Yamaha Design “Synapses” AvantGrand

2009 / HYBRID PIANO

GOOD DESIGN AWARD


A hybrid piano that combines a grand piano action with advanced digital technology.

Reconstruction

A rediscovery of the true nature of the piano, combining the art of the craftsman with the very latest in digital technology. This design has its origins in Yamaha's quest for a next-generation grand piano.

Honest

The sound production structures of the N3 imitate the functional beauty of the frame and strings of a grand piano. Here you find speakers, functionally laid out, but with an exquisite finish reminiscent of a brass instrument.

Elegance

The curved top, so symbolic of the grand piano, also serves to transmit sound to the surrounding area. In the N3 this top faces slightly forward, adding clarity to the sound heard by the pianist, who can then concentrate on performing.

Minimal

We set out to create a minimalist instrument that refined the playability and elegance of the grand piano. The gentle curves of the resulting design hint at a hidden depth, while its compact form renders its surroundings even more spacious.

Intuitive

The control panel to select tones is compact yet easy to use. A pull-out mechanism allows it to be stored in the instrument body during performance, allowing the pianist to focus on performing.

Inspiring

The AvantGrand features a grand piano action, and benefits from our designers' careful investigation into everything from the vibration felt through the keys to the reflection of the pianist's fingers on the fallboard. Everything felt, everything seen by the pianist is the quintessential essence of the grand piano.


Masaharu Ono
Masaharu Ono
Designer
Yamaha Design Laboratory

Kao Nimura
Kao Nimura
Designer
Yamaha Design Laboratory

Heritage and the Future.

Known as the "king of pianos," the grand piano we see today has undergone several changes since its birth in the 1700s: the number of keys in its keyboard, the keyboard action, and even the use of a metal frame. The AvantGrand is a hybrid instrument that combines advanced digital technology with techniques honed by craftsmen over countless years of piano-making. This fusion has produced a new grand piano that takes innovation to a higher level - a grand piano for the 21st century.
With this new design, the critical factor lay in which parts of the instrument's grand piano heritage to retain, and which parts to change.
What not to change...
We wanted to retain everything about the instrument that tells you that you are playing a grand piano. Not just the feel of the keyboard, but the textures and visual cues, in fact, everything about the interface that conveys this sensation. Vibration traveling to a pianist through the keyboard action, the keys, and the instrument body... the reflections of the keys and the player's fingers, mirrored in the keyboard lid... we kept the large piano top too, wanting the pianist to retain that unique "ceremony" of opening the top of a grand piano before performing.
The things we changed...
We modified the S-shape of the grand piano body, retaining the elegance of its form while aiming for a compactness only possible with an electronic sound source. With the N2 in particular, we were able to offer the playability and refinement of a grand piano in an instrument with an extremely small footprint. Meanwhile, the design of the N3 exposes its four speakers, mounted under the piano top in a beautiful wood cabinet. The instrument also has a stunning finish, like the bell of a finely-crafted wind instrument. This seemingly novel approach was actually in line with our more traditional objective - to openly display the mechanisms used for creating sound and continue the tradition of functional beauty inherited from the original grand piano.

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