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hpr2784 :: The Yamaha Disklavier

I talk about the Yamaha Disklavier DKC500RW that's in my office at work

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Hosted by Jon Kulp on 2019-04-04 is flagged as Explicit and is released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Music, Piano, Keyboard, Musical Instruments, Player Pianos, Recording Devices. 10.
The show is available on the Internet Archive at:

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Duration: 00:24:00


In this episode I talk about the Yamaha Disklavier DKC500RW that's in my office at work. This is a very high-tech player piano and one of the coolest pieces of music gear I've ever seen.

Photo Album (click image)

Yamaha Disklavier


  • Website showing how to determine which model disklavier you have: Yamahaden
  • DisklavierTM World: This is a privately operated, Public Service (non-profit) webpage. 10,781 piano-music files in 'FIL' (e-SEQ) & MIDI format & Software for the Yamaha Disklavier. PUBLIC-DOMAIN / 'Live' MIDI-Performances / FREE Sequences
  • Video: Jonathan Kulp, Three Easy Pieces for Piano Four-Hands: Video of premiere performance
  • Video: Disklavier in action


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Comment #1 posted on 2019-04-04 07:54:17 by tuturto

music to ears

Music to ears, literally. That disklavier must be really high tech as it can replicate playing so well. And watching the video of disklavier playing was really nice bonus. This reminded me of time when as a wee lad I made a trip to museum of mechanical music and they had completely mechanical piano that could play different dynamics, flourishes and what not.

Comment #2 posted on 2019-04-04 09:15:34 by Jan


Hello folks,

Diskette is the German word for floppy disk.

Klavier is the German word for piano.

Tastatur is the German word for keyboard (at least in terms of computers).

A pianos keyboard would be called Klaviatur.

So Disklavier can be split into Diskette and Klavier.

Thanks for the fine show :-)

Comment #3 posted on 2019-04-04 11:15:46 by Jon Kulp

Ok but it wasn't the "Well-Tempered Piano"

But remember, in 1722 Bach wrote Das Wohltemperierte Klavier, and at the time the "piano" as an instrument did not exist. It had to mean either keyboard or harphsichord or clavichord. Keyboard is most generic.

Comment #4 posted on 2019-04-05 14:08:48 by Gavtres

So cool!

I’m not by far music “literate” but the technology in this is so mesmerezing. I’m wondering it the tech exists for other types of instruments, i.e. wind, percussion.

Comment #5 posted on 2019-04-05 21:00:50 by Dave Morriss

What a wonderful device!

Hi Jon,

I loved this! It's a magnificent instrument. I never knew there was anything quite so sophisticated.

I watched the 'Music Machine Mondays' on the Wintergarten Youtube channel a couple of years ago. They visited the Speelklok Museum in Utrecht and looked at the marvels there (playlist at but this Disklavier is a significant evolution of these machines.

Listening to your show I was reminded of a thing I liked to listen to when I was a kid: 'Sparky's Magic Piano' ( It was often on the radio on Saturdays on a children's music programme. This was probably in the 1950's.

I was slightly puzzled by the pronunciation of "Disklavier", thinking it should be pronounced the French way. A bit of Googling proved me wrong - and you right of course! In my defence I used to live in an area of rural England with many villages named after Norman French families which were pronounced strangely (to my ears). My favourite was Little Hautbois, an easy cycle ride away, called by the locals 'Hobbis'! (

Comment #6 posted on 2019-04-06 05:24:14 by Guy

How far away are you?

You said you could listen over the internet no mater how many 100s of thousands of miles away you are. What moon/planet would that be? :)

Sorry, I could not resist.

It was an interesting show, thanks.

Comment #7 posted on 2019-04-06 13:40:13 by Jon Kulp

"or" not "of"

Whoops I thought I said hundreds or thousands, not hundreds *of* thousands. ^_^

Comment #8 posted on 2019-04-14 03:23:34 by Windigo

Library of Congress

First of all, this has been one of my favorite shows of all time. What a fascinating musical instrument, not to mention a cool piece of technology!

But then you drop this in nonchalantly:

"I was working at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, one Summer..."

Dude, it's possible that you've covered this elsewhere, but I'd listen to a whole show about how that happened. It's always great to hear from you!

Comment #9 posted on 2019-04-15 21:15:28 by Jon Kulp

A great summer job

Hi Windigo, thanks for the comment. Yes, I did work at the Library of Congress in the summer of 1993 as a "Junior Fellow," a paid internship that was quite prestigious. I don't know if they still have this or not. It was an amazing gig for a musicology nerd to get to work in the Music Division helping to process the recently acquired archives of Aaron Copland. Maybe this *is* worth an episode of its own!

Comment #10 posted on 2019-04-18 12:18:30 by Jon Kulp

Older near-perfect player pianos

Dave, sorry it took me so long to respond to your very thoughtful comment. I appreciate the link to the self-playing instruments video podcast. There are some really good ones in there. I'm especially impressed by the Self Playing Steinway Duo-Art Piano - recorded by Sergei Prokofiev. That one is nearly as faithful to the actual playback as the Yamaha Disklavier, but is limited by the length of the paper that is recorded on. It's an analog equivalent, incredibly accurate in its reproduction. There were earlier ones, too. That whole phenomenon would merit an entire series but I don't know that much about it haha!

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