piano

When we think about pianos and keyboards there is one thing that always comes to mind one way or the other, and that is size and a lack of portable capabilities.

When it comes to size, or even shape, this instruments are defnitely not the most comfortables to take with you anywhere.

That is why a great solution has come in the form of a portable keyboard, which is both very convenient and useful for people that are usually traveling or just moving instruments from one place to another very often, which is the undeniable fate of musicians.

Piano De Voyage had its debut at Namm in 2019 and received very good feedback. The idea behind this special keyboard is that it is a USB controller with all the qualities of a full sized keyboard but, with the useful fact that you can fold it and pack it wherever you want. It has a USB connection and sustain pedal socket. Right off the bat this is  an incredible idea for anyone who wants to keep playing without any concern of “where” and how.

Carry it Anywhere

Everyone that is devoted to their pianos and keyboards often finds dissapointment when having to play an instrument that isn’t theirs.

Everyone loves their own instruments and whit Piano de Voyage that is something that can be accomplished but is it reliable in terms of quality? Well it is, and it can give you the choice to bring up to 8 octaves in your backpack, which seems like a crazy idea.

Its creator Olivier, did not have to think about something too crazy to come up with the idea of the portable piano, it was just the desire to practice when being out on a vacation or a business trip.

Portable Quality

If you are worried about the quality of this new invention as a keyboard, there is no need to worry.

There is a great focus on quality when it comes to bringing a good sound, and overall experience with this portable instrument.

Before being a good portable keyboard, it has to be a good keyboard, and this one is indeed a very great choice, even if you had to take away its portable capabilities.

The components themselves come from China but the instrument is built in France, which could be a selling point for many people.

There is one aspect of this keyboard that is actually a very welcome thing, which is how little noisy the keys are.

It can be a little annoying when you’re playing a keyboard and you hear the keys making other sounds than the ones it should be making, this is very present when you decide to play with headphones, and you fail to keep your surroundings silent because of this.

Other than the key noise dampening, they feel great to play and it’s one of the most important aspects of a keyboard when you’re looking to buy.

Connectivity

Of course, it also has all that you would expect from an instrument these days, it can easily be connected through USB to your phone or your laptop.

This gives you access to different apps and DAWs to explore new sounds while traveling.

A Portable Future

Keep in mind that this is still a very new keyboard, and while it offers so much in its early stages, there is still so much to be done from this succesful start.

One of the things to be excited about is that while it works as a controller for now, the idea is that this year a new version will be released, and will feature a battery-powered sound.

It is certainly a step in the right direction when it comes to portability without dropping the level of quality.

Piano de Voyage is definitely an easier way to play anywhere anytime.

MTH Special Offer

Piano de Voyage offers four different options with different range of keys and prices.

25 keys pack: €419.00

49 keys pack: €629.00

73 keys pack: €839.00

97 keys pack: €1,049.00

And if you are interested, you can get 10% off as an MTH special offer.

Go to shop.pianodevoyage.com and don’t miss out on the coupon code: MTHRP10

Valid for orders shipping to only US or Canada and until January 31st 2021.

 

Read More

James Rhodes is an English pianist born in March 6, 1975 in London. He became very interested in music at a young age, more specifically piano, after listening to a recording of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 E flat major, Op. 73. He wanted to play piano and asked many times for piano lessons but never got any. Around the age of 14 he finally got the chance to study with Colin Stone and even got a scholarship to the Guidhall School of Music and Drama, but he decided not to take the opportunity.

It might seem like a strange thing to do, but he didn’t exactly have a normal childhood. At the age of 5 he was a victim of sexual abuse, which he wrote about in his autobiography.

This became a very hard struggle against “the demons from the past” which haunted him not only because it happened, but because he couldn’t say anything, which led him to self harm, and suicidal tendencies.

After rejecting the opportunity to study music, he took a sales and met his first wife, an American writer had a son and left music behind, however this didn’t work for him, and he said:

‘It was grim. It just wasn’t me. I was brought to my knees. I thought, “The only thing I want to do is music.”

After ten years he decided to go back to music, although it wasn’t easy. The next few months were hard, he practiced with Edoardo Strabbioli in order to get his skills polished but during that time he was in and out of mental institutions trying to hold on to life and although his marriage feel apart, he didn’t. After those dark days, he went out to make his first album and signed with Warner Bros.

He stopped the medications, and went on to play piano as one of the most passionate and unique pianists to ever express himself with the instrument.

