Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What is DisklavierTV?

DisklavierTV™ is a subscription streaming service that allows you to watch a piano performance on TV while your Disklavier piano is played in sync by the performer thousands of miles away! This unique viewing experience brings professional concerts to the comfort of your living room.



DisklavierTV takes advantage of the Disklavier’s unique technology, which combines the true acoustics of the piano with an incorporated fiber optic sensing system, high performance solenoids and state-of-the-art computer technology. In non-technological terms, the piano played by the artist accurately records every note, pedal movement, expression and nuance of the live performance as played uniquely by that pianist in that moment, then plays it back on the Disklavier piano in your home. This is not an audio recording of a song coming out of your piano, each key or pedal is triggered by the 88 solenoids placed under the back of each key and the left and right pedals.

When this technology is combined with the visual performance through your TV, it provides a breathtaking concert experience which allows you to intimately witness the pianist's exact movements while hearing the music played from your piano. Learn more about DisklavierTV here.

There are a variety of performances including regular On Demand concerts from events and venues including the Newport Music Festival and the Monterey Jazz Festival, as well as selected performances broadcast live. Additionally, DisklavierTV has had the privilege of offering the performances of such mega-stars as Sarah McLachlan, The Tierney Sutton Band featuring Christian Jacob and Elton John! This unbelievable way to view world class performances must be experienced to be believed.

Mark your calendars for these unmissable performances:

The Rick Tatum Group
Set One & Set Two - The Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach 
Available Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015 – Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015
The Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach is an annual, summer-long celebration held in beautiful Laguna Beach, CA with numerous events and activities that encourage the appreciation, study and performance of the arts. Some of the greatest highlights of the festival are the live musical performances—including this electrifying performance by The Rick Tatum Group. Led by singer Rick Tatum, this talented band brings the stage to life with their jazz, funk and R&B style. In addition to Tatum, this performance features Tom Zink on piano, Greg Vail on saxophone, Melvin Lee Davis on bass and Tom Dante on drums. Enjoy set one of this fantastic two set performance. 

Bill Cantos
Set One & Set Two - The Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach 
Now Available
The Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach is an annual, summer-long celebration held in beautiful Laguna Beach, CA with numerous events and activities that encourage the appreciation, study and performance of the arts. Some of the greatest highlights of the festival are the live musical performances—including this wonderful performance featuring Bill Cantos on piano and vocals. Cantos, a talented keyboardist, singer/songwriter, arranger and producer, has toured and/or recorded with numerous legendary artists—including Phil Collins, Barry Manilow, Bob Dylan, Rita Coolidge and Elton John, to name a few. For this performance, Cantos is accompanied by Abe Laboriel on bass, Michael Shapiro on drums and special guest Mari Falcone on piano and vocals. Enjoy set one of this fantastic two set performance. Photo courtesy of Dirk Bolle. 

Jamie Cullum
From the 9:30 Club 
Now Available
Yamaha Artist Jamie Cullum is more than your average jazz musician—describing him as remarkably talented or refreshingly one-of-a-kind is only the tip of the iceberg. Known for his work in the jazz genre, Cullum is also recognized for his strikingly creative way with cover versions of songs from multiple different genres. In this exclusive broadcast, presented by Yamaha Entertainment Group, you will get to experience the versatility and sheer genius of Cullum’s work with cover versions—including his renditions of “Just One of Those Things” (Cole Porter), “The Wind Cries Mary” (The Jimi Hendrix Experience), “Don’t Stop The Music” (Rihanna) and, probably his most well-known, “High and Dry” (Radiohead). This performance also includes pieces from Cullum’s most recent album, The Pursuit. Enjoy this fantastic performance available on demand for the entire month of October! 


The DisklavierTV service is only available in the U.S. at this time due to licensing restrictions. The service is compatible with Disklavier E3 and Mark IV Series models. It is also compatible with Mark IIXG or Mark III, when equipped with a DKC-850 control unit (optional) updated with the latest firmware (version 3.52 or later). Need tips on setting up your Disklavier? Click here

DisklavierTV subscriptions also include access to Piano Radio which allows you to stream over 30 piano music channels 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Getting connected is easy, just subscribe and register, connect to the internet and listen to music! 


