The escapement mechanism in a grand piano moves the hammers away from the strings quickly after they strike them, in order to prevent any interference with string vibration. This mechanism produces a slight clicking sensation when the keys are pressed gently.
The Clavinova keyboards feature an escapement mechanism that reproduces this sensation near the bottom of the key dip. They have been designed in such a way that the click is discernible only on the lightest keystrokes, similar to the keyboard of a grand piano. These keyboards have been adjusted to provide additional friction that balances key repetition and response without impeding performance.
The interaction and interplay of the hammers, dampers, and strings inside a grand piano respond to the subtlest nuances of the pianist’s touch, creating a limitless range of tonal expression. Touch refers to the pianist’s control, not only of intensity (softness/loudness) in playing and releasing the keys, but also of the speed and depth with which the keys are pressed. The Grand Expression Modeling introduced in the CLP-700 Series translates the widely varied input from the pianist’s fingers into the same limitless tonal variation of a grand piano.
This makes it possible to vary the output by playing the keys to different depths and with different speeds, even when using techniques such as trills or legato or emphasizing the melody over the accompaniment. Grand Expression Modeling excels at faithfully reproducing the output expected of these techniques in many well-known songs. In Debussy’s “Clair de Lune,” a loose touch creates the faint tone that makes the melody stand out more crisply. In Liszt’s “Un Sospiro,” the accompanying arpeggios accent the melody without overwhelming it, and varied expression of the melody gives it the same quality as vocals. In the last of the Chopin nocturnes, trills, legato, and other delicate techniques where fingers seem to float over the keys deliver the airy, smooth tonal expression required. Playing such pieces on a highly expressive piano helps the pianist learn various techniques and experience the same joy of expression as a painter, but through sound.
Clavinova pianos boast excellent playability and versatile functions, along with a refined, authentic design that blends a compact form with modern aesthetics in a manner befitting the instrument that sets the contemporary standard for pianos. At the heart of the Clavinova design concept is the way the player feels when they take their seat in front of a Clavinova piano. Unnecessary elements are removed from the player’s field of vision to create a convincingly natural space that feels just like sitting at an acoustic piano. This represents Yamaha’s consideration to players who practice on Clavinova and perform on grand pianos—they are able to take the stage free of tension or worry because everything feels normal, as it should. A Clavinova piano is a part of the player’s everyday life—contemporary accents and color variation are available to mesh with any interior design or lifestyle.
Clavinova grand piano sounds are recorded from several world-renowned concert grand pianos. One of them is the CFX, Yamaha’s top-flight concert grand piano. Pianists around the world are enamored with the impressive, dazzling, richly expressive sound of the CFX in concert halls. Another sampled concert grand is the Imperial, the flagship model of Bösendorfer, a time-honored Viennese piano brand with an ardent following. The Imperial is known for its abundance of color and natural, warm feeling. Yamaha faithfully reproduces the idiosyncrasies of these concert grand pianos by carefully recording the entire tonal range of each of the 88 keys, making minute adjustments to capture the most harmonious tones each piano has to offer.
One of the allures of the grand piano is the sympathetic resonance created by the vibration of the entire instrument. Clavinova pianos elaborately reproduce this rich sympathetic resonance through a groundbreaking technology called Virtual Resonance Modeling (VRM). VRM creates a richly varied sound by simulating the complex sympathetic tones created when the vibrations of the strings are propagated to the soundboard and other strings, corresponding to the timing and intensity of key playing and pedaling. CLP-700 Series pianos even replicate the sounds the dampers make when they are raised off the strings, in addition to the resonance of the duplex scaling, strings, soundboard, and case. Clavinova pianos allow you to enjoy the same momentary dynamics and deep sympathetic sounds that are produced by the entire body of a grand piano.
Binaural sampling is a method of sampling in which special microphones are placed on a mannequin’s head in the same positions as the pianist’s ears to capture piano sounds the way that they sound in reality.
We chose this method to create the ambience and full, natural resonance of acoustic pianos in Clavinova pianos. This makes pianists feel as though they are sitting at a grand piano even when they play with headphones on. The experience is so pleasant that they forget they are wearing headphones, no matter how long they continue to play.
On CLP-700 Series pianos, binaural sampling was used for the Bösendorfer Imperial as well as the Yamaha CFX. Yamaha achieves higher-definition binaural sound with a specially developed mannequin head and model ears used for the recording.
We also developed the Stereophonic Optimizer function to achieve the same effect for the piano effects. Stereophonic Optimizer technology replicates the natural diffusion of sound in headphones nearly as closely as binaural sampling for the piano voices other than the CFX and Imperial.
The CLP-775/745/735/765GP* are Yamaha’s first instruments to be equipped with the voices of the fortepiano, the predecessor to the modern piano. The sounds emitted by a fortepiano are simpler than those of a modern piano, and decay much more rapidly. Hearing the sounds of the instruments played when the likes of Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin were composing their songs should illuminate the original intent behind the notes on the page. Here is a novel opportunity to communicate with historical composers by playing these period instruments.
*These models are equipped with the voices of two fortepianos beloved by Mozart and Chopin.
The fortepianos shown in the picture are from the collections of at the Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments.
The Yamaha flagship 9’ CFX concert grand piano offers sparkling highs and a powerful resonant bass with a sound that projects to the furthest reaches of any concert hall. The CFX was played by the winner of the prestigious International Chopin Competition in 2010, and has since gained recognition as one of the greatest concert grands of modern times.
This feature reproduces the slight change in sound at the instant you remove your fingers from the keys. What’s more, different key-off sounds are produced for staccato and legato playing.
When the hammer of a grand piano strikes its string, the other strings will also resonate. The YDP-S34 can reproduce this effect using its String Resonance feature.
Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) 88-key piano keyboard provides a heavier touch in the low end and lighter touch in the high end, and is similar to an acoustic piano. Meanwhile, newly designed speakers can deliver a very powerful sound from low to high notes. The YDP-S34 can also recreate the characteristic acoustics of the grand piano sound in a more realistic fashion by utilising the following Yamaha technology.
When using headphones, the Stereophonic Optimizer lets players enjoy the dispersed sound heard when sitting in front of an acoustic piano. With the Stereophonic Optimizer, Voices sampled from acoustic pianos appear to come from the body of the instrument. This provides a comfortable, natural experience that removes the drawbacks of performing with headphones.
The speakers attached to the case exhibit a phenomenon in which, if nothing is done, the volume of the sound will increase due to the resonant frequency of the material. However, installing Acoustic Optimizers with the same resonant frequency within the body of the piano suppresses this resonance. This improvement of the sound is something that has only been possible thanks to Yamaha‘s thorough knowledge of the internal acoustic characteristics of musical instruments.
At low volumes, bass and treble used to be difficult to hear; however, YDP-S34 is equipped with Intelligent Acoustic Control (IAC) which adjusts the sound automatically, allowing players to enjoy balanced piano tones at any volume level.