances. At NAMM, North America's largest musical instruments trade show, thousands of music products are showcased each year, and Yamaha is always at the forefront with innovative new musical ideas. 2011 promises to continue this tradition with big news from across the musical spectrum.

Full coverage is live at Yamaha's official NAMM site, but here's a brief summary of some of the keyboard and piano news that has surfaced so far:
  • New CLP-400 series Clavinova Digital Pianos
    The new Clavinova Slimline Series offers an improved piano touch and tone in a cabinet that's high on style, but low in square footage. Key new features shared by all models in the CLP Slimline Series include a USB audio recorder, which lets pianists capture performances, document and store piano lesson material or record original compositions on high-quality audio files. Now, it's easier than ever to share high-quality recordings of your performance with family and friends.
  • "Piaggero" NP Series Digital Pianos
    Designed to appeal to piano purists seeking an extremely portable instrument, this new line offers high quality piano Voices and basic piano-centric features for practicing or performing piano anywhere. The new Piaggero NP Series offers classic Yamaha piano tone and 76 full-sized keys, with the NP-31's using the new Graded Soft Touch Action system to emulates the graded resistance of an acoustic piano without the added weight of hammers.
  • CFX Grand Pianos With Disklavier Mark IV Pro Technology
    The hand-built Yamaha CFX concert grand piano, which was launched only one year ago, has already been celebrated for being the piano of choice by the winners of prominent piano competitions worldwide. Winter NAMM 2011 will mark the world premiere of a Mark IV Disklavier Pro version of this incredible instrument! These new Mark IV Pro pianos feauture Yamaha's finest Disklavier system, factory-installed in Yamaha's finest hand-crafted 9' Concert Grand Piano, which means higher resolution recording than that available on the standard Mark IV, an 80 GB hard drive, the ability to control the piano from your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, PianoSmart Video Sync recording capability and Yamaha "Remote Lesson" features which permitting transcontinental piano lessons, master classes and performances between two Internet-connected Disklavier pianos.
  • Bösendorfer Disklavier Pianos
    When Yamaha began distributing Bösendorfer pianos in 2008, they added one of the world's most beloved pianos to their instrument selection. Now, you can get the famous Bösendorfer sound and feel integrated with the state of the art Disklavier E3. You can now record your piano performances directly to MIDI, play silently through headphones, enjoy original piano performances played live on your piano, either from the streaming Piano Radio service, or from the extensive library of, and more, all with a Bösendorfer.
Of course, this is just the beginning. Yamaha will be providing hours of coverage on their official site, featuring the many performances, demonstrations, and new product announcements going on at the show throughout the weekend.

Check Yamaha's official NAMM website for live video and updates throughout the show, as well as Yamaha's Twitter streams, for up to the minute news:

Yamaha Keyboards Twitter
Yamaha Pianos Twitter
Yamaha Drums Twitter
Yamaha Guitars Twitter
Yamaha Strings Twitter
Yamaha Winds Twitter
Yamaha Percussion Twitter

- Doug

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Put Your Keyboard In a Billy Joel State of Mind

He is known as the "Piano Man", and not only because that happens to be the name of one of his many legendary songs. When it comes to musicians and songwriters in the world of pop and rock, it's hard to find anyone who has done more with the piano than Billy Joel. One of the main traits of his playing and songwriting is its diversity, running from old fashioned rock and roll and pop, to ballads more influenced by traditional forms. With his songs covering all of the bases of pop piano, you can really get a crash course in a number of different styles and genres, just by exploring his work! As varied as his songs are, though, the more you play and listen to them the more clearly you'll be able to see a certain signature Billy Joel style that comes through in every song. Learn to play like Billy Joel, and you'll be well on your way to developing your own unique style.

One way to start learning to play like Billy Joel is with sheet music, or, even better, sheet music and CD packs. At Yamaha MusicSoft, we have five different Billy Joel book and CD packs available that will give you scores for Joel's classic songs along with audio tracks that you can follow along with as you play. Audio tracks both with and without Joel's piano parts will help you both learn the parts, then add your own performances when you're ready.

