What instruments are good for ensemble playing?
The harpsichord has an
exquisitely delicate and beautiful sound.
It's great for ensemble playing, as long as
other solo instruments with high energy
levels do not smother it. The harpsichord is
best suited for soloing or for inclusion in
small ensemble groups. It especially fits in
well with the recorder, woodwind, and other
quiet instruments. It can also provide
effective accompaniment for the violin and
What kind music is the C-30 best used for?
During the 15th to 18th centuries, in the
era before the piano appeared, the harpsichord was the
pivotal keyboard instrument in Western music.
In much the same way as the piano is today, the harpsichord
was used back then as a solo instrument in ensembles and for
accompanying singing and various instruments. It is the
ideal instrument for playing music up to the baroque period
(until J.S. Bach). On it's five-octave FF-f''' range,
you can play anything written for the harpsichord, except
for the Scarlatti sonatas and one Haydn piece that go up to
I teach the piano. Is the C-30 of any use for piano
When playing various
pieces of music on the piano, it is very
important to understand which phrases were
used in which generation and on what kind of
instrument. Consequently, the touch and
sound produced while playing are liable to
change depending on who is playing.
For example, the actual instrument the
keyboard music of Bach or Handel was
composed for was the harpsichord. If piano
players have the opportunity to try and
achieve legato expression on a harpsichord
without using a pedal, or to vary the
expressive strength of phrase units, or add
trills and ornamentation, they will discover
expressive possibilities that would not
occur to them by practicing solely on the
Used in conjunction with a grand piano, the
C-30 will help students obtain a deeper
understanding of expression, the ultimate
goal of music
What kinds of temperament (traditional tuning) are
available, and how are they used?
The C-30 has the following five types of
temperament built in, and a button push is all that is
required to switch from one to another.
[Selection and use]
As with present-day pianos, each octave is divided into 12
tones. Free rein is given to transposition and, when used,
transposition does not alter the harmonics.
This well-balanced temperament enables use of all tones, and
the harmonies of each tone are distinct. Relatively easy to
use, this temperament was mainstream during Bach's lifetime.
Similar to Werckmeister, but the harmonies are even more
defined. Transposition is possible but quite difficult
(after Bach's time).
As Werckmeister, it is close to equal temperament and does
not restrict transposition. Vallotti is also often used with
Commonly used for European pipe organs. While it produces
beautiful thirds, the number of musical keys is limited.
This restricts transposition.
Is it hard to operate the C-30?
Sound selection, volume control, switching
between different tunings, and other basic functions have
their own dedicated control buttons and knobs on the
operation panel. All the controls are logical and easy to
understand. If you are unsure how to do something, a look at
the Quick Manual will soon get you back on track.
What is the USB port for?
It can be used for future internal
programming (firmware) upgrades and function expansion.
Is a music stand included?
A detachable music stand is included.
You can remove it when it is not required.
Can the tuning be changed? Can the C-30 be tuned to
baroque pitch (415 Hz)?
If you hold the Function button you can
adjust the pitch using the Tone knob.
Using the Function button and Tone knob together, you can
set up the C-30 to match the pitch of other instruments.
The function controls of the C-30 also enable one-touch
switching. Beside the semitone lower baroque pitch (415 Hz,
you can use Versailles pitch (392 Hz), which is nearly one
whole tone lower. To accompany other instruments tuned to
just about any other pitch, all you have to do is use the
settings in conjunction with the tuning function.
How powerful are the speakers and what kind of space can
The C-30 has two 13 W speakers.
The C-30 can produce a more powerful sound than an acoustic
harpsichord. The built-in speakers have enough output to
reach all the listeners in halls that seat several hundred
people. The previous C-80 model has been used in the
orchestra pit of an actual opera and has been judged to
perform well alongside an actual orchestra.
How does the C-30 differ from the C-80?
The C-30 is smaller and lighter than the
C-80. Taking up less space, it can easily be moved around.
The C-80 has just a single (Flemish-type) harpsichord on
board. In addition, it cannot provide an 8 + 8 + 4 string
The C-80 has a click-action keyboard with the color of the
sharp and natural keys reversed.
