Having amassed billions of views and millions of followers, The Piano Guys (www.ThePianoGuys.com) have become one of the most successful instrumental music groups ever to grace the internet, while capturing the hearts of music fans as they tour worldwide.
The meteoric success of the “Guys” — pianist Jon Schmidt, cellist Steven Sharp Nelson, video producer Paul Anderson and music producer Al van der Beek — can be ascribed to their more than 60 breathtaking videos. In these videos, they perform their unique brand of classical, contemporary and rock and roll music in locales where a piano has never gone before, from atop the Great Wall of China to the edge of a 1,000-foot cliff in the Utah desert.
Recently, a dozen of The Piano Guys’ most popular viral videos moved into a new format: Now they can be experienced as simultaneous television and “live” piano performances in the homes of Disklavier owners around the globe.
These DisklavierTV performances put a bright spotlight on both the amazing talent of The Piano Guys and the Yamaha Disklavier — a high-tech reproducing piano that can transmit nuanced performance data (not only the actual keystrokes but also the subtle gradations of pedal movement) between similarly equipped instruments over the internet. In other words, as an artist performs, their precise note-for-note performance data is captured and then can be streamed to similarly equipped instruments anywhere in the world, where it is recreated exactly as the artist originally intended.
DisklavierTV adds yet another layer of technology, allowing a piano and ensemble performance to be streamed to and enjoyed on a television screen. So as fans of the Guys watch and hear Schmidt and Sharp Nelson trade piano and cello jabs on the big screen television, Schmidt’s actual performance is faithfully recreated, note-for-note and in perfect sync, on a connected Disklavier in the viewer’s home.
“This data is not a recording of the sound of the piano,” Anderson points out, “but rather it’s a precise digital map of Jon’s performance — what notes he played, how fast and hard the key was pressed, how he used the sustain pedal, etc. We recorded each and every one of Jon’s keystrokes and pedal movements to create this new DisklavierTV experience. It provides us an opportunity to let our fans experience our videos in a way they cannot on YouTube or Vimeo. Think of it as an “enhanced reality” experience: Jon’s fingers are essentially reaching out from the video and playing the piano sitting in front of you.”
To make the experience even more authentic, Van Der Beek meticulously removed Schmidt’s acoustic piano part from the original audio recordings, which was then replaced with Schmidt’s performance data to enable playback on other Disklavier pianos. Technical consultant Craig Knudsen also programmed several unique Disklavier “keyboard animations” — silent keyboard patterns that dance up and down the keyboard when Schmidt is not playing — to give the performances a visual impact never before experienced on a piano.
For more information about The Piano Guys, visit www.ThePianoGuys.com.
For more information about DisklavierTV, visit www.DisklavierTV.com.