History of the Disklavier

Article Index

Disklavier PRO 2000
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Yamaha’s very first piano, in 2000, Yamaha presented the world with a concept piano that demonstrated remarkable, future possibilities. The piano was called the Disklavier PRO 2000 and was built as a C7 (7’ 6”) piano with a Disklavier PRO system installed. The case of the piano was based on the modern design called Neo.Disklavier PRO 2000 500x340

The Disklavier PRO was visually noteworthy for its clear, acrylic glass, split lid and built-in computer monitor. Indeed, the piano came with a Windows 98 PC mounted underneath the piano and connected to a touchscreen monitor that was positioned to the left of the clear music desk.

These instruments included video-synchronized performances, score-following software called Home Concert 2000 from TimeWarp Technologies, and an advanced generator that included a built-in performance mode.

Only 9 of these instruments were produced, and they were later sold for $333,000, making them Yamaha’s most expensive piano of all time.

Mark III
In 2002, Yamaha updated the Disklavier once again, introducing the Mark III standard Disklavier (available in the U1 upright and most models of grands) and the Mark III PRO, available in the C3 and larger instruments.

The Mark III control unit and interface was nearly identical to that of the Mark IIXG. In the case of the standard models, playback was improved. For the benefit of consumers who enjoyed listening with the volume turned very low, standard models were able to play more quietly than any previous standard model. The Silent system was also included on the standard models.

In the case of the Mark III PRO, the recording resolution of the pedals was doubled, enabling recording on a scale of 0-255.

The Mark III control unit included something new: a CD drive in addition to the traditional floppy drive. The purpose of the CD drive was not to record MIDI data but rather to play back audio recordings. In this context, three new features became available:

  1. Audio-sync Recording

    This feature made it possible to play along with an audio recording and record a piano part that would be automatically synchronized on subsequent playback.

  2. PianoSoft Plus Recordings

    The CD drive was capable of playing a new type of recording called PianoSoft Plus. PianoSoft Plus recordings contained normal instrumental and/or vocal audio on the left channel and MIDI data encrypted as audio on the right channel. During playback, the Disklavier would intelligently send the left-channel audio to both the left and right speakers and decode the right-channel audio for playback by the piano itself.

  3. Smart PianoSoft Recordings

    The Smart PianoSoft feature made it possible for artists to make piano recordings that enhanced existing audios CDs. A Smart PianoSoft Recording consists of two separate recordings: a commercial audio CD and a Disklavier MIDI recording on floppy disk. Both play in perfect sync when played by the Disklavier.