For an even more interactive experience, though, MIDI versions of Billy Joel's songs are a great place to start. Learning with MIDI files on your keyboard will give you the chance to customize each song to fit your learning and practicing needs. For example:
  • Hear what you're trying to learn. By isolating the piano and keyboard parts in the song, you can focus on training your hands to play just like a professional recording.
  • Play with a full band backing track. You can easily mute the piano part and play along with the song's full accompaniment, which helps you learn by adding context to your playing.
  • Learn at your own speed. Slow down the track to make it easier to play, or speed it up for a bigger challenge.
  • Let the song follow you. With the guide mode, you can tell the song to follow your playing - when you play the right notes, the song will continue. This is a great way to test yourself as you're learning to play.

For more detailed observations on some specific Billy Joel songs, we've made a few suggestions below, including designations for finding the piano channels in each song. You can also consult this guide for more tips on learning with MIDI files.

MIDI Songs

Uptown Girl
Piano on Track 1
C Major

As an homage to early 60s pop and bands like Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, "Uptown Girl" has a relatively simple rhythm and chord structure. But, like many of Billy Joel's songs, it modulates between a number of keys, providing some challenge and making it even more fun to play once you've got it down.

My Life
Electric Piano on Track 4
D Major

The electric piano line in "My Life" is simple, but provides the backbone of the song with accented chords, and a left hand line that mimics the disco influenced bassline. A great song for beginners looking to expand their horizons with opop music, and a great way to practice right and left hand separation.

Just the Way You Are
Electric Piano on Track 7
D Major

Like many of Billy Joel's songs, "Just the Way You Are" sounds beautiful and effortless when he plays it, but features some tricky changes. Master this one and your well on your way to becoming a great pop pianist.

New York State of Mind
Piano on Track 6
C Major

The introduction to "New York State of Mind" shows off some of Joel's most dramatic playing, and will be a real treat for more advanced players to learn. After that, the songs settles into more familiar territory, but is still quite challenging, with Joel's unexpected chord changes and flourishes.

Billy Joel Song Pack
Get "New York State of Mind", "Uptown Girl" and "Just the Way You Are" together and save 20%!

Sheet Music and CD Packs

Billy Joel Classics: 1974-1980 (Keyboard Signature Licks)
The "Signature Licks Series" breaks down Billy Joel's songs into fundamental techniques and playing patterns, which you can study both in print and on the accompanying CD. Book one covers Joel's early years from "Piano Man" to "My Life".

Billy Joel Hits: 1981-1993 (Keyboard Signature Licks)
Book two continues where book one left off, providing valuable insight into Joel's piano playing style over a period covering everything from "She's Got a Way" to "River of Dreams".

Billy Joel - Classics (Keyboard Play Along)
Some of Joel's biggest hits with full scores and an audio CD. You can even load the CD on your computer and play back the audio in any tempo you want, without changing the pitch, so you can practice at your own pace. Songs include "Captain Jack" and "Piano Man".

Billy Joel Hits (Keyboard Play Along)
Another great pack from the "Keyboard Play Along" series. Songs include "Just the Way You Are" and "Allentown".

Billy Joel Hits (Piano Play Along)
Complete sheet music with a piano oriented arrangement, along with a fully interactive CD. Songs include "New York State of Mind" and "Honesty".

Billy Joel Favorites (Piano Play Along)
More from the "Piano Play Along series. Songs include "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" and "Uptown Girl".

- Doug

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Congratulations to Yamaha's Grammy Nominated Artists!

Nominations for the 53rd Annual GRAMMY® Awards were announced by The Recording Academy® on Dec. 1 and a diverse group of Yamaha artists took the spotlight, with a total of 47 nominations. John Legend, Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum, Questlove, Zac Brown, Sara Bareilles and Barry Manilow are just a few of the artists who earned nods for their contributions to the music industry this past year.

Singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles, who plays Yamaha pianos, a CLP280 and Yamaha keyboards, received her second nomination for "Best Female Pop Vocal" for her single "King of Anything". She's up against fellow Yamaha artist Norah Jones for her performance of "Chasing Pirates."