In the C-30, the keys have a longer distance to the pivot.
Other differences include the shape of the sharp keys, the
click sensation, and the weight of the keys. These and other
fine details have been improved in this newly developed
How much space does the C-30 need?
Taking up less space than an electric
piano, the C-30 will fit just about anywhere. It is not
heavy and can easily be moved around. The compact dimensions
are listed below.
External dimensions (including the stand)
1,100 (W) x 450 (D) x 1,170 (H) mm/ 43-5/16 (W) x 17-3/4 (D)
x 46-1/16 (H) inches
Width:1,100 (W) x 380 (D) x 830 (H) mm/ 43-5/16 (W) x 15 (D)
x 32-11/16 (H) inches
Weight (unit and stand)
25 kg (55 lbs 2 oz) unit + 13 kg (28 lbs 11 oz) stand = 38
kg (83 lbs 13 oz) in total
At 38 kg (83 lbs 13 oz), the weight of the unit and stand is
relatively light. No floor reinforcement is necessary. The
C-30 can be placed on a carpet and other floor coverings, or
even on tatami mats.
easily be placed upstairs in a child's room without the
worry of excessive sound.
How much electricity does it use?
The C-30 uses about 25 W of power. This is
almost insignificant, less than a dim 40 W light bulb
lighting a hall or stairway.
Is the C-30 likely to fall over if there is an
The design conforms to stability safety
standards. The cabinet will not fall over if tilted by up to
10�. However, along with other furniture and household
appliances, if there is a powerful earthquake, it may fall
The ideal solution, where possible, would be to use
commercially available stays or fixing devices to lock the
unit to the wall or floor.
Is the C-30 easily affected by humidity, dryness, and
As with fine furniture, the C-30 should
not be placed in direct sunlight.
As far as the sound is concerned, the pitch (tuning) and
playability are unaffected by heat or humidity. The sound of
the C-30 is much more dependable than the sound of acoustic
instruments. However, the fine wooden cabinet does require
the same care that you give to high-quality furniture. If
kept in extreme environments, such as exposed to direct
sunlight or in very damp or dry conditions, discoloration,
surface deformation, and even warping of the lid may occur.
Is tuning necessary?
Whereas guitars, violins, and other
acoustic instruments have to be tuned before playing, the
C-30 uses a digital sound source that provides perfect and
consistent pitch. Tuning is not necessary.
Is the C-30 made of wood?
The cabinet is made of wood.
Using an environmentally friendly process, the cabinet is
finished in high-quality, attractive veneer made from
Japanese wood. The finish is a luxurious mahogany grain.
What materials are the picture board and decorative panel
The picture board consists of a sheet
applied to a wooden panel. A large industrial printer
manufactured by Roland DG is used to print the sheet.
The decorative panel is made of transparent PET
(polyethylene teraphthalate) and is printed by same Roland
What do the Latin words on the picture board mean?
This Latin proverb says, "Music is a
companion to joy and a comfort in sorrow."
It is one of a number of mottos that are often found written
on the inside of the lids of Flemish harpsichords.
How is the C-30 different than harpsichord sounds on
While many electric pianos provide a
harpsichord sound, it is just one sound among many others,
and the piano keyboard does not do justice to the subtle
expressivity of the harpsichord. Neither can you select or
layer strings or change registration.
Compared to the C-30, the keyboard action is considerably
heavier, and the piano action does not do justice to the
harpsichord. Music played on the C-30 is significantly
closer to the authenticity of the genuine harpsichord sound,
feel, and expressiveness.
What sounds are onboard? What are the characteristics of
You can switch between six onboard
instruments on the C-30: French harpsichord, Flemish
harpsichord, fortepiano, dynamic harpsichord, positive
organ, and celesta.
[Characteristics of each type]
The French harpsichord has a gentle, fluid sound that
displays its charm particularly in solo playing.
The Flemish harpsichord has a crisp sound with enough
presence for ensemble playing.
The fortepiano is the same early piano sound heard by Mozart
The dynamic harpsichord lets you play the French harpsichord
with more dynamic expression and also allows the use of the
damper pedal. With this sound-set you can explore new
territories of harpsichord expression.
