The digital piano, the Clavinova, is one of the most widely purchased and played of all the digital pianos today. Designed and manufactured by Yamaha, who also manufacture acoustic pianos, they were designed to produce the sound of the acoustic piano and therefore carry many traits that the acoustic piano has. For example, the Clavinova looks like a piano. It has 88 keys, both black and white, but one of the main advantages of the Clavinova compared to say an acoustic piano is that there is a volume control making the Clavinova one of the most suitable pianos for controlling the volume of sound that a piano can produce.
The earliest Clavinova piano was essentially a basic piano. It had limited sounds and responses however with the piano market of today and the demands of customer, the Clavinova can also provide a vast range of musical sounds and functions which were not available 20 or so years ago when the Clavinova was introduced to the market. Many of today’s Clavinova’s have the ability to save, record and load songs or melodies as well as the ability to connect to an external computer through a wireless network or USB device.
Essentially there are 2 ranges within the Clavinova which are available on the market. The CLP is tailored more for those who are looking for a basic piano. It will have a limited number of voices and is just a normal digital piano. The CVP will give the user a wider choice of voices and often provides rhythms and accompaniments allowing the performer to give a much detailed and precise performance if they are wanting to provide an ensemble performance.
The majority of Clavinova’s today feature a Graded Hammer technology which is supposed to give a much better and as-near-to-experience of playing an acoustic piano, which does seem to work. The principal of the Graded Hammer technology is that there is a system of small metal hammers built into the Clavinova which provides the weighted feeling felt when the keys are played. The metal hammers also allow for the variation in the timbre and volume of sound as the pressure of the key being played will be recognized by a digital pressure sensor inside the Clavinova. Furthermore, some of the more expensive Clavinova’s today add to the experience of playing an acoustic piano by being made using real wooden keys rather than plastic ones.
To create the sound heard, the early model Clavinova’s used FM synthesis whilst today’s models often use real instrument sounds which have been pre-recorded. The complex electronics found inside the Clavinova adds to the total overall sound experience. The sound is played by an internal synthesizer which contains the samples of the pre-recorded instruments.
The Clavinova is capable of playing just under 130 notes at the same time. 128 to be accurate. This process of a digital piano or synthesizer or keyboard being able to play a certain amount of notes at the same time (simultaneously) is known as Polyphony. It means that if the performer is playing a complex piece which contains many notes being played simultaneously, then the instrument can create the correct sound and accommodate the composer’s intention.
Clavinova Pianos are great for a most costly option. In fact, there are some Clavinova’s which are more expensive than the traditional acoustic pianos. Clavinova’s have come a long way in giving the performer what they wanted and helped to enhance and develop the digital piano market into a reputable market. As an instrument and what it offers is encouraging and they allow a person of any age the opportunity to start learning the piano from a basic level. Furthermore, the design of the Clavinova also makes it extremely attractive for those who are limited by space, performance volume and transportability.