Introducing Self-Playing Pianos

What are they?

When you first see a self-playing piano, it may seem a bit spooky to see the keys moving up and down by themselves! But sooner or later you will discover how fantastic they are in bringing a performance into an indoor space. In short, you will be listening to an acoustic piano where the hammers are physically hitting the strings as though a real person were playing it, when in fact an inbuilt system has been programmed to control and replicate every movement of each key!

Self-playing pianos are facinating to watch. If you are a budding composer or improviser looking for inspiration, then watching a self-playing piano can really boost your creativity! You can really appreciate great pieces of music and the way composers make best use of everything the piano has to offer. If you want to analyse your own musical inventions, you can can record yourself playing and watch the piano play back to you! You can even enjoy playing along to your favourite tracks.

A little bit of history

Self playing pianos were previously known as Player Pianos or Pianolas! Have you ever seen a fairground organ? Well player pianos were similar to fairground organs and worked using perforated paper and often metallic rolls! These were mostly operated through a bellow system using air. However, every note that was played sounded the same in terms of expression and there wasn't any definition of touch to replicate the velocity at which a key was hit. However, in more modern player pianos, electro magnetic technology can capture the exact force a pianist is using to hit each key. Electric recordings and the use of the Phonograph eventually brought sales of Pianolas to an end around 1930, and it will be no surprise to you that modern self playing pianos (or reproducing pianos) now incorporate digital systems into acoustic pianos. The system has developed from using magnetic tape and floppy disks to using MIDI!

Our self-playing pianos

At Broughton Pianos, we now stock Yamaha Disklavier pianos from the ENSPIRE SERIES and the Pianodisc system- the equivalent to what we might call, modern day player pianos! Disklavier pianos and Pianodisc systems have the potential to transfer performances into MIDI and play them back to you on the piano! The PianoDisc system can be installed onto any Grand and Upright piano! Yamaha Disklavier is partiuclarly useful for long distance learning and teaching students (if you are part of the Yamaha Disklavier Education Network) as you can conduct remote lessons by connecting two Disklaviers located almost anywhere in the world! Whatever you have in mind, a self-playing piano can fulfil many different purposes from teaching, accompanying and helping to compose music through to enterntainment in the hospitality sector and your own home!

Follow the links below to find out more:

PianoDisc Self-Playing Piano

Yamaha Disklavier Enspire Self-Playing Piano