Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Electronic Musical Instruments Lower Hurdles

Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Electronic Musical Instruments Lower Hurdles

Article excerpt

Autumn is a good season to enjoy the arts. If you have decided it's time to try a new musical instrument which you have long dreamed of playing, an electronic one may be a good way to get started. Their prices are comparatively reasonable, they are easy to learn, and one may conveniently dial down the volume. Musical instrument manufacturers are consolidating efforts to improve music lesson programs for adults, with the aim of attracting people who wish to begin playing a musical instrument.

40 types of sounds

Roland Corp. last month released an electronic wind instrument, the Aerophone AE-10 (expected to retail for around 85,000 yen). The saxophone-shaped device works on AA cell batteries and can reproduce the sounds of 40 different musical instruments, such as the saxophone, clarinet, violin and shakuhachi bamboo flute.

At a recital in early September, saxophone player Masahiko Fujimoto said: "It's easy to play [the Aerophone] and you can produce sounds just like a recorder. I'd recommend it for not only saxophone players but also novice learners."

Normal saxophones are typically priced from 100,000 yen less than 300,000 yen. The Aerophone is comparatively more affordable.

Most electronic musical instruments generate synthetic sounds by sensing the motions of player's fingers via in-built sensors located, for example, under piano keyboards or saxophone keypads. Electronic instruments have evolved to their current state partly thanks to improved functions of the semiconductors used in sensors. A spokesperson for a major manufacturer said that these days instruments "approach acoustic products [in the sounds they generate], and can now satisfy the performance needs of even quality-oriented adult players."

Suited to apartment living

Electronic instruments are more affordable and more compact than their acoustic counterparts. Yamaha Corp.'s electronic piano Clavinova CLP-545WA (suggested retail price 232,200 yen) is nearly half the price of a standard upright piano. It is about 70 percent as tall and deep, and its weight is no more than 30 percent of that of an ordinary piano. These factors increase its appeal for use even in apartment blocks or other types of housing complex.

Novices are often concerned about the sounds of their practice bothering the neighbors. …

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