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MP3 Fredrick Hoffer - CD 7, Piano Suite Number Six

Quiet Jazz Piano

13 MP3 Songs
EASY LISTENING: Mature, JAZZ: Smooth Jazz


As you may have guessed, I don''t have a $100,000 Steinway Grand Piano in my apartment. As a matter of fact, if I did have one, me and the cats would have to go out and live on the street, and I think the cats would do better than I would out there. But a good piano, like a Steinway, has what one calls a "feel." By that, I believe one means that a good piano player can vary the sound the piano makes by the way he plays it. He can caress, or he can pound; and the sound varies from liquid to abrupt. One way is not necessarily better than another, it depends on the kind of music that one is playing. Rock is played differently than Classic, and Classical music is played differently from Impressionistic or Modern music.

What I am leading up to are the capabilities and limitations of synthesizer keyboards, since that is what I have to make music on. A long time ago, I noticed that the sounds of my Roland keyboard played back differently from the sounds I heard when I was playing it. It was a subtle difference, and I thought I was hearing things, but I was always bothered by the abruptness of the sounds. I now realize that it was due to the feel of that particular keyboard, or rather to the way the key presses are translated into the code that is used to record the notes. In general, synthesizer makers have a tendency to assume that a piano is a purely percussive instrument, and that the sound rises almost instantaneously to its peak before it begins to die out. This is fine for an instrument that has to cut through a lot of other noises in order to be heard at all, but it is not so great for a solo piano. I have a CD of Erik Satie''s music, played by Frank Glazer, and those piano sounds roll off like soft clouds. I also have a CD of Horowitz, and the sounds are in no way harsh, although they are crisper.

When I got my monster 88 key Kawai keyboard, I noticed that its sounds were more pleasing, but the music that I had done with my Roland still soundsd harsh to my ears even when played back through the Kawai sound system. Determined to get to the bottom of this, I studied the manual over and over. Most of the things I tried were ineffective, but I finally discovered that if you added a certain series of codes to the beginning of each song, you could actually change the way this Kawai sound system responded to that particular song. Of course each song, depending on its nature, requires a different touch which one has to determine by experimentation, so the code must be added to the beginning of each and every song; a small price to pay to make the music sound better.

What I found was that each model keyboard has its own distinctive touch, built in by its maker to appeal to a certain group of its users, and that this touch can only be modified to a certain limited extent. I also found that this is not necessarily determined by the price that you pay, and that it can vary greatly even between different models made by the same manufacturer.

So when you play this CD, listen to the quality of its touch. I would be glad to hear your comments.

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