Grand Expression Modeling
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.
Newly sampled Yamaha CFX and Bösendorfer Imperial voices
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.
Virtual Resonance Modeling
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.
A fully immersive concert grand experience—even with headphones
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.
Period instrument voices open the door to the world of classical music
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.