Sara Bareilles - King of Anything

Norah Jones - Chasing Pirates

Yamaha pianist John Legend also earned five nominations for his collaboration with the acclaimed hip hop band, the Roots, Wake Up!. Legend and Roots drummer Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, who is also a Yamaha artist, came together to record updated versions of inspirational 60s and 70s soul and R&B classics. The album has then in the running for "Best R&B Performance By A Duo or Group with Vocals" and "Best R&B Song" for "Shine." They earned a "Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance" nod for "Hang On In There" and a" Best Rap/Sung Collaboration" for "Wake Up! Everybody." Their final collective nomination is for the coveted title of "Best R&B Album".

John Legend - Ordinary People

Country band Lady Antebellum, which includes multi instrumentalist, songwriter and Yamaha artist Dave Haywood, is celebrating an impressive six nominations for their cross-over album and infectious song of the same title, "Need You Now". In total, Lady Antebellum is up for the "Album of the Year" , "Best Country Album", "Record of the Year," "Song of the Year", "Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal", and "Best Country Song" awards.

Lady Antebellum - Need You Now

Joining Lady Antebellum in the Album of the Year category is Yamaha drummer Teddy Riley for his contribution to Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster.

Lady Gaga - Bad Romance

The legendary Elton John, who has performed exclusively on Yamaha pianos for years, earned a nomination for "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals" for "If It Wasn't For Bad," the first single off his highly acclaimed collaborative album with Leon Russell.

Elton John MIDI Song Pack

Hit crooner Michael Bublé snagged a nomination for "Best Male Pop Vocal Performance" for "Haven't Met You Yet." He joins fellow Yamaha artist Barry Manilow in the category for "Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album": Bublé for Crazy Love and Manilow for The Greatest Love Songs of All Time.

Michael Bublé - Haven't Met You Yet

Barry Manilow - I Write the Songs

R&B superstar Alicia Keys, who performs on Yamaha grand pianos, is nominated for "Record of the Year", "Best Rap/Sung Collaboration", and "Best Rap Song" for her collaboration with Jay Z on "Empire State of Mind."
Alicia Keys - No One

More details on Yamaha artists and a full list of nominees can be found at the Yamaha America website, or the Yamaha Artists Services website at

- Doug

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Songs for the New Year - The Police, Tom Jones, CSNY & More

Many of rock and roll's greatest songs have taken planes, trains and automobiles as their subjects, and this week's new releases include two of the best examples of transportation themed rock tunes. From the Beach Boys and their odes to "woodies" and the car culture of 60s California, to "Leaving on a Jet Plane", to today's car obsessed hip-hop and pop - big, expensive, masculine machines have been a part of pop music since the beginning. Within this tradition, "Danger Zone" and "Radar Love" are both classics in the category of songs that emphasize the thrill of driving. But that's not all, of course - songs from the Police, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, as well the latest European hits, are all included in our latest releases!

Danger Zone - Kenny Loggins
Originally used to express the excitement and danger of flying a fighter jet in the movie "Top Gun", this song is the perfect way to pump up a crowd or add some campy 80s flair to your set.

Radar Love - Golden Earring
In the long tradition of rock songs about cars, "Radar Love" is one of the greatest. After making an international smash in 1973, this song has remained popular with fans of bold, anthemic rock ever since.

Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic - The Police
This huge 1981 hit features all of the elements that make for a great Police song: intricate and subtly complex rhythms, melodies and harmonies and a slight Caribbean feel.

Mama Told Me Not To Come - Tom Jones and Stereophonics
Memorable versions of this classic blues-rock song, written by the legendary songwriter (and "Toy Story" soundtracker) Randy Newman have been recorded by the Animals and Three Dog Night. This MIDI song is based on the version that was a UK top ten hit for Tom Jones and the Stereophonics in 2000.

Teach Your Children Well - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
One the many memorable songs created by the extremely talented foursome of David Crosby, Steven Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young during the heavy days of the late 60s and early 70s, "Teach Your Children Well" features the band's legendary four part vocal harmonies and a message that resonates today as much as it did when it was written.

Every Little Thing - Carlene Carter

Was Wär - Nic P

Winter - Unheilig

Il Silenzio - Nini Rosso

Sportpalast-Walzer - Orchester Eric Werner

- Doug