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Ekeltronic keyboards

Post by Ludwig van Bilgewater on Sat Apr 11, 2009 1:41 am

Okay, I just discovered this board and I hope you experienced folks can forgive an ignorant newbie question. I am blessed with a low-end Casio 61-key lighted keyboard. I've learned a couple of tunes and would like to persue it but I'm confused why you piano players insist on doing things the hard way.

My question is about lighted keyboards - the kind that light up the keys to teach you the music. It seems like a good idea to me but it's obviously not the preferred method. As far as I can tell there's only a few low-end keyboards on the market with lighted keys.

If lighted keys are good why doesn't everybody use them? If lighted keys are not good...what's wrong with them? Why do I want to learn the notes indirectly from sheet music if I can save a step and learn directly from the keys? Why do it the hard way? Just curious.

And I've read that weighted keys better but I don't understand why. If I don't plan on playing a real acoustic piano do I still want weighted keys?

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Re: Ekeltronic keyboards

Post by Thomandy on Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:12 am

Well.. Ill just go through some things from scratch that I got answers to last year when I started.

First of all: Keyboards like the one you have WILL ruin your ability to hear notes in their correct pitch, hear colors ect. So you will in the long run loose some control over how you hear things since you are hearing to much data generated pitches. That one thing.

Also, Im not sure if its correct but I read a study that show this: Your fingertips will be ruined if you play a non weighted keyboard for several years! This is cause the sudden stop/bump you get when you push the keys. This is avoided by weighted keys since you are getting resistance in your touches" Then you will in the long run ruin your sensibility and ruin the nerves located in our fingers/tips by playing non-weighted keyboards!

Other than this, since you are Not planing on playing a real piano anytime soon, there isnt to many bad things about playing a small keyboard. But with only 61keys and no dynamic-possibilities and no weighted keys you will NEVER become a very good pianist Razz
But I guess thats not the goal?

A person that wants to go somewhere with piano and music should learn notes cause if you just break the barrier(took me one month to be fairly good a learning by notes) you will find it Very easy to pick up a sheet, and start learning. Its at least as easy or even easier than lighted keys/keyboards Smile After a while you can actually almost automatically play easy pieces by just putting a sheet in front of you and play it while reading.

So to summon up, and I have probably missed several things here, but still:

Want to achieve something in piano -> Weighted keys, dynamics and 88 = MUST HAVE

Just want to fool around with some sound -> No weighted keys, no dynamic and less than 88keys = OK

Thats at least my opinion based on the things I know Smile
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Re: Ekeltronic keyboards

Post by pianohama on Sat Apr 11, 2009 3:47 pm

Thomandy wrote:Well.. Ill just go through some things from scratch that I got answers to last year when I started.

First of all: Keyboards like the one you have WILL ruin your ability to hear notes in their correct pitch, hear colors ect. So you will in the long run loose some control over how you hear things since you are hearing to much data generated pitches. That one thing.


How exactly does he lose the abilty to hear pitches? Why does it matter if its data generated pitches or not?
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Re: Ekeltronic keyboards

Post by VictorCS on Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:54 pm

Keys that light up are not "bad" nor "good", it's just another way of learning a piece. Is it easier? I doubt. When you first learn to read a sheet, it takes a little bit of practice, then you'll actually be able to learn faster than looking at keys that light up.

What type of music do you play? Is it the modern pop music, 80's or 70's? Or is it classical you wanna play? If it's classical you'll need a 88 key keyboard sooner or later. If it's Maroon 5, Taylor swift or something like that 61 keys will be more than good enough.

It might be true what Thomandy says about the non-weighted, but if you're looking around, people play computer games, controllers that arent weighted. We got 3000 nerves in each finger tip, so even when loosing a couple I cant really see a problem. No gamers have complained yet, and gamers usually play several hours a day, and there are alot more of them then pianists. I noticed something Andrew said in his video, about non-weighted keys would actually hurt the fingers ( the skeleton etc ) because of the sudden stop. But today I ran on asphalt ( non-weighted ), back in the days they thought it would cause more damage to your legs than running in the woods ( weighted ). This is not the case today, it seems the body adjusts to it's environment. I believe this applies the whole body.

There is a bunch of old musicians out there that have used non-weighted for a long time ( or guitars, strings cutting into the flesh ^_^ ), so I see no reason why we cant have a huge research, to see the "big picture" result.

But with your casio you lack several parts to make the most out of your playing, dynamics and sustain plays a huge part in a piece, that you may want to be able to do. To get the most out of a piano, you would wanna have a sustain pedal, 88 keys that are weighted ( samples can be dynamic/keys touch sensitive even if they are non.weighted, but much harder to control ).

The piano sound in his casio is as data as the one in a more expensive, but the sample quality is much better in a expensive one, but that doesnt change the ability to hear the correct pitch, if that was true the piano had to be out of tune ^_^
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Re: Ekeltronic keyboards

Post by Ludwig van Bilgewater on Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:03 pm

Thanks for the feedback. Since I've only learned one and a half songs so far I can't say that I have an established music genre but I do like classical stuff. I've learned the keyboard's version of Pachelbel's Canon fairly well and about half of it's abbreviated version of Moonlight Sonata 1st mvt.

I've looked into a beautiful piece called Comptine d'un autre été but my hands are on the small side. I can stretch an octive easily enough but that piece has the left hand doing continual octive stretch and it's painful. Either I need to work on strength or that piece isn't for me.

I've been asking around about the guide light issue and nobody with any piano knowledge considers them the best way to learn. I was hoping for a way around learning sheet music. People say it's not so hard but the lazy part of me (99.9%) doesn't want to bother learning that crypic looking stuff.

