How pianists in China now audition in Germany

Entrance to the Freiburg University of Music is by audition on a Yamaha disklavier in which the notes are transferred from Shanghai to a piano in Freiburg. This will have uses in tuition if the unoversity cannot open in September.

Watch/listen here.

 

share this

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on google
  • Thank goodness the fidelity is better than the old Welte-Mignon piano rolls — but how well do the disklaviers represent subtleties of expression? (Being ignorant of the capabilities of the technology, my question is genuine, not rhetorical.)

    • It is not so difficult to capture the pitches and the rhythmic nuance, but dynamic nuance is a problem. To measure loudness, the system has to measure the velocity with which the keys are depressed. The distance the key moves is small which makes such measurements difficult. The dynamic range is thus often limited and if there is some nuance, it is often overly uniform. On many MIDI pianos, one can set a “velocity curve” which in some cases can help a bit.

      I haven’t tested any MIDI pianos in a while, so it is possible they have improved, but based on the recordings on the web, that’s not my impression. Still, I think Freiburg’s effort is very interesting.

      • “It is not so difficult to capture the pitches and the rhythmic nuance, but dynamic nuance is a problem.”

        Well, pitch and rhythm is absolutely no problem. You only need to measure “pressed key” and time. The translation velocity to digital (0 to 127) was a problem, but not anymore.

        But I have no experience with these “Disklaviers”. My guess would be that they have to be calibrated to ensure the playback is true to the original (on the other Disklavier). And the pianist needs to hear the midi sound while playing, of course.

        One might think it would be easier to just live stream the audition, with some decent microphones in place.

        “Still, I think Freiburg‚Äôs effort is very interesting.”

        Very interesting, indeed.

      • “And the pianist needs to hear the midi sound while playing, of course.”

        Yeah, I need coffee. There’s no MIDI sound, of course. ūüėÄ

        Then you’d want exactly the same piano on both ends.

  • >