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Self-Playing Piano

Self-playing piano, also known as a player piano, has been around for a few decades. The exciting thing is that only now the technology that truly makes it magic has developed to facilitate quality music production. Early player pianos sounded more like piano rolls – mechanical instruments from the turn of the 20th century that were essentially large-scale music boxes. 

Today’s player piano systems are marvels of computerized robotics that capture the most delicate details of the live performance and can reproduce it almost identically.

Two makers of premium pianos have their proprietary systems: Yamaha has Disklavier, and Steinway has Spirio. The other player piano systems are open-source and can be installed on any piano brand.

How does the self-playing piano work ?

PNOmation3

QRS PNOmation state-of-the-art system utilized Direct WiFi (StandAlone mode), making internet connection irrelevant (the piano essentially has its WiFi network) as well as Bluetooth connectivity to any device (any OS), which makes 3rd party apps seamlessly integrated with your piano – from YouTube and Finale to Garage Band. Imagine your grand piano having its computer brain. It also has full integration with Alexa and Apple Watch so that you can talk to your piano. Log on as if it is in StandAlone mode; great for Wi-Fi client setup, loss of internet, and any other access without an internet connection. In StandAlone mode, you can communicate with multiple players or pianos on a network, choose auto-updates, auto PNOcloud and PNOmation Cloud backups, and smart home integration. Works simultaneously with the Wi-Fi Direct mode.

Additional features include Bluetooth Audio In-stream content to the system with QRS’s secure AMI signal making it possible to watch what your piano plays in real-time on any device.

QRS PNOmation

PNOmation is designed to support the evolutions of its technology and therefore ensures that all subsequent upgrades to the system will have total integration capacity. This forward-thinking guarantees you will always have the latest and most advanced features in the exciting world of self-playing pianos.

BEST IN CLASS SOLENOIDS

PNOmation uses longer, fully encased solenoids, which deliver better sound at a soft dynamic. They are also corrosion-free and self-lubricating. The Controller User Interface is fully integrated into the grand piano’s body (or upright), so there is no visible ‘box’ hanging anywhere on the instrument.
The existing technology is seemingly simple – like all things genius. The solenoid is installed at the back of the key, and the infrared optical sensor determines the velocity and speed of the impact. It simply pushes up on the key end (conversely to the finger striking it downwards), activating the hammer that strikes the string. There is much more to it than just that. In today’s self-playing pianos, the supercomputer calculates the action’s nano-seconds to ensure the results are indistinguishable from the live performance.

player system solenoids

Benefits of Factory Installation

All quality player piano systems work best if factory installed. As the elaborate mechanism is integrated seamlessly into the acoustic instrument, it requires special skills and know-how of trained artisans to carry out this process. Each grand piano has different micro components, dimensions, and measurements, making aftermarket installation potentially less-than-optimal when delivering the best possible results.

piano action

What are the benefits of self-playing piano?

concerts in your home

Self-playing pianos have become exceedingly popular in recent years as wifi technology evolved to the current level of sophistication so that one can quickly and seamlessly activate the wonder of the self-playing piano. The vision of a baby grand beginning to play all by itself never gets old. You and your friends can share your musical favorites with a touch of any device, and the piano will perform for you. You can also ‘invite’ the titans of the piano world into your home and have a private performance by the likes of Horowitz, Rubinstein, and Chick Corea. The self-playing mechanism is integrated seamlessly and discreetly so that it will never interfere with playing piano in a traditional way. You will never even know that our grand piano has a self-playing component. The latest technological developments make playing pianos interactive and fun whether you are a beginner, an amateur, or a professional. For a composer, it opens up creative possibilities that otherwise would require a whole studio to be available.

self playing piano benefits

EXTENSIVE MUSIC LIBRARY

If you have music-loving friends, you are sure to have a treat. The extensive library of accompaniments will make your self-playing piano a single most fun place to be around – and many a song will be sung! It can also provide a remarkable educational tool for children who are taking piano lessons. For piano students, this new generation of self-playing features offers the opportunity to record yourself and listen to playback so you can self-correct or send it to your teacher for feedback. When you get a self-playing practice bundle, it also gives you an option of silent practicing, which is a tremendous benefit in urban environments wherein noise levels and neighbors might be an issue.

QRS app for smartphones

does not interfere with piano’s action

The magic is what happens next. Because of the mechanism’s location, you can also play the piano while it is playing itself! In other words – you can duet with ‘yourself’ or your piano. You can also record on top of the pre-recorded track making piano duets, two-piano concerti, and all sorts of wonderful chamber music come to live in your living room. And, of course, if you don’t play the instrument, you can enjoy the thousands of titles available on the PianoMation app. New tracks are continuously added, so you will never run out of exciting new music to listen to and marvel at. Self-playing piano is a focal point of your home – it will gather the family and friends and turn any party into a wonderland! Whether you play your baby grand piano or enjoy the music, it will transform your home into a fairytale.

playing piano

Are there different types of self-playing piano systems?

PianoMation offers 3 bundles

The Playback Bundle:

  • Includes all you need to have your grand piano play itself.
  • PNOmation Playback Engine, Controller, and Processor.
  • Speaker for background music.
  • WiFi interface for network integration or stand-alone mode.
  • Pin Light Port Extension (PLx) – Status, I/O Ports, USB, Headphones, Mic, or Laptop.
  • Voice Prompt feedback.
  • IR Remote.
  • SingAlong

Playback and Record Bundle:

  • Includes the Playback Bundle.
  • PNOscan sensors and integrations.
  • Record, Playback, Perform, Save and Practice.
  • PNOcloud auto record, auto save, and auto upload features.

Playback, Record, and Practice Bundle:

  • Includes the Playback & Record Bundle.
  • Key Stop Rail for practicing in silence.
  • Headphones.

FAQ:

What piano player system does Blüthner use?

Blüthner Lucid uses only the best of the player pianos evolution: the PNOmation (PianoMation) system.

What pianos can the self-playing systems be installed in?

PianoMation can be installed on large format uprights (49’ and 52’) and baby grand and grand pianos.

Where and how do I get the music files for my self-playing piano?

Blüther will pre-load your self-playing piano with the entire QRS music library, which includes thousands of titles of all varieties. You could immerse yourself in various genres and learn and play a great deal of piano repertory.

What do self-playing piano systems cost?

The cost of self-playing system installation is $13,500 on compatible Blüthner grand piano and baby grand piano models (also select uprights). Whatever self-playing bundle you decide on will include an iPad with all the necessary apps. Price does vary based on the type of bundle you choose and if you require further technological customization.

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