A similar concept is a technology called Remote Lesson, which debuted in spring 2010 after years of development and testing. A student takes a lesson on one Disklavier while a teacher located far away teaches and critiques on a second Disklavier connected via the Internet, student and teacher communicating with each other in real time via videoconferencing. Initially, this feature will be made available only to selected universities and at additional cost. Details and timing regarding availability of this feature to individuals is still under discussion.
Yamaha maintains a large and growing library of music for the Disklavier, including piano solo, piano with recorded “live” accompaniment, piano with digital instrumental accompaniment, and PianoSmart arrangements. The system will also play Standard MIDI files types 0 and 1.
Yamaha also makes a line of Silent Pianos, formerly called MIDIPianos. Technically, these are not Disklaviers because they don’t use solenoids for playback; they’re included here because they are closely related products that have some similar features. Like the Disklaviers, Silent Pianos have sensors associated with the keys, hammers, and pedals that record their movements in MIDI format and output the information through a digital piano sound chip to headphones or speakers, or to a computer for editing. With the addition of Yamaha’s piano mute rail, the acoustic piano can be silenced and the instrument used as a digital piano with a real piano action. A new vertical silent system, called SG is now available. The SG system offers nine additional sounds, can record, and has USB capability to preserve recorded performances. See also the article on “Hybrid Pianos” in this issue for additional information.
Mike Kemper, a Los Angeles-based piano technician and expert on electronic player-piano systems, contributed to this article.