Most people who love classical music believe that it should only be played on an acoustic piano. This is probably because of the sounds produced as well as the forms for playing. However, newer and more innovative instruments like digital pianos are being embraced because of their authenticity in its tone and feel.
Whether you want to dive into the Bach or Beethoven, you need to have the right instrument. Digital pianos are an excellent choice for those who wish to perfect their skills in practice and performance. In the modern age, digital pianos are packed with excellent features like metronomes, LED display, volume control, and many more. They are also very portable and require little or no maintenance, as opposed to acoustic pianos.
Nonetheless, acoustic pianos are still considered the best pianos, and the question of whether they have been replaced by the digital pianos largely depends on the pianist. In this article, we will look at some of the things that you need to consider to find the best digital piano for your needs.
Table of Contents
- Factors That A Classical Pianist Should Consider Before Buying A Digital Piano
- The Debate on Digital Vs. Acoustic Models
- Similarities Between the Digital and Classical Pianos?
- Benefits of a Digital Piano for Classical Music
Factors That A Classical Pianist Should Consider Before Buying A Digital Piano
1) Sound and Voices
When shopping for a digital piano for your needs, it’s essential to focus on the quality of its sound and voice. The sound of a piano is generated by microprocessors that are formed on the pre-recorded sound samples of the acoustic piano. The best digital piano should produce a warm sound that resembles that of an acoustic piano.
Also, pay attention to the start and end (articulation and decay) of the sound. A digital piano that has good control over the articulation and delay will produce a sound that is less digital and more natural like that of an acoustic piano.
2) Complete Controls
As a classical player, you need to ensure that the digital piano you choose is loaded with excellent weighted action. Although this factor is always ignored, it is probably one of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing a digital piano. An even better choice would be one that doesn’t require any adjustments when changing from an acoustic model.
3) Number of Keys
The digital piano key count is another important consideration to keep in mind. A full-sized piano will consist of 88 keys. Nonetheless, there are digital pianos that feature a lower-key count of 76, 61, or even fewer keys, requiring the pianist to improvise for missing keys. While such pianos provide great mobility and require less storage room, most performers, especially beginners, prefer a professional digital piano with 88 keys.
4) Key Make
Touch sensitivity is the response of a piano when keys of different strengths are played. Pianos that are touch-sensitive offer better control and let you play more expressively. The degree for sensitivity for finger and touch speed varies from one model to another. For this reason, pianists need to match the touch sensitivity to the type of music and their playing style.
It is also important to note that digital pianos have different key weights. A digital piano that has weighted keys is a good option since the keys give an action that is found in an acoustic piano. A digital piano with semi-weighted keys provides less resistance when a key is used, while synth-style keys offer users with an action that resembles that of an organ. Other products come with a hammer-style key that makes use of actual hammers to provide action.
While it is important to find a digital piano that matches your budgetary needs, you still need to ensure that it offers all the features that you deem is important. This is particularly important for an advanced player since most cheap instruments don’t have the features needed for recording or practice sessions.
On the other hand, a digital piano that is on the expensive side comes with numerous sound and interface options. These instruments offer advantages like playing multiple sounds at once (multitimbrality), play notes in automatic succession (arpeggiator), and even allow computer connectivity to different connection points.
There are numerous brands of digital pianos in the market. So when looking for a digital piano, take a look at the brand and ensure that it is a reputable one. This way, you can be assured of the quality of the products so that you get the value for your money. Some of the most reputable piano brands in the market include:
The Debate on Digital Vs. Acoustic Models
There is a debate by classical musicians between the digital and acoustic pianos on which is more practical when it comes to providing enjoyment. The main issue is the sound produced by using a different piano.
With the acoustic piano, the hammers are used to strike a string every time a note is pushed. As a result, resonance is created from the string, and a vibrant sound is produced. Besides, most classical musicians have used this function to create different effects when composing music. Since digital pianos use electronics, they imitate this sound but don’t use the same responses and overtones.
Another difference between these two pianos is the touch sensitivity. Musicians that are classically trained tend to put too much focus on the mastery of touch. This is probably because the piano offers a different response when various arm and wrist weights are applied to the keys.
Although digital pianos have weighted keys, they offer a different response because of the touch sensitivity. Therefore, the pianist needs to take an entirely different approach when it comes to learning the mechanics of the classics. Whether you are using a digital or acoustic piano, matching the touch sensitivity produces alternative responses with classical music.
Similarities Between the Digital and Classical Pianos?
Despite having numerous differences, both the digital and classical pianos also share some similarities. The digital pianos are created to mimic the sounds and applications of the acoustic piano. Also, a piano that has 88 keys and is designed with similar applications as the acoustic piano is likely to have similarities with the classical piano in regards to the response system, sound, and the feel of keys.
With the upgrade of the digital piano, pianists can now get the full effect of classical music without needing the response system of the acoustic piano.
Benefits of a Digital Piano for Classical Music
If you are torn in between choosing an acoustic or digital piano, then you may want to consider your playing needs. For instance, an acoustic piano is an excellent choice if what you need is an instrument for home practice. Notwithstanding, an acoustic piano offers a lot of functions and compatibility to play your favorite music. However, if you need a piano that meets other requirements, it would be best to look at the advantages of a digital piano.
1) Flexibility of Playing
Unlike an acoustic piano, a digital piano offers flexibility that allows you to wheel it to where you plan to play your gigs. It is also very compatible and can easily fit in a room with limited space. This helps you to expand your playing capabilities, whether you are going out or in a room with limited space.
2) Reduces Maintenance Cost
An acoustic piano needs continuous maintenance with regards to tuning and ensuring that each string and hammer work successfully. As this piano ages, it requires you to upgrade it each year in order to produce good quality sound, and this can be costly. On the other hand, a digital piano requires little or no maintenance, making it a great choice to cut out maintenance costs.
3) Practice Features
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced player, you will appreciate the fact that a digital piano comes with features that let you practice to perfection. With record and playback features, you can easily perfect your practice by listening to your playing and making the necessary corrections. Also, other digital pianos come with integrated songs so you will quickly and easily learn the music.
4) Expands Your Library of Sounds
With a digital piano, you will have the opportunity to expand your library of sounds and playing capabilities. With just a switch of the button, you can shift between different piano sounds depending on what you want. You can also add an orchestra to your pieces and alter the sound at the same time.
5) Additional Built-in Functions
A digital piano comes with additional functions that can help make your playing experience exceptional. With a digital keyboard, you can get a metronome and other complementary effects that help you take your classical piece to another level.
When it comes to playing classical music, digital pianos are a great substitute for acoustic pianos. Today, most classical players have embraced the latest technology and are opting for professional digital pianos. Although acoustic and digital piano shares some similarities, the electronic component in digital pianos is what makes them stand out.
The pianos on our list are touch notch and resemble the features of acoustic pianos. Therefore, if you are a classically trained pianist, these models should be on top of your list.
Below is also a list of the bestselling digital pianos available in the market today.