Siri Plays a Grand Piano With Some Help From AirPlay and Yamaha

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001


    Yamaha used some technological trickery to enable Siri to play a concerto on a Yamaha Disklavier Grand Piano.

    By converting a MIDI songfile into an audio file that the iPhone can play and connecting the audio output of an Airport Express to the analog input of a MIDI-enabled Disklavier piano, the iPhone can "play" the MIDI file via AirPlay and control the multi-thousand dollar piano.

    As explained to The Loop's Jim Dalrymple:

    Article Link: Siri Plays a Grand Piano With Some Help From AirPlay and Yamaha
  2. macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2010
  3. macrumors 65816


    Jan 21, 2004
  4. macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2010
    I would have given up my favorite bike, bat and swimming rights to have one of those so my Mom would hear music coming from our living room while I was out a window playing with my friends.

    Now if only it would have worked for my weekly lesson with Miss Stanley, a true wicked witch, who would have wondered wtf i had been doing in my practice sessions at home.
  5. macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Can it play some LMFAO
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2005
    Lake George, NY
    So if I wanted to get my piano to play the Albany YEM...?
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2007
    Let's be clear here, it's playing a playlist to a device that has MIDI sheet music, *not* converting notes from an MP3 song to a harmonic piano scale. Don't be the idiot that throws out the stereo to make room for a disklaviar piano. :p
  8. macrumors newbie


    Mar 13, 2009
    New Jersey

    Hahaha, love this phish reference.... Would love to hear the vocal jam done by this piano...
  9. macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2006
    According to the linked article (The Loop) it actually is streaming a converted MIDI file that still has the MIDI information embedded in it.

    If that's correct, then I'd like to know how to convert a MIDI to an MP3 and keep the info such that the Yamaha can handle the signal properly to play the piano. Does anyone have instructions for that?
  10. macrumors regular

    Jan 17, 2006
    about 3 meters from here. *points*
  11. macrumors 68020


    Jun 22, 2006
    The thick of it
    I guess if you were in the market for a digital piano, this might make sense. But it's a lot cheaper and simpler to hook an iPhone up to a stereo and have Siri simply play digital audio tracks from your playlist. Now if Yamaha had a REAL piano hooked up to play MIDI via Siri, that would be something!
  12. macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2011
    It may be true...

    I dont´t find it difficult to believe for Siri to play the piano this way, but why did they had to produce the video in a matter that everyone could thinks its not true; some of the reasons I hated it were:

    1.- They used two different iPhones, one while explaining and another one at the close ups, you can see this by looking at the wallpaper at second 53, that's a different one than the iPhone shows just a second earlier.

    2.- At 1:56 you can see a change of day because the time at the iPhone's status bar goes from 8:47 to 5:26 or so.

    3.- The most important reason for doubting this video is why doesn't the AirPlay icon show at 1:56 when asking Siri to repeat the song, while in the two other close ups it did...
  13. Contributing Editor


    Jun 2, 2011
    Durango, CO
    They did have a real piano play MIDI via Siri. It's not a digital piano.
  14. macrumors member

    Dec 20, 2008
    Lets just get this straight here guys,

    the MP3 is ****.
  15. macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2003
    That was a real piano playing MIDI. I own one (though I own the upright version). Believe me. It's real. Mine was $17,000. The one they're showing there is I believe in the $40-50K range (someone please correct me if I'm wrong). My piano tuner would definitely confirm that it's real ;)

    Now if I could just figure out what they mean by "Take a standard MIDI songfile and convert it to an audio file (while maintaining the MIDI data)." How the heck do you do that?
  16. macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2011
    Stupid computer. He said Rhapsody in Blue, not the United Airlines theme.
  17. macrumors 68020


    Jun 22, 2006
    The thick of it
    You're right; my bad. I thought they were talking about the Clavinova series. The Diskclavier is indeed a real piano. Wow.
  18. macrumors 68030


    Aug 10, 2010
    macrumors apparently
  19. macrumors 65816


    Sep 7, 2004
    Salt Lake
    Did we miss an announcement?
  20. macrumors 68000


    Oct 28, 2006
    Moulton, TX
    Ok, I'm in a bit of a rush, so I can't do much research on this....

    But are they streaming the music from the iPhone? If so, is AirPlay the correct term to send it from the iPhone/Mac to an Apple Express? I thought AirPlay was just for streaming to an AppleTV or AirPlay enabled receiver.

    Either that, or maybe they're controlling an iTunes library on a Mac that's sending it to the Airport Express. I'm not sure Siri can control such a library, but that could be what's going on.
  21. macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    AirPlay was originally AirTunes, which was originally featured on the AirPort Express.
  22. macrumors newbie

    Dec 21, 2011
    Something else is going on behind the scenes

    Two comments on the original The Loop article:

    by Steve Hoge:
    "audio output of the Airport Express is then connected to the analog MIDI inputs of the Disklavier"

    Huh? What the heck is an "analog MIDI input"? This thing is doing pitch-detection and conversion to MIDI in real time?

    by Thirdwaver:
    "Take a standard MIDI songfile and convert it to an audio file (while maintaining the MIDI data)."

    How is this done?​

    Both of these questions need to be answered by Yamaha for anyone to understand exactly what is going on. I suspect this has a lot more to do with the SmartKEY for Disklavier invented by Craig Knudsen than SIRI.
  23. adbe, Dec 21, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011

    macrumors 6502a

    Jul 11, 2008
    Those old enough to remember tape loader computers from the 1980s, or Modems from the '90s will have some idea.

    MIDI is pretty simple, and very fault tolerant. It'll accept a decent amount of signal degradation before throwing up errors.

    Converting the MIDI to an analogue signal such as audio is simply a case of running the digital waveform through a DAC. Getting the digital back at the other end similarly requires only an ADC. The audio being streamed through AirPlay would be seem meaningless and unpleasant to us.

    The only trick to all of this is that most ADCs and DACs limit pretty hard between about 10-20Hz and 20-24KHz. MIDI is pretty low frequency, and might not not translate well through the D-A-D process. As such, the MIDI may be mixed with a carrier wave of some kind. The article doesn't provide enough detail to know. (Edit: this process is typically known as modulation/demodulation, from where modems take their name).

    Either way, this is cool, but nothing unprecedented
  24. macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2009
  25. macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2011
    Find an abortion clinic. ;)

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