There are three different DisklavierTV/Piano Radio subscription options:

Annual - $199.99/year with 2 months free
Monthly – 19.99/month
Free Trial – Try the service for free for one month



Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Added Benefit to Music Practice? Better Brain Chemistry and Wiring

A very informal poll here at Yamaha MusicSoft found that, when we were children, 3% of us liked practicing music.  However, some very interesting scientific research demonstrates that practicing music and professional musicianship has profound effects on the brain.  A study from Finland investigated the size and performance of the connective tissue between the left side and right side of our brain.  The results fascinated us:
Musical training leads to sensory and motor neuroplastic changes in the human brain... The brain symmetry in instrument playing shapes information processing in these areas during music listening. 
What does that mean exactly?  Your brain changes chemistry, wiring, and performance not only when listening to music, but playing it on an instrument.  How much it changes depends on what instrument you play.  It's somewhat intuitive, but an instrument where you use both left and right hand simultaneously - keyboards, drums - show greater change than one-handed dominant instruments, like strings and horns.

Keep in mind that a bounty of scientific work shows music lessons provide a brain workout and that musical training builds skills outside of music in the emotional and cognitive realms.  Music has long term benefits in memory retention for aging.  Musical activity in any phase of life, especially in childhood, improves all sort of general lifestyle activities over the course of our lifetime.

In short... keep practicing!  You are doing your brain and yourself a lot of good!



Friday, October 16, 2015

How to Edit MIDI Files on Your Clavinova

Editing MIDI Files on the CVP705/709/709GP, CVP605/609/609GP Clavinova

When MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) was first introduced over 30 years ago, I couldn’t begin to imagine the great things that could be done with this new protocol. As MIDI is a digital language musical instruments speak, software was becoming available to study in the piano books you already owned, but now with an orchestral accompaniment to enhance the process. Piano arrangement books were also becoming available, making performing more exciting as well. Fast forward to the present, now MIDI files are even more amazing due to the advancement of sound sampling technology that make these files sound incredible.

As MIDI represents messages with instructions that speak to digital instruments, it is possible to change everything about a MIDI file. Voices assigned to different channels can be changed, as well as volume balances, panning, and tempos.

At the start of a MIDI file, there is a silent message that sends information to your Clavinova in a split second, telling your Clavinova everything about how to play the song file, it is called a “set up” message. Every MIDI file has a set up message that tells the Clavinova which voices, effects, tempo, etc. to be set up to play the song file.  Keep this term handy in your mind.

Before starting to edit a MIDI file, I set up a couple of short cuts on my own Clavinova to make this process easier. The assignable buttons located to the left of the display can be customized to your liking. I keep the “Mixer” and the “Song Creator” function stored in the assignable buttons, as these features are used a lot in MIDI file editing.





To set up this function:

  • Touch the Menu icon in the display of the home screen
  • Touch the Assignable icon
  • Touch the left of the screen where it says “Assignable”
  • There you will see 4 function assign buttons
  • Touch #1, and scroll down until you find the “Mixer”
  • Select “Mixer” and touch “Close”
  • Touch #2, and scroll down until you find “Song Creator”
  • Select “Song Creator” and touch “Close”


When learning to play a new song, it is wonderful
to be able to adjust the tempo of a MIDI file we’re playing with. Many times a MIDI file may not be set to a tempo you like, or can keep up with.

To edit a tempo:

  • Load the MIDI file to be edited
  • Use the tempo buttons on the left of the Clavinova control panel to adjust to song to your liking
  • You can listen to the song while adjusting tempo.
  • When the perfect tempo is found, press “Stop” in the song control area. This must be done prior to resaving the file, as we are changing the “Set up” message
  • Touch the “Assignable” button where you stored “Song Creator”. If you haven’t stored this into your assignable buttons, touch “Menu” from the home screen, go to page 2 of the icons, and touch “Song Creator”
  • Touch the display where you see the word “Set up”. Notice all the choices that can be saved to the start of your MIDI file. Be sure tempo is checked, and press “Execute”
  • After this is complete, touch “Close”
  • To save the song that now has the new tempo, touch the download icon at the top of the page, and select where you wish to save the file (User or USB). Touch Save here
  • It is advisable to name your new song file with a different title, as it’s always a good idea to leave the original MIDI file as it was, in case you want to make other changes at a different time. If I have made only tempo adjustments, I usually save the same song title with the beats per minute saved. Example: Saints 124

If you have created a file and have decided you don’t like the instrument voices you choose for the different channels, or their volume levels, this can all be changed. As well, if you’re working with an older MIDI file, or a file you have downloaded from the internet (a non-Yamaha Music Soft file), many of these files have terrible voices assigned to the different channels, as well as bad balance levels. These voices and balances can also be changed.