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Re: Ekeltronic keyboards

Post by Thomandy on Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:55 pm

pianohama wrote:
Thomandy wrote:Well.. Ill just go through some things from scratch that I got answers to last year when I started.

First of all: Keyboards like the one you have WILL ruin your ability to hear notes in their correct pitch, hear colors ect. So you will in the long run loose some control over how you hear things since you are hearing to much data generated pitches. That one thing.


How exactly does he lose the abilty to hear pitches? Why does it matter if its data generated pitches or not?

Its only what I read!

But from what I understood; When the brain gets used to hear a ;ex: C and its not a "Real" sampled C, its generated via volume-controll or something like that, the brain mess up the whole thing! Its sort of like practicing with bad technique, then the body and fingers gets used to it, and ruins the technique forever!

Im not All into the reasons why ect, but its said that data generated pitches would contribute to ruining the "ear" and that the relative pitch ect would be weaker!! And that the potential to get perfect pitch would get weaker!
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Re: Ekeltronic keyboards

Post by Thomandy on Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:59 pm

VictorCS wrote:

It might be true what Thomandy says about the non-weighted, but if you're looking around, people play computer games, controllers that arent weighted. We got 3000 nerves in each finger tip, so even when loosing a couple I cant really see a problem. No gamers have complained yet...

Well if its true what I read, it cant be compared to gamers ect. Controllers might do the same damage, but the thing is that the sensibility to play with greater colors/dynamics would be less developed! Thats related to the piano keys, and not a controller Razz So a gamer would never notice... But maybe It got something to say if one ever gets to be a Pro or an Almost Pro, I dont know Razz

And its as I say only something I read, it might be true, it might be false and it might be Non important if one loose anything or not Smile
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Re: Ekeltronic keyboards

Post by itzikatz on Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:55 pm

The main issue with playing a keyboard instead of a piano is the ability of the player to control the sound quality and also the feel of the keyboard.

There is no harm or danger to you fingers while playing a keyboard. The weighted keyboards that are out there come to "mimic" the feeling of a piano. In a piano the hummers have different sizes as you progress from the left side of the piano (Bass) towards the right side. This is the way the piano is built. There are physical explanation to this but I will not go into that here. Therefore, when playing the piano there is a different "feel" of the keys and if your keyboard isn't "graded" of "weighted" type you would miss this feeling which might be strange for you the first time you try playing a piano after having played a keyboard for a while.

The sound produced by a keyboard is a result of recorded and digitized sounds stored in the keyboard's memory. There is very little you can do while playing to make the keyboard sound differently. Every time you hit a key on your keyboard, the same sound will be produced. Depending on your keyboard type, you might be able to control the volume of the sound by pressing the keys harder (or faster) but if you have a simple keyboard you do not have this feature and there is no dynamic control of the sound.

Lastly, when you press a key on a piano there are interferences between the notes you played and the other strings of the piano as well as with the entire structure of the piano. This would result in the tamber (color) of the sound. A well trained pianist may use this to make his music sound nicer by controlling it. There is no keyboard out there, not even the most expensive ones by Rolland and Yamaha that have this ability.

I suggest you refer to the following link for additional and more in depth information about the subjects I discussed briefly here.

http://www.know-your-keyboard-piano.com/index.html

There is nothing bad about playing a keyboard and getting accustomed to using both your hands for playing music. Actually it can be great fun. The only thing you need to ask yourself is where you want to be a year from now or few years from now and make your decisions based on the answers you provided.


Last edited by itzikatz on Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:47 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : spelling mistakes)

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Re: Ekeltronic keyboards

Post by Admin Andrew on Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:58 pm

Very well said Itzikatz! I agree with you 100%

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Re: Ekeltronic keyboards

Post by VictorCS on Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:15 pm

itzikatz wrote:when you press a key on a piano there are interferences between the not you played and the other strings of the piano as well as with the entire structure of the piano. This would result in the tamber (color) of the sound.

The newer digital piano's got sympathetically vibrating strings, aka duplex scale and other strings that gets affected by the string that's play'd. A digital piano will always be a digital piano, but technology getting better every day. Digital piano's will never replace a real piano, like the cd never replaced the vinyl. A digital can have a huge range of options, while the analog always will be limited to what it is. Both are nice for different uses, as a iPod is better than a vinyl player when trying to make it portable ^_^
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Piano vs. Keyboard

Post by itzikatz on Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:23 am

Thank you for sharing this information with me, VictorCS, I wasn't aware of that.


As I wrote in my message, there is nothing bad in playing a keyboard and it can be a lot of fun. It all depends on what one wants to achieve.

If one's goal is to become a classical Piano performaer, one has to train on producing good quality sound from the instrument. For example playing staccato and making it sound clearly different from a legatto is more complicated on a real piano than on a keyboard. Actually, and I don't know the answer, is there a way to genuinely distinguish between these two while playing a keyboard?

Beeing an Electronics Engineer I am familiar with the shortcoming of digitizing signals. Especially signals with a wide harmonic content. To make a keyboard sound like a real grand-piano and be able to record all the small details and variations in sound quality that are present in a piano, it would require a huge amount of memory, huge amount of sound tracks (channels) and a massive computing power to identify, based on the player's interaction with the keys, what the correct sound to produce is.

A keyboard is much more portable than a piano and is more readily accessible. it doesn't require frequent tuning or special storage conditions or a lot of apce in your house and is usually cheaper than a piano (although the high end ones may cost almost as a piano).

So there is no clear answer on which one is the right choice. both are equally right depending on what you want to do.

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