Waterfall keys - what is that?

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
lfm
KVRAF
5087 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Post Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:52 am

Is that pure organ type of keys?

Is it like standard fully weighted keys for piano type of action, but for organ - strictly on/off?

I see "waterfall keys" mentioned quite a bit for stage pianos these days, so I wonder what it means.

Thanks.

ViktorW
KVRist
406 posts since 15 May, 2006

Post Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:59 am

It's definitely a very pompous name for what it is (the one at the bottom):

Image

edited: good explanation below.
Last edited by ViktorW on Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:02 am, edited 3 times in total.

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bluedad
something special
8466 posts since 16 Mar, 2002 from Birmingham, Alabama

Post Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:59 am

Waterfall have rounded back edges and drop straight down like on an organ and are good for palm slides.

Lode_Runner
KVRist
398 posts since 1 Jul, 2011

Post Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:02 am

Waterfall keys are the type of keys found on organs - they don't have that slightly overhanging lip at the front that you get on piano keys, but are instead rounded off. Makes it easier to do organ techniques likes palm smearing without bruising your hands.

Edit. In the time it took me to type that two others got in first. What they said.

lfm
KVRAF
5087 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Post Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:13 am

Excellent explanations, thank you all.

So if you slide you hand over a range of keys - hands don't get stuck as much, kind of?

I thought it had to do with feel, like hammer actions keys or something.

So you can still have weighted hammer action keys - not so well suited for organ - and be waterfall.

Lode_Runner
KVRist
398 posts since 1 Jul, 2011

Post Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:35 am

Yes, stops your hand getting stuck as much.

By organ I meant Hammond B3 style organ, I don't know what you'd get on a Cathedral style pipe organ.

I think that generally weighted keys are for piano players who want to get as close as possible to the authentic feel of a piano key pushing hammers onto strings, while any keyboard that features waterfall keys is probably trying to appeal to a player who wants to be able to play organ techniques. So while the two aren't mutually exclusive and could be theoretically found on the same key (one feature is about weight, the other about shape), I don't think they usually are. I think it'd be more common to find a semi-weighted + waterfall combination, which aims for versatility rather than authenticity.

xalama qo
KVRian
1211 posts since 7 Jun, 2007

Post Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:40 am

I suppose technically you can.
I don't know of any keybed manufacturers who make that combo, but you might find it as an option on a Studiologic/Fatar keybed.

Seems to me that hammer-action weighted keys are the opposite of what you'd want for playing organ techniques...so from a manufacturer's point of view they'd be thinking 'why'd you want to do that?' From a player's point of view you'd be thinking 'I want one keyboard suitable for every technique from rock Hammond to classical piano'. To which the manufacturer would reply, 'why would we opt to sell you one keyboard when we could make more money by selling you two?' Greed, the scurge of the universe. :D

You could also get your DIY savvy buddy to chamfer the front of the hammer action keys for you...if you're brave!
Good luck! :D

lfm
KVRAF
5087 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Post Sun Jul 21, 2013 5:07 am

xalama qo wrote: Seems to me that hammer-action weighted keys are the opposite of what you'd want for playing organ techniques...so from a manufacturer's point of view they'd be thinking 'why'd you want to do that?' From a player's point of view you'd be thinking 'I want one keyboard suitable for every technique from rock Hammond to classical piano'. To which the manufacturer would reply, 'why would we opt to sell you one keyboard when we could make more money by selling you two?' Greed, the scurge of the universe. :D
Yes, I'm thinking that stage pianos with organs would need to think which way to go - or intermediate somehow.

Clavia Nord series and even Hammond SK series claim waterfall keys, if I remember correctly.

But still piano feel would be essential, one would guess. So some weighted feel is needed. Playing piano with synth type of key is a drag.

I had a Kurzweil PC88 as keybed for computer work for a while, but found it really annoying with that hammer action fatar keybed, unless playing a piano sampler. So I got a cheaper Yamaha piano for piano work instead and ordinary midi keyboard for the rest.

electro
KVRAF
4533 posts since 6 May, 2002

Post Sun Jul 21, 2013 5:19 am

bluedad wrote:Waterfall have rounded back edges and drop straight down like on an organ and are good for palm slides.
I don't see why Semi-Weighted Synth Action controllers don't all have Waterfall Keys instead of regular keys. Waterfall is better in every way.
Intel Core2 Quad CPU + 4 GIG RAM

xalama qo
KVRian
1211 posts since 7 Jun, 2007

Post Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:08 am

The other oversight regarding waterfall keys is that if you do a palm slide or smear, the angle of impact with the keys is actually side-on, so there's still little benefit comfort-wise from just having a curved front end on the keys. Maybe just grin n bear it, grow some callouses like us guitarists do! :D


Disclaimer: I'm a guitarist, so what do i know about organ technique anyway? :hihi:

rockstar_not
KVRAF
4889 posts since 10 Aug, 2004 from Colorado Springs

Post Sun Jul 21, 2013 5:24 pm

xalama qo wrote:The other oversight regarding waterfall keys is that if you do a palm slide or smear, the angle of impact with the keys is actually side-on, so there's still little benefit comfort-wise from just having a curved front end on the keys.
Have you ever felt the difference? Waterfall keys make palm slides much easier than other style of keys. Plain and simple. No oversight here whatsoever. While the side edges of the keys are pretty much similar, your comment that the impact with the keys being side on demonstrates that you've never done a palm slide. They are done on the front edge of the keys. It's not the same as a glissando in piano playing. You actually hold you palm at about a 45 degree angle and slide on the front edge of the keys. Nearly impossible with non-waterfall keys.

rockstar_not
KVRAF
4889 posts since 10 Aug, 2004 from Colorado Springs

Post Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:19 pm

In this video you'll see glissandos and palm slides. At about 2:25-2:30, you'll see a couple of palm slides with the left hand (right hand did some glissandos right before that).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra4kYAYCdeI

xalama qo
KVRian
1211 posts since 7 Jun, 2007

Post Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:46 am

Quite true sir, I have never done a palm slide! Not even on guitar.
Ok, well, I have, but it wasn't musically gratifying, so i didn't do it again. :D
Thanks for the vid, I am now enlightened. :wink:

kvry train
KVRer
1 posts since 18 Mar, 2016

Re:

Post Sun Oct 23, 2016 9:55 pm

xalama qo wrote:'Seems to me that hammer-action weighted keys are the opposite of what you'd want for playing organ techniques...so from a manufacturer's point of view they'd be thinking 'why'd you want to do that?' From a player's point of view you'd be thinking 'I want one keyboard suitable for every technique from rock Hammond to classical piano'. To which the manufacturer would reply, 'why would we opt to sell you one keyboard when we could make more money by selling you two?'


Greed, the scurge of the universe. :D

'



and the name of the system you are describing is capitalism aka the scourge of the universe too ;)

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Vectorman
KVRian
1286 posts since 6 May, 2005 from Michigan, USA

Re: Waterfall keys - what is that?

Post Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:07 pm

Why yes, a system based on voluntary trade and the right to property (without which, no other human rights are possible) is a truly awful thing. So much worse than the alternatives. We're so much better off living by the whim of a state that owns the product of our effort and therefore our very lives, or just bashing each other over the head with clubs and taking what we want. :wink:

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