  • Load the MIDI file you wish to edit
  • If you assigned the “Mixer” to one of your assignable buttons, select it. If you’re not using your assignable buttons, touch Menu from the home screen, and touch Mixer icon
  • At the top of this screen, touch the Song ch 1-8 tab, or Song ch 9-16 depending on which channel you wish to work with 
  • Each channel will display the voice used, the panning and the volume
  • To change the voice, touch the instrument icon in the display, and your Clavinova will show you the voice that was assigned to that channel. Select any other voice on your Clavinova to replace the one there, and the results can be amazing. Once you have decided which voice to use, touch Close. This can be done while the song file is playing

While the Mixer page is open, you can also adjust volume levels of each channel, as well as the panning (where the sound is placed in the stereo field).

  • Once you have made all of your adjustments in the Mixer, press “Stop” in the Song Control area. The file must be stopped, or the changes cannot take place, as you are changing the “Set Up” message at the beginning of the song file. 
  • Touch the “Assignable” button where you stored “Song Creator”. If you haven’t stored this into your assignable buttons, touch “Menu” from the home screen, go to page 2 of the icons, and touch “Song Creator”
  • Touch the display where you see the word “Set up”. Notice all the choices that can be saved to the start of your MIDI file. Be sure the features your changed are checked, and press “Execute”
  • After this is complete, touch “Close”
  • To save the song that now has the new changes, touch the download icon at the top of the Song Creator page, and select where you wish to save the file (User or USB). 
  • It is advisable to name your new song file with a different title, as it’s always a good idea to leave the original MIDI file as it was, in case you want to make other changes at a different time.  
These are basic editing tools, but can really enhance a prerecorded MIDI file, as well as fine tune one you have made yourself! Stay tuned for more editing tips in the future!

Lori Frazer
Yamaha Consultant
Keyboard Division

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Kooky Karaoke for the Yamaha Clavinova

Your Yamaha CVP Clavinova is an amazing musical instrument to play, but it also has some fun features for the singer, and those of us that wish we were singers.

Many fun family gatherings in years past were spent singing around the family piano. With a CVP Clavinova, there is a whole new generation of fun – Kooky Karaoke.  Kooky Karaoke was developed especially to use with Clavinova CVP609, CVP705/709, adding hours of fun and enjoyment to your instrument.  Your Clavinova makes singing more fun, as it modifies your voice to sound like famous people, and fun characters. With this special software, you can sound like Barry White, Popeye, Annie, and many other fun voices, as well as correct your pitch.

Hook your CVP Clavinova up to a flat screen TV using a VGA cable, as this will allow the entire family to see the lyrics.  Plug in a microphone, adjust the volume using the volume knob where you plugged in the mic. You can also adjust the microphone volume from the balance control icon found in the lower area of the display.  As a side note, a better quality microphone will give you a much better result when using the karaoke feature. As well, be sure to sing directly into the microphone for best results. Now, let the fun begin!

For a hauntingly good time at Halloween, download the Monster Mash, and let the ghosts and goblins be your back up band. Watch the Monster Mash video demo:


This Kooky Karaoke file will alter your voice as the song progresses. All Halloween celebrations should be this fun! Get Monster Mash for your Clavinova here.

From the home screen:

  1. Touch the Song area in the display on the right side
  2. Touch the Midi tab at the top of the display
  3. Select the USB icon (if you downloaded the file to your flash drive}
  4. Select the file called Monster Mash
  5. Have your microphone plugged in, with your volume level set
  6. Press the Play button in the Song Control area to the right of the display
  7. You will see in the display of your Clavinova all of the lyrics for the song, and the Clavinova will highlight the words at the proper time to sing. 
  8. No need to adjust your voice in any way – just sing as you normally would, and enjoy the fun results! 

