As a pianist and musician, I think it is imperative that we enhance our skills day by day. There is always room for improvement but at the same time I think it is also essential to use our skills to contribute to society. I thought of a way on how to use my piano expertise and at the same time help others in some way. Thus I joined as a volunteer pianist in the choir of our local church. I am very particular on the pianos I use and I tend to note the observations I made. The choir uses a Williams Rhapsody Console digital piano. I will be sharing the features and a personal review of my experience with this digital piano for the benefit of other aspiring pianists.
The Williams Rhapsody is a console digital piano. Basically, it is meant to emulate the action and feel of an acoustic piano. Since acoustic pianos are more expensive, larger and heavier it makes it difficult for consumers to buy this type of piano. Digital pianos are lighter and are relatively much more affordable than its acoustic counterparts. It digitally reproduces the sounds of the grand piano, strings, harpsichord etc. through rigorous sound sampling made by experts. The piano keys of a console digital piano are weighted. The tension felt by a player is similar to that of the acoustic piano keys. Other manufacturers such as Yamaha, offers a similar model to the Williams Rhapsody which is the YDP-142. Basically, the function is the same. What sets the models apart are the features each one offers.
The key features of the Williams Rhapsody console digital piano are the following:
• The Williams Rhapsody is comprised of 88 keys that are weighted and hammer action. When I started playing on the Rhapsody, I liked the feel of the keys. It might be a preference for some since some of my friends prefer the action of other brands. Although there are times that the keys make a clunky sound when I strike the keys harder. This could be due to the key hitting the padding found in between the key and the wood. I think the key action and feel could be good for beginners since they will get used to the weight of the keys and practice their transitioning from note to note.
• For the sounds, I think that it produces enough volume, clarity and voices for me to do my role as a choir pianist. The voices it offers are very basic. It has a total of 12 voices including the grand piano, organ, electric piano,strings, synths and more. The sounds do justice for the choir’s performances. I can layer voices such as the grand piano and string to have an added effect and texture. The ability to layer sounds is enhanced by the piano’s 64-note polyphony. I think the polyphony count is already substantial since the sound ouput is good.
• You can also add effects to the sounds made by the Rhapsody. The effects available are reverb, chorus and appregio. My favorites are the reverb and chorus because it further enhances our performances and the sound that bounces of the walls of the church is quite wonderful.
• Aesthetics wise,I like the whole look of the Rhapsody. It comes in a dark brown frame and cabinet. I think this gives the Rhapsody a classic touch and adds charm to any room. What I would have wished for is a built-in keyboard cover. This is so that it would not collect that much dirt and dust when it is not used.
• The Rhapsody comes with 2 pedals. There is the sustain pedal and sostenuto pedal. I personally love that Williams included the sostenuto pedal other than the sustain pedal because it helps me sustain the notes I hold down only as oppposed to the sustain pedal where it affects all the notes played when the sustain pedal is pressed down. This helps me add more character and feel to the music because I can add emphasis to some specific notes only.
• For connectivity, it also has the basics such as MIDI, Line input and output, USB connectivity and a headphone jack. MIDI lets me interface with my computer so that I can edit music digitally and help me experiment with a new approach for the church choir. The Line in/out lets me use amplifiers for improved sound volume. I find the headphone jack really useful when I want to practice silently, so that I would not disturb those around me.
I think the Williams Rhapsody offers the basic features at an affordable price. It is useful for beginner and advanced students because if offers a similar feel and action of an acoustic piano. Schools and churches would find the Rhapsody useful as it is visually appealing to the eye due to its great aesthetics while being affordable. Although I think the sound quality could be better because other brands such as Yamaha or Casio are able to generate piano sounds with much more clarity and depth as that of a real piano while being at the same price range as the Rhapsody.
For more information about Williams Digital Pianos, click this link: http://digitalpianoreviewssite.com/williams/