Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Speaking of Eye Candy

One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is the dollar value some folks attach to a spinet.

In my off-line life and travels, a question I'm frequentlyasked  is what "type" of piano I'd recommend someone buy. My advice is always to avoid the spinet. Better than the spinet, even better than a "baby" grand in my opinion, is the tried and proved "upright". I very much like the Pleyel uprights (but that's a topic for another day). It's doesn't even need to be a brand spanking new one. With a little care, love, and money even an upright destined for the landfill can be transformed into a wonderful instrument.

Not far behind them is can be found a digital solution. What I mean here is not the typical stand alone "digital piano", but rather a combination of a decent keyboard controller and top notch piano samples.

Some of the best piano samples are those by PMI and SampleTekk (which now distributes the PMI samples). Likely as not, you have already heard them in many film and CD productions. These are wonderfully recorded -note for note, velocity layer upon velocity layer- "replicas" of an actual piano.
In my opinion these are vastly superior to the canned piano sounds of most "digital pianos". So for those unable to buy a "real" piano, I am more than happy to recommend a sample solution. Samples open up other possibilities as well. There are excellent samples of fortepianos, harpsichords, and organs to tickle your fancy.

There is a fine recording of the Bach WTC using samples recorded by John Grant that's well worth checking out. You'll find it here.

Another interesting development are "vst" instruments for computer based keyboard musicans. No less than Steinway has given their nod of approval to the concept. See for example the Garritan "Steinway". You find more about it here.

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