A digital piano is a modern electronic musical instrument that
is intended to function as a standard piano, often adding other features.
It implements a standard piano keyboard and piano voice (often including
voices other than the standard pianoforte, and often emulating MIDI voices),
which are usually created by digital signal processing techniques, such as sampling.
They are designed to be functionally similar to real pianos: for
example, they include the standard pedals a real piano carries; as with
upright pianos some models do without a sostenuto pedal. They
have limitations (such as implementing harmonic tones).
They also cannot implement the touch of a real piano exactly. Manufacturers
continue to develop this technology, and for both tone and touch, quality
and cost are associated. For example, Yamaha top-of-the-line clavinovas
use the keyboard action and CD-quality samples from concert grand acoustic pianos.
As well as producing grand piano and upright piano sounds, many digital pianos
can generate emulations of honky-tonk pianos and earlier electric pianos such
as the Rhodes piano.
Some digital pianos can perform aural transposition using the same finger
positions - ie., the transposition is done transparently by the piano and
not the player, as well as implementing multiple voices and timbres, mimicking
different instrument with their resultant decay and sustain patterns. They often
have reverb features as well, which a standard piano cannot create
on its own and exists as an effect of the room it is played in.
Well-known manufacturers include Yamaha (creator of the
Clavinova) and Roland.
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