7. The Piano As A Master Keyboard

More than anything the benefit of higher end stage pianos is that they allow, thanks to an integrated master keyboard function, for the distribution of sounds across the keyboard (e.g. bass on one end, piano on the other) in addition to acting as a control center for the entire keyboard set-up. One of the most important functions is the division of the keyboard into different zones (usually four for stage pianos), assignment of individual MIDI channels, and program/bank change commands to these zones as well as their independent transposition. These settings can usually be saved under ‘setup’ on the internal memory.

Clavia Nord Stage 2 EX 88

Why this is important can be seen with a simple example. Let’s say our set/up has a synthesizer module and a stage piano connected by MIDI.

For song A we need a string sound from the synthesizer and an e-piano sound from the stage piano. So we program the lower half of the keyboard to control the synth and the upper half to control the piano. In addition we assign a program-change-protocol so that the sounds are correct in each zone and we move the lower zone two octaves up because it needs to be a softer sound and not to heavy in bass.

For song B we need an acoustic piano sound from the stage piano and a synth bass from the synthesizer module, we can program this in and with the press of a button can program both devices at the same time. An enormous time saver allowing for problem free stage performances.

If you expect to use your stage piano as a master keyboard you should be thoroughly informed before purchasing, because models differ considerably in this respect.

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