How to choose the correct format for your player-piano

This page helps with choosing the correct disc format for your piano.

In general, we offer music for three different types of “delivery systems.”  They are:

  1. Modern Player Pianos with moving keys (click here for a detailed explanation)
  2. Digital or “electronic” pianos that play “General Midi” or “Standard Midi” files (click here for a detailed explanation)
  3. Traditional Audio that you play in your home or car stereo or personal music player.

Number 3, Tradition Audio is pretty simple.  You know what that is.

The first two, however, can be a source of confusion.  So in order to clarify theexact typeof disc you need for your piano, here are further details.

To start, let’s talk aboutwhat you need if you have a moving key player piano. This usually means the following:

  • Your instrument is an acoustic grand (or possibly upright) piano.  It has strings.  And hammers.  And you should have it tuned regularly.  You know — a “real” piano.  There a few slight exceptions to this.  The Roland, Suzuki, and Kohler Digital piano companies have all made beautiful digital pianos that are totally electronic, but usually shaped like small grand pianos, and have moving keys.  They play just like the big acoustic grands.  If you have one of these Digital Player Pianos, keep reading here.  If you have one of those brands but they don’t have “moving keys” (i.e. the keys go up and down) go on to the General Midi area.
    • If you have an grand with a player system installed, it will be one of the following:
      • Yamaha Disklavier — The “Disklavier” player system by Yamaha is only available as a factory installed option on Yamaha Pianos.  VERY IMPORTANT:  You mayhave a Yamaha Piano with another brand of player system installed on it (such as PianoDisc, Pianomation or PianoForce) but you CANNOT have a “Disklavier” system installed on anything but a Yamaha Piano.
        • NOW — If you have a Yamaha Disklavier System, it can play recordings three different ways (technically more, but all you need to know here is three):
          • The ORIGINAL Disklavier System dates back to the 1980s, and uses proprietary, “legacy” floppy discs.  If you have this system, select “Yamaha Disklavier Legacy Floppy” from the format menu as you order each album.
          • Later Disklavier systems have updated drives (still floppies) that play “General Midi” files.  Your Disklavier player will have a large “GM” logo on the front somewhere showing you it plays General Midi files.  If you have this type, we suggest utilzing the “General Midi Floppy” from the “Format” menu.  It uses more modern, durable discs, and may utilize other orchestral “synthesizer” sounds found in your player unit such as bells or chimes or other instruments.
          • The most modern disc format for the Disklavier is the CD or compact disc.  Select “Yamaha Disklavier CD” from the Format menu.  This is the most versatile format for the Disklavier, synchronizing the piano playback with full digital audio such as singers, bands or orchestras.
          • Click here for a future list of Disklavier Model Numbers and format compatibilities
      • PianoDisc is a popular brand that dates back to the 1980s as well.  It is installed on any brand of acoustic piano.  Since it goes all the way back, it has utilized three different types of deliver as well:
        • Original “Legacy Floppy.”  If you have a system such as a PD128, “PianoDisc Legacy Floppy” from the format menu as you order each album.  These are specially formatted, older-style floppies.
        • General Midi Floppy.  The next generation of PianoDisc systems played General Midi Floppy Discs.  Check your player unit to see if it features the “GM” logo on its front panel.  If you have this type, we suggest utilzing the “General Midi Floppy” from the “Format” menu.  It uses more modern, durable discs, and may utilize other orchestral “synthesizer” sounds found in your player unit such as bells or chimes or other instruments.
          • The most modern disc format for the PianoDisc system is the CD or compact disc.  Select “PianoDisc CD” from the Format menu.  This is the most versatile format for the PianoDisc, synchronizing the piano playback with full digital audio such as singers, bands or orchestras.
          • Click here for a future list of PianoDisc Model Numbers and format compatibilities

For your further information, you may appreciate reading our article on the “types of recordings and delivery systems offered by player piano manufacturers” by clicking this link.

Our catalog is divided into three major types:

If you have a Moving Key player piano system, it is going to be branded with one of the following:

  • PianoDisc
  • Yamaha Disklavier
  • QRS Pianomation
  • PianoForce
  • Roland Digital Grand (with moving keys)
  • Suzuki Digital Grand (with moving keys)
  • Kohler Digital Grand (with moving keys)
  • Baldwin Concertmaster

If you have what is referred to as a Digital Piano, you will be looking for General Midi products.  Some popular brands are Roland, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kurzweil, Techniques, Korg, Casio and many more.

If you simply would like a copy of one of our albums in a standard audio CD format, this link is for you.  They do not interact with your piano at all, and just require a regular CD player.

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