Saturday, September 20, 2008

What's the Difference Between a Regular Piano & an Electric Piano?

An electric piano (also known as an electronic piano) is an electronic, keyboard-based instrument made to sound like a piano; in fact, the instrument was created to provide musicians with a more portable version of the hefty upright or grand pianos. The sound of an electric piano, however, is not an exact replica. All versions of electric piano carry their own unique sound, which has made many of them extremely sought after (even though some types are extremely rare). An electric piano falls somewhere between an acoustic piano and an organ, but defies the sound properties of both. While it carries the same basic features as a piano -- full 88 key keyboard, various pedals and weighted keys -- the sound is more comparable to an organ than to any type of piano. An electric piano is actually a rudimentary, un-evolved version of the modern digital piano -- it was created with the same concepts of portability and function in mind -- but it's hardly seen in that light. Like many rudimentary, vintage things, the electric piano has only grown in popularity with its age; the electric piano, like early video game systems, is now a cherished and highly used piece of pop culture.

The term electric piano isn't always used in this specific a fashion, however. Often, electric piano describes the more modern digital pianos or synthesizers; it has similarities to both. Like a digital piano, an electric piano focuses on portability and piano-like qualities. It includes pedals and weighted keys, two very piano-like elements, and strives to create the same vibrant sound. And like a synthesizer, it is strikingly electronic and easily distinguishable from any type of acoustic instrument. But unlike either the digital piano or synthesizer, the electric piano produces a very rich, vivid sound. Audiophiles sometimes cite the electric piano as the best-sounding electronic instrument ever made; it maintains it's electronic qualities without sounding tinny or canned, like some modern electronic instruments. For that reason, it is often used where an electronic element doesn't need to be overwhelming; the electric piano makes its electronic point without compromising the richness of the ensemble.
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