Vixxie found new love
Vixxie found new love
Vixxie has fallen in love.
His name is Privia. He is black.
Long, strong and muscled. He looks incredibly handsome from any viewing angle… sitting, lying, standing, on all fours, from beyond…. He is very responsive and sensual to the touch.
He is also from Japanese origin and has 88 keys with scaled hammer action.
Iniziare, Maestro !
So as it turned out, I wasn’t exactly a guitar prodigy (read here).
It’s not as if I didn’t enjoy it at all, nor as if I would never want to play it ever again. Because I will and I do. Often. But every time I’ve had my fingers rolling over the strings of my signorita (rrraaawrrr that sounds so sexy, doesn’t it?), I kind of figured that I missed the magic of gently stroking along the keys of a piano.
Prior to the purchase of my guitar (a few months ago), there’d been quite the tug-o-war between a new guitar or a keyboard. I settled for a guitar due to a large amount of different excuses:
Like: I didn’t have a the necessary funds to purchase a decent keyboard at the time and I wanted a new hobby now now now now now now. Now.
Like: I had an old keyboard eating dust in the spare room and I never bothered connecting it to the pc since I’ve moved 4 years ago. (more explanations as to “why??!!!??”, read below.)
Like: I wanted something completely new that would help me keep my mind of gaming and give me a break from studying + reduce the amount of hours spent online/staring at a screen.
Long story short – the heart wants what the heart wants. >.>
(yes, it still had the protection tape on the keys :))
And so I sold an old bike, a desk, an old keyboard, some playstation games, along with some other prullaria I didn’t remember I had and I treated myself to an early birthday present.
I honestly admit that I’ve hesitated for a long, long time. There has not been a day gone by that I didn’t want to play the piano again, but I feared that another keyboard would perhaps await the same faith as my old one did. The oubliette. And that it would be kind of embarrassing. And very hard to explain in logics.
It took a lot of hours of Google Fu, listening to youtube sampling of digital piano’s and talking down to my wallet, for me to make up my indecisive mind.
I finally ended up ordering a Casio Privia with stand and 3-pedal kit. That would have costed me quite a fair bit of money (4 digits, say no more), but I found an exceptionally good deal online, and ended up paying only half of that purchase price. Man… such a heavy weight fell off my shoulders when I was finally able to touch my new instrument as instantly fell head over heels for it.
There were a lot of things wrong with my old M-Audio keyboard. I basically purchased a cat in a bag when I acquired that keyboard. A big hairy Persian cat. It was advertised as a fully fledged stand-alone digital piano with all embellishments a level entry piano would ever need… but what I actually bought back then was a big piece of plastic that needed to be connected to a computer all the time and didn’t have built-in speakers. The keys were extremely hard to press (didn’t feel like an acoustic piano at all), the sound was poor (hardly sounded like a piano what so ever), the driver would continuously interfere with my gaming headset/microphone options and it pretty much took half an hour to get it to work properly whenever I wanted to play for a bit.
I won’t necessarily say that the M-Audio was junk per se, but…. yeah. It was a piece of junk.
In fact, I’m sure that I spent more hours defending my purchase to family/friends who frowned over the quality of it, than the hours I’ve actually played it. After all, no one wants to admit they’ve made a fail-purchase.
Now …. the Privia is a whole other story!!!!!!
Casio artfully attempts to replicate what a real acoustic grand piano feels like to play. And I know what it feels like, we have one at the office, 2 acoustic buffet piano’s and an organ. (It’s a long story that involves castles and antique collections, don’t ask).
The keys have what they call “ebony and ivory feel”. Basically, they are textured like the real thing and simulate the feel of a real piano instead of raw plastic that compares to tapping your fingers on a child’s toy. When you press the hammer-weighted keys, you feel the push back of the key as you would do on a grand piano, heavier for the lower octaves and much lighter on the higher octaves. They even register how hard you press them and the sound reacts accordingly (Tri-Sensor). It’s pretty genius and pressing them feels fantastic.
In fact, all the reviews I’ve read online, agree on the whole “grand” experience of playing the Privia. The only negative point I’ve read is the clicking sound of the keys… I wonder if they ever heard the thug sounds on an acoustic? It’s very prominent too when you get carried away into your music.
So it looks nice, it feels nice.. does it sound nice too? Yes sir, it does.
When I practice with headphones, I can hardly hear any difference between digital and acoustic, albeit without the resonance and echoing acoustics of the room a real grand would stand in. Fair enough, I’m not a professional musician of course. When I use the speakers (2 x 8W), it lacks a bit of bass but even so, it’s negligible on a low volume level (as I live in an appartment). Would it sound top notch in a big ballroom full of people? No, of course not. But it would sound fantastic with the help of an amplifier to add the depth and bass in this particular situation.
Moving on towards the typical digital piano embellishments: the other instruments. The differences between strings, bass, chords, vibraphones, organs, and bass are all very, very well-pronounced. This is thanks to Casio’s own audio engine, called “AiR” (Acoustic and intelligent Resonator) as a means of recreating the sounds of the real thing.
Again, Casio went all out with this keyboard, and I’m a happy kitten.
And Snuggles is a happy kitten too. She prefers the music of a piano over the sound of a guitar and now spends her afternoons casually napping on the bench next to me. We’re still power struggling to decide who gets to sit on the main bench.
I will teach her how to play, she will be the star of the remake on Disney’s Aristocats!
Those five long and boring years of solfège, you know, the rigorous “do re mi” method of learning the relation of notes to one another, are finally starting to pay off. As if reading two bars of notes isn’t hard enough, music composers like to add a lot of flats & sharps and the sheet music seems to always exist of a bar in sol-key, and one in a fa-key that I’m really – really – not comfortable with.
But no worries… I have no illusions whatsoever. I know by now that I’m not a natural with a prodigious talent. At the age Mozart finished writing his fifth symphony and composed pieces for most instruments known to man, I was learning the major scales. With difficulty. Also.. I have no sense of rhythm. None. And thanks to my midget hands, I will never be able to hit an octave in an elegant manner without some digital finger gymnastics that would make most teachers cringe. Fortunately, I’m an autodidact in most skills I acquired in life.
But along the way, whether you are 9 years old enduring solfège, or 16 years old playing saxophone in a brass-band with friends, or 32 trying to tame a wild Privia…. I’ve come to realize that the LOVE for music can carry you much further than any talent or a perfect musical ear. When you finally nail that piece and you completely indulge in your music, THAT’s when you feel that you are a real musician.