If USA Edition has been installed in your CVP705/709/709GP Clavinova, you have some wonderful Kooky Karaoke files to enjoy, loaded right into your instrument. If USA Edition has not been loaded into your CVP705/709/709GP, please visit:  4wrd.it/clavusa. Please note that this is only available to US customers. Please have your product registration information handy before your visit this site. 

The CVP700 series has a new category of Kooky Karaoke files that say “Pitch” next to the title. This is a special file that has pitch corrected Kooky Karaoke. Pitch corrected karaoke makes singing these songs even more fun because it’s foolproof! Sing any pitch in to the microphone, and your CVP Clavionva will magically correct your pitch to the right note! How amazing to never sing off key, or sing the wrong note again!  
From the home screen:

  1. Touch the Song area from the right side of the display
  2. Touch the Midi tab at the top of the display
  3. Touch the User icon
  4. Touch the folder labeled Kooky Karaoke
  5. Select a song to sing. Each file is available with pitch correct, or without it
  6. Be sure to have your microphone plugged in and ready to go
  7. Press the Play button in the Song Control area to the right of the display
  8. You will see in the display of your Clavinova all of the lyrics for the song, and the Clavinova will highlight the words at the proper time to sing. 

One of my favorite files in Kooky Karaoke is “The 12 Days of Christmas”. Usually just the mention of this song brings out concern from family members due to the length, but I promise you this one will go by in no time, with everyone having a great time! With the new pitch correct version, everyone will sound great! 

Gather everyone around the Clavinova, and you (as the host) sing the first verse – your voice will sound completely normal. After the first verse is complete, hand the microphone to the next participant to sing their verse. Each verse of this song has a different sounding voice (high, low, funny, crazy, etc.), so when the microphone is passed to the next participant, you never know what the singer will sound like. After the first person has finished their verse, take the microphone back to sing your part “and a partridge in a pear tree”. Hand the microphone for verse 3 to another participant, when their verse is done, singer number 2 gets the mic back for their “two turtle doves”, and you get the microphone back for your “and a partridge in a pear tree”. Keep this going for the duration of the song going back a forth between the singers in the group. As the song gets further along, most singers get off beat, and don’t pass the microphone off at the proper time, creating even more comedy. Everyone usually gets caught up on verse 5, and again on the first verse. Keep laughing – it adds to the experience!

The look of surprise on each singers face is great fun! A little hint – I try to make sure a man sings verse 5, as it’s a soprano voice, complete with vibrato.

“Puff the Magic Dragon” shows off another fun feature of Kooky Karaoke – vocal harmony. When the song first begins, you are singing solo, but once the chorus begins, you will be “joined” by backup singers. When you’re back to the verse, you’re back to being a soloist.

“Off to See the Wizard” is another fun song to experiment with Kooky Karaoke voice changes. Start the file, and sing the first line you see “Follow the yellow brick road”. The song pauses waiting for you to press any key on the Clavinova to move to the next line of the song, “Follow the yellow brick road”. When you do this, your voice will automatically change to another “munchkin”. After several munchkin voice changes, the song will play through to the end without you needing to press any more keys.

  1. Tomorrow 
  2. Popeye The Sailor
  3. Good Ship Lollipop 
  4. God Bless America 
  5. Can't Get Enough 
  6. Devil Went Down To Georgia
  7. Puff The Magic Dragon 
  8. Off To See The Wizard
  9. White Christmas
  10. 12 Days Of Christmas
  1. Witch Doctor 
  2. Rubber Duckie 
  3. Don't Worry 
  4. Munchkins 
  5. Always On My Mind 
  6. Mr. Grinch
  7. Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
  8. Oh Holy Night 
  9. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
  10. Hippopatomus

Each one of the Kooky Karaoke files can add hours of fun and enjoyment! Try each one, and enjoy the results! You may find a hidden talent you never knew you had!