Classical Music Rockstar

Rhodes

He is not super precise, nor does he care about the exact “form” of playing a specific piece, he is just himself, messy and chaotic but charismatic and so very human. In way he acts like a rockstar but not because he wants to play the part, but because that is who he is, and how life has treated him, but through music it feels right.

He also urges people that want to do something, to just do it, there are no excuses to hold back on being creative and making art if you feel the impulse to doing it. Who better to say this than someone who supressed his desire for music for 10 years and then suffered for it?

‘Don’t be a massive d**k,’ he says. ‘Don’t be one of those idiots who say, “I’ve got a book in me” and then don’t write it. Don’t be a f***ing idiot and complain that you have no time to devote to music. Anyone can find 20 minutes a day. It’s not that hard.’

James Rhodes

And he is right, all you need is to take a bit of time out of your day, and beautiful things can come out of it.

‘I mean who the f*** cares about sonata form in Beethoven’s Vienna? I don’t!’ he says. ‘I want to know that Beethoven was born into poverty and syphilis and domestic abuse, almost beaten to death twice by his drunk father before he was a teenager.’ As for Bach, he was a ‘gnarly, aggressive, obsessive lunatic’ who was arrested for keeping groupies in the organ loft. ‘Once you play a piece after that, it makes sense to people. It’s about feelings.’

James Rhodes

James Rhodes is living proof that music can save lives and shine a light on the darkest times, and just like he did, he wishes more people to experience how beautiful and intimate a musical experience can be.

‘Trying to do things for other people is the best possible thing. Kindness is the best cure for any mental condition there is.’

James Rhodes

Read More

Many times the topic of improvisation comes to mind in music, but it’s usually tied to genres like Jazz and Rock, however, improvisation happened long before these two were even a genre.

Musicians like Beethoven and Mozart would sometimes improvise and impress the audience with an unexpected yet natural turn in the performance.

John Mortensen’s Thoughts

John Mortensen, author of “The Pianist’s Guide to Historic Improvisation” says:

“Bach could improvise fugues not because he was unique, but because almost any properly trained keyboard player in his day could. It was built into their musical thinking from the very beginning of their training.”

theguardian.com

It’s not that classical music doesn’t allow for improvisation to happen, it’s that there has been a new tradition of following the original composition step by step, and if there is even the slightest deviation, whether by mistake or conscious improvisation, it’s wrong. This takes away a bit of the humanity of music which is to really feel what is being played.

“Those who attend collegiate music schools spend nearly all their time and effort on learning, perfecting and reciting masterpieces from the standard repertoire.”

theguardian.com

“There is something stultifying about a tradition where millions of pianists are all playing the same 100 compositions. The way we’ve developed musicians is falling apart, as it was designed for a very narrow outcome – preserving and perfecting the canonic repertoire

theguardian.com

What it Means Today

Classical

With such an accelerated evolution of technology, it should be no surprise that musicians are in the lookout for maintaining this strong sense of feeling and humanity, and classical music could be the perfect place to find it if the academic system allows it.

Pianist Steven Osborne had some thoughts to share on this topic:

“I largely agree. When I was at the RNCM, I wanted to put improvisation into one of my programmes. My teacher tried to stop me, saying, ‘They won’t take you seriously.’” I was stubborn. There was a sense that improvisation is not serious music.”

“Individuals are pushing improvisation because they recognise how it can deepen musicianship.”

theguardian.com

Of course in classical music, it’s very difficult to improvise but still there are two ways to incorporate improvisation.

First of all, most of the improvisation in classical music comes from the piano, which is the most flexible of instruments when it comes to breaking out of the original structure.

Now there is improvisation in composition, it is possible to just write down all the music and play it but it’s not the easiest thing to do, and neither does it give a lot of freedom. When you sit down and want to make something new, the best way to approach this is to just play, and see where it takes you, in another words, improvise and see how the pieces fall into place until you have enough to polish, write down and modify. However if there is no previous experience with playing an instrument without following any guide, then you’ll probably feel like a child trying to speak a new language for the first time.

The other context for improvisation is during a concert, which is obviously more difficult, as you have all the music written down, a strict method of how you must follow it and little margin for error, but it is possible, with enough practice to add these deviations and touches that alter the original piece and make it one of a kind.

This is the most important aspect of improvisation in classical music, this is a type of music that has so much emotion and feeling to it that sometimes it doesn’t make sense how cold it feels to learn about it sometimes. While it is complex, hard and not easy to master, it’s not about reproducing sounds, it’s about playing music and even more, creating.

Read More