Wednesday, February 17, 2016

All about Style Files

We’ve received a number of questions from visitors about Yamaha Style Files. What they are and how to use them.

“Styles” are built into many Yamaha arranger workstation keyboards. These Styles are controlled by a single finger or chords played with your left hand. When you play a chord on your Yamaha keyboard, an entire backing ensemble will join your performance based on that chord. Style Files allow you to take a whole band with you on the go or work on new compositions in a variety of musical genres. From rock to jazz, from classical to country, Style Files will make you sound like a pro!

 Built-in Styles on Yamaha keyboards

If you need a backing band, Style Files can provide the perfect ensemble for an original song, a cover, or an improvisation session. And, when you are ready for new Styles, browse the available Styles for download on the Yamaha MusicSoft website!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, perhaps a video is worth even more! Here is a short overview video of what Style Files are all about:

As always, please submit comments or questions below.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Play the Music from the Biggest Night in Music

The 58th GRAMMY awards are Monday, February 15, 2016 with nominees including Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, Courtney Barnett, Chris Stapleton, Wiz Khalifa, Ellie Goulding and many more!

This is guaranteed to be an amazing show with stellar musical performances from Adele, Tarylor Swift, Alabana Shakes, Travis Barker, James Bay, Justin Bieber, Jackson Brown, Diplo, Elli Goulding, Little Big Town, Sam Hunt and Carrie Underwood just to name a few.

With so much musical talent in one place you may find the show inspirational or daunting. If your musical creativity is stuck in a "Blank Space", Yamaha MusicSoft has just thing to put some "Uptown Funk" into your step to help you play music you "Really Love". Check out our curated GRAMMYs® songs with the best and brightest musicians from this year's nominees and former winners. Pick your current favorites, then tune in to the 58th GRAMMY awards to see how your own rendition stacks up to the originals.

Keep playing your music, and maybe next year it will be you on the GRAMMY stage. No matter how or what you play, we want to see how you use Yamaha MusicSoft products to make music. Share your music with us using #YamahaMusicSoft or tag us in your posts across our social media accounts.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Disklavier and the Piano Pedals

Take a look at the integral role the pedals play in piano performances 

Legendary pianist Arthur Rubinstein has been quoted as saying, “The more I play, the more convinced I am the pedal is the soul of the pianoforte!” No doubt he was speaking about the piano’s damper pedal, also known as the sustain or right pedal, but to some extent his comment is applicable to the una corda, or left pedal.

In the early days of electronic keyboard instruments it was typical for the sustain pedal to record just two values – on and off. Today however, sophisticated hybrid keyboard instruments, such as Yamaha’s AvantGrand, and digital pianos, such as Yamaha’s Clavinova, record a spectrum of incremental values that represent the full motion of the sustain pedal. Oddly, most reproducing acoustic pianos, except the Yamaha Disklavier, still have just two settings, on and off.

The importance of incremental pedal data 

Let’s take a look at how the sustain pedal is used in an actual performance and why incremental pedal data is so important. Below is a graphic representation of a pianist's performance of a work by Frédéric Chopin.

Note in this section the pianist moves the pedal swiftly between fully down and fully up. Despite the swiftness of those pedal movements the Disklavier recorded incremental pedal locations between fully up and fully down, and that incremental pedal data is used by the Disklavier to ensure smooth pedaling on playback.

Now let’s take a look at the sustain pedal data in a performance of a piece by Claude Debussy. In the sample below, notice how long the pianist kept the pedal in the half pedal range between fully up and fully down.

In this range of pedal motion the damper only slightly engaged the strings to a greater or lesser extent, thus only partially damping the notes. It would be impossible to reproduce the half pedaling accurately if they instrument could not record and playback incremental pedal data.

This incremental pedal data is another example of how the Disklavier’s superior technology records and plays back piano performances with all of the expression and nuance of the original performance.

Watch the video below and Pianist and Music Technologist George Litterest will take you through the pedal movements of a Disklavier.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

NoteStar – Free digital sheet music app!

Have you checked out the NoteStar app for the iPad? Now there is a fun, interactive and easier way to play keyboard or piano!

Experience playing and singing your favorite songs with a real band. NoteStar is Yamaha's digital sheet music application for the iPad that features hands-free, smooth-flowing, easy-to-read digital sheet music accompanied by realistic audio backing tracks with vocals.

Choose your NoteStar Experience!
NoteStar now offers 4 types of songs so you can choose the experience that's best for you. All NoteStar songs feature automatic, hands-free page turning in time with the music, so you can keep your hands on the keys where they belong.

Piano Solo Series
The songs in this series feature separate reference audio tracks for keyboard left and right hands. Each audio track can be independently muted for hands separate or hands together practice and performance.

Full Band Series
The songs in this series feature a realistic audio backing track and a separate keyboard reference audio track. Each audio track can be independently muted for practice or to provide a unique 'in the band' performance experience.

Full Band with Vocals Series
The songs in this series feature a professional audio backing track and separate keyboard reference and lead vocal audio tracks. Each of the aforementioned tracks can be independently muted for practice or to provide a unique in-the-band performance experience, with or without vocals.

Lesson Collections
This series combines classical songs and exercises from composers such as Czerny, Beyer and Hannon into a perfect lesson for the practicing pianist. Like Piano Solo songs, Lesson Collections feature reference audio tracks for keyboard left and right hands. Each audio track can be independently muted for hands separate or hands together performance.

Flexible, Digital Sheet Music!
NoteStar provides outstanding control of every digital sheet music title in the catalog!

  • Unique mixing tools allow you to listen to and play along with the band, or isolate the keyboard, vocal, and independent left and right hand keyboard parts for reference.(when available)

  • Adjust the tempo and transpose any song to make learning new songs easier.

  • Easily change the note size with a single touch. No zooming required.

  • Wirelessly turn pages using keyboard pedals on compatible Yamaha instruments.

A Diverse Catalog That Is Always Expanding!
NoteStar is fast, easy, and full of your favorite songs!

  • Chart-topping hits, all-time favorites, and classical piano solos specifically created for the keyboard.

  • Free 30-second previews of every song in the catalog.

  • Songs are only $1.99 - $3.99 USD.

With over 1,700 songs in the catalog over a variety of genres, you’re sure to find the perfect song to play!

Check out NoteStar today and let us know what you think.