Also called “reproducing pianos,” this class of instrument represents a modern update on the paper-roll player pianos you remember from old movies, and they’ve grown enormously in popularity over the last decade.
These are not digital instruments – they’re real, acoustic pianos with hammers and strings that can be played normally – but they can also “play themselves” using sophisticated electronic technology. Instead of punched paper, they take their cues from floppy disks, specially formatted CDs or internal memory systems. Several manufacturers offer vast libraries of pre-recorded titles for their systems—music in every genre from pop to the classics—recorded by some of the world’s top pianists. These sophisticated systems capture every nuance of the original performances and play them back with startling accuracy—providing something that’s actually much better than CD fidelity, because the performances are live.
Thanks to these new systems, many people who don’t play the piano are enjoying live piano music any time of the night or day. Whether they’re accompanying dinners for two or entertaining a houseful of partygoers, these high tech pianos take center stage. For people who do play the piano, these systems can be used to record their own piano performances, interface with computers, aid in music education, assist with composing and many other applications. In short, these modern marvels are not your grandfathers’ player pianos!
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