Weekly AUDIO NEWS for February 5, 2003

New Device Re-Invents the Piano - A British musician has developed a device which can adapt standard acoustic pianos to play microtones quickly and easily, and threatens to make piano tuning defunct since players will be able to make user-friendly corrections to their tuning themselves - possibly even while they are playing. For 300 years now the piano has only had 88 keys with 88 notes tuned to our standard scale. And the development of the piano has remained frozen for the past century. The differing scales of Persian, Chinese, and Indian music, the varied tunings of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and the experimental microtonal scales developed by various 20th century composers such as Harry Partch (43 notes to the octave) have only been possible to perform with tedious re-tuning of the instrument. Geoff Smith is the inventor’s name, and he sees it as opening up new markets for the piano in Asian cultures where it has only been seen as an expensive piece of Western furniture. Leading pianists have already described the gadget as “incredible” and “fascinating,” but no details have been revealed of exactly how it works or what it will cost. So stay tuned...

Another Hi-FI Show in June - Home Entertainment 2003, put on by the four audio and home theater magazines owned by Primedia, is scheduled for June 5-8 at San Francisco’s Westin St. Francis hotel. Smaller and more exclusive than CES, the show is devoted strictly to high-end audio and video, and is expected to draw 15,000 visitors from the Bay Area and all over the world.

Keith Jarrett Wins Polar Music Prize - Highly-regard jazz pianist and classical performer Keith Jarrett has been awarded the 2003 Polar Music Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. The citation included praise of Jarrett’s ability to effortlessly cross boundaries in the world of music. The amount of the prize is one million Swedish crowns and it is one of the world’s most significant music awards. Past winners have included Bob Dylan, Ravi Shankar, Dizzy Gillespie, Mstislav Rostropovich and Isaac Stern.

Chinese Electronics Giant Enters U.S. Market - At last month’s CES the Shanghai-based SVA, the largest brand name electronics firm in China, announced they will be competing in North America with other major brands such as Sony and Philips. The first products offered include an impressive lineup of HDTVs, such as a 42-inch plasma screen and a DLP rear-projection HDTV. Price tags are notably cheaper than similar units from Sony, Panasonic and others, yet quality and styling are superior to other disparate brands that have come from Asia.


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