Lori Frazer
Yamaha Consultant
Keyboard Division

Friday, October 9, 2015

New Voice and Style Expansion Packs Available for New Arranger Workstations

Yamaha MusicSoft is proud to announce the addition of Voice and Style Expansion packs for the new Yamaha PSR-S 70 series of Arranger Workstations!  The best news is that you can load your own custom mix of voices and styles from different packs using Yamaha Expansion Manager.

Yamaha Expansion Manager (or YEM) allows you to select different voices and styles from the various packs in your library to create a custom “playlist” of favorite voices and styles. Once you select your choices in YEM, you can load that set into your new PSR-S arranger workstation.  Click here for the free download of Yamaha Expansion Manager.  YEM is available on both Windows and Mac operating systems.


There are two easy ways to expand your instrument:


Method One - Install One Whole Pack

When you download your expansion pack from yamahamusicsoft.com, it will contain 3 files – A .ppi file, a .ppf file and a Read Me file with brief instructions. We will start with the “Direct Load” option using the .ppi file. This option will load the entire contents of an individual pack directly into your arranger workstation following these easy steps:


  1. Copy the Expansion Installation file (which is the .ppi file) into the root folder of your USB storage device. (Remember: Do not rename the files.)
  2. Connect your USB flash storage device to the USB TO DEVICE terminal on your keyboard, and then press the [FUNCTION] button to call up the display.
  3. Use the TAB [<] and [>] buttons and Cursor buttons to select [Pack Installation], and press [ENTER]
  4. Use the Cursor buttons to select the Expansion Pack you want to install. Press the [ENTER] button, and press [INSTALL].



Method Two - Mix and Match Voices and Styles


  1. Import the Expansion Pack Project files (the .ppf files) into Yamaha Expansion Manager. You want to make sure you are using YEM version 2.3 or later.  
  2. Pick your favorite contents from the Expansion Pack Project files, and create an original Pack Installation file (.ppi) by selecting “Save as Pack Install File”.
  3. Install the Pack Installation file into your instrument via USB


As a special bonus, download TWO FREE VSE packs right now to mix and match.
  Click the Voice and Style Expansion Pack tab on the next screen.

PSR-S670 Free Packs    PSR-S770 Free Packs    PSR-S970 Free Packs
The two free packs above are the Best of Europe and Mexico Pack 2. 



Are you looking for other VSE packs?  Click the image to the right for all available packs at Yamaha MusicSoft.com.

Any questions? Contact us in the comments below. Start making great music!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Turn Your Disklavier into a Spooky Sound Effects Machine!

As we’ve mentioned previously, your Disklavier contains additional sounds (called “Voices”) that can be played from the keyboard. Those sounds include a set of fun sound effects such as a haunting laugh, a squeaking door, a lady screaming, a car screeching, and many more!

Just look for the “SFX Voice” listings in the voice list of your instrument. Here’s how to access them on the Disklavier E3 model, as well as those equipped with a DKC-850:



1. Using the remote, press the “Voice” button.

2. Look on the display screen of the Disklavier, and you’ll see the Voice screen, along with “Group” and “Voice” listings.
Using your remote, or the dial on the control box, scroll through the groups to number 18 “SFX Voice”.” Then move the cursor to the “Voice” section and scroll to a desired sound, such as #484 “Scream”.

3. Play the keyboard. Make sure to maximize the volume of your instrument, or you may have to hit the keys pretty hard to get a lot of volume. The best keys to play are around middle C (right below the Yamaha logo), where the pitch is close to the original recording.

Now have fun trying all the different voices! And here’s another trick. If you’d like to hear several sound effects at a time, mapped to different keys, dial backward in the Voice list to #448 “SKX Kit 1” or #449 “SFX Kit 2.” Now you’ll actually hear different sounds on several different keys.  With a little practice, you can tell a whole story by playing the keys in a particular order. For example: Car engine, Car speeding, Car stop, scary laugh, footsteps, door slam.

This Halloween, make your Disklavier your key to frightfully fun entertainment!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How to throw the perfect Halloween party and showcase your Disklavier

The perfect Halloween party can be a legendary event, just think back to your most memorable Halloween or look at the parties thrown by celebrities like Bette Midler or Neil Patrick Harris. Creepy costumes, frightening food, devilish decorations and macabre music are all necessities. Halloween is the ideal time to showcase your Disklavier and wow guests with your haunted piano. To ensure you throw a spectacular Halloween party, we’ve collected some party tips and recipes, as well as your must-have Disklavier set up guide.

