Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How to Access More Sounds on Your Disklaiver

(Did you know you can make it sound like a choir?!)

While the Disklavier is known for its amazing playback capability, you may not be aware that it can actually produce other sounds as well. It’s almost like turning your piano into a synthesizer and instantly having a whole new level of musical creativity.

For example, why just play piano, when you could simultaneously play piano and strings at the same time? Or sound like a choir, trumpet, or even a timpani drum? 

The Mark III, Mark IV, E3, and pianos with a DKC-850 box can take advantage of this feature, because they all have additional sounds built right into the unit.

A combination I like to use a lot is combining the live acoustic sound with an electronic piano sound. Remembering my high school days brings back memories of this sound, which dominated the pop music scene. Often called the “David Foster” sound, it was used in the 80’s by Chicago in such hits as “Hard To Say I’m Sorry,” where Foster layered the traditional ballad piano with the shimmery bells of an electronic piano. It was yet another way the electronic music would forever change the sound of popular music.

Back to the piano and strings combination – this is a great setting for a lot of music, from classical Mozart pieces to modern music. Film scores often feature piano and strings, so dig through some of those theme songs and you’ll see it works for a wide range of material. The “Godfather” theme, “Harry Potter,” and everything in between are great candidates for this combination of sounds. 

If your Disklavier has the ability to silence the acoustic piano altogether, you can even have more fun featuring the other instrument sounds all by themselves. With well over a hundred sounds, there’s no shortage of options. One of my favorites is the choir. People never cease to be impressed when they hear a group of singers coming out of piano. Plus, dial all the way to the end of the instrument list, and you may actually find some sound effects!

E3 model owners, if you haven’t had a chance to see this clip from the DVD, take a look at this for a quick 3+ minute tour of this feature and how to access it. 

What's your favorite Disklavier Voice? Let us know in the comments.