Thursday, April 17, 2008

Four Hands, No Waiting

When I first glanced at David Pogue's column about a piano that connects to the Internet, I thought it sounded like a great way to embarrass myself in recital in front of millions rather than dozens.

Thankfully, the new Yamaha Disklavier Mark IV actually doesn't offer that option, as I'm not likely to be invited to play in the International Piano e-Competition anytime soon. It's a player piano, so its features enable its owner to download music easily or to use a streaming function so it will play automatically all day (a great option for the pseudo-swanky hotel lobbies that seem its natural home, especially if there's a "schmaltz" setting).

My favorite feature is the one that enables you to practice one hand while the piano plays the other. I'd also like an option that would play a piano duet with me, so I don't have to wait for my mom to visit to play Ravel and Fauré (though the program and I would be far less likely to have giggle fits).

I briefly dated a cultured man (and a fine pianist) who had a Disklavier for entertaining. It was definitely, and appropriately, a Hollywood fantasy to have live piano music in the background while enjoying Cognac by the fire. But for $42,000, I'd rather have half a Bosendorfer.

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