Costumes


As the host of the party, you’ll need a stand-out costume. Whether or you rent, buy or make a costume, the devil is in the details. Here are some great homemade Halloween costume ideas for adults and children. It’s also a great idea to have a costume chest for guests who have either not worn a costume or forgotten an accessory.

A professional make-up artist can put on the finishing touches on your costume. He or she will be able to create stunning cat eyes, realistic abrasions or completely transform your everyday look into something horrific or utterly glamorous! Here’s a collection of horrifying looks for inspiration.

Food & Drinks 


When it comes to Halloween party food, the first step is decide how extreme you are willing to go. It’s a good idea to balance themed food like severed fingers cookies, or oozing gelatin brains, with other foods that your guests will actually want to eat. We love these Halloween bites:

Halloween Party Appetizers

Classy Halloween Treats

Graveyard Dirt Cake

Whether you’re hosting a party for kids or adults a Halloween-themed drink will get all of your guests talking. For an added bonus serve your drink in a black cauldron, and if it's safe add dry ice for a smokey effect. Here are some ideas for kids drinks or adults-only beverages.

Decorations 


Whether you plan to hire someone to decorate your house or love getting down and dirty putting up cobwebs, you absolutely need to set the mood for any Halloween party. You can create totally immersive haunted party with some cotton, burlap table cloths and any host of Halloween adornments like these inspirational DIY Halloween decorations. Regardless of your level of d├ęcor, having your haunted Disklavier playing front and center will wow your guests. With piano keys and pedals that appear to play themselves, it's the perfect haunted accessory and all you have to do is set it up.

Photo Booth 


With your guests all dolled up consider setting up a photo area for people to get snaps of their costumes as a souvenir for the party. You can set up a red carpet style entrance, rent photo booths online, or go with a DIY photo booth.

Music 


You can't show off your Disklavier without the perfect Halloween soundtrack. With Piano Radio you can stream Halloween music directly to your instrument. There’s no need to change CDs and the piano will appear to be playing itself! Your guests will never know that the haunting music is your Disklavier playing unless you tell them. Piano Radio subscribers can stream our haunted Halloween playlist on channel 05. Subscribe to Piano Radio for $19.99/month or $199.99/year and showcase your Disklavier throughout the holidays!

You can also purchase Yamaha MusicSoft's PianoSoft Plus "Haunted Halloween" collection for your Disklavier.

Setting Up Your Disklavier


Don't ruin the spooky Halloween atmosphere with connectivity issues or finding the right channel while your guests are present. Set up your Disklavier now and make sure your piano is tuned correctly so can enjoy it for your party. This handy guide has everything you need to set up your Disklavier. Learn how to connect to Piano Radio. If you’re having any problems you can call Customer Support at 1-866-430-2652 (English only) or email us through our customer service page.

Friday, October 2, 2015

How To Find The Yamaha Song Book

Many Yamaha keyboard owner’s manuals mention a free downloadable PDF songbook. This book is provided after registering your instrument on Yamaha.com.

If you are looking for that item, we put together a handy guide to download it.  

Yamaha Song Book
Step One: Click the book to the right or this link to visit Member.Yamaha.com.  This is the only place on the web to find the Yamaha Song Book for your specific instrument.  



Step Two: Make sure that you are NOT at your own country’s website.  For example, do not go to ca.yamaha.com or de.yamaha.com or usa.yamaha.com.  You can’t get the book from there.  The website address must begin with member dot Yamaha dot com.



Step Three: You should be at a screen similar to this


Click on “See My Products”, and yes, login is required.  If you have never registered your instrument here, click the “Register New Products” link.

Step Four: Enter your Product Categories and Model Names, along with your Product ID and your Serial Number. 

Step Five: Once that is entered, you will find a screen like this:



Congratulations!  Under Registered Product, look for the gray “Download” button for your instrument.  Your songbook will be located there.  
Download and save in a safe place on your computer. 

Bonus Step: Bookmark the https://member.yamaha.com website, or this blog post, in case you might need it again. 


Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions or concerns.