For these four instruments, the following four buttons
provide different sound coloration to chord and combination
8-foot pitch I: Known as the "back eight," the tone is
gentle and thick, and provides an underlying sound. Often
called "front eight," the bright and distinctive sound
results from plucking the string near the end of its
4-foot pitch: An octave above 8-foot, it is usually played
together with 8-foot.
Lute: When a buff of felt or similar material is applied to
8-foot strings, the sound resembles the lute, the ancestor
of the guitar.
To vary the positive organ sound, the following two buttons
are used for selecting the pipes. These can also be used
Organ I: Wooden pipes (lower flute, 8-foot)
Organ II: Metal pipes (principal, 8-foot plus 4-foot)
The organ button is also used for selecting celesta.
Celesta: The charming sounds are made by hammers hitting
What kind of harpsichord has been used as the source for
The harpsichord in the C-30 was sampled
from a French Blanchet instrument. The charm of its gentle,
fluent sound is particularly apparent in solo playing.
The other instrument, a fine Ruckers Flemish harpsichord, is
already familiar from the C-80. However, the onboard memory
has been expanded so you get a set of new high-quality
sounds that are responsive to playing technique. The new
sounds provide more vivid reality with richness in the
mid-range and a high-end that is crisp and penetrating, with
enough distinctiveness even for ensemble playing.
Are the keys of the C-30 responsive to different key
pressure? Does the tone and expression change according to how the keys are
In the development of the C-30 keyboard
and sound source, Roland's engineers gave the highest
priority to improving the way that touch affects sound and
musical expression. In particular, by implementing the
points described below, you can both subtly change the sound
depending on touch and let your playing sparkle with
articulation and nuance.
How hard you press the keys subtly affects the resulting
sound. A heavy touch produces a thick, strong sound, while a
lighter touch brings out brightness and beauty in the tone.
Forceful pressure on a key also changes the wooden-box sound
of the jack rail being struck by the jack, which holds the
plectrum. The mechanics of pressing a piano key and pressing
a harpsichord are different, and the difference in touch is
reflected in the way the sound is produced. When playing
multiple choirs of strings with the harpsichord, the timing
of the plucking of each string is slightly offset
(staggered) to prevent the need for extremely heavy
This staggering is reproduced, so that pressing the keys in
subtly different ways allows delicately nuanced changes in
the way sounds are produced. The slight lag that occurs
after the jack is raised is also reproduced. This enables a
more cohesive sound during trill and legato playing. When
the key is released, a distinctive noise is made when the
plectrum scrapes the string on its return. You can
immediately release the key or, before release, you can
pause and wait for the string to stop vibrating. This
decision affects the character of the noise that is
produced. Paying attention to even key release timing raises
expression to whole new level.
All these fine details of the harpsichord's action are
important features that have been realized to enable you to
play with authentic technique and expressive articulation.
The C-30 is a particularly effective means of developing a
subtle and accurate feel for the way the harpsichord is
Does the C-30's keyboard feel the same as an acoustic
Differences in the mechanism mean that the
feel is not exactly the same.
Keyboard features that strongly resemble the acoustic
� Key travel (stroke)
� Click feel (the sensation of strings being plucked)
� Initial weight (the resistance when a key is first pushed)
� Shape and size of the sharp (black) keys
Keyboard features that differ from the acoustic harpsichord:
� Octave pitch � same as the piano, wider range than
� Length of natural (white) keys � similar to piano and
organ, longer than most traditional harpsichords
� Change in key resistance when multiple strings are plucked
� with the C-30, key pressure remains the same and playing
is easy regardless of how many strings are played. For each
key, large acoustic harpsichords have multiple choirs of
strings. When more than one string is plucked, resistance
increases and playing feels heavier.
� When the key is pressed past the plucking position, the
click sensation lingers a little, owing to the response of
No standards were agreed upon for the keys and keyboards of
acoustic harpsichords. Different instruments may have keys
of different form and feel. Normally, once a player gets
used to a particular instrument, a different instrument
feels strange and it takes practice to get accustomed to the
special characteristics of the keyboard. To become an
assured harpsichord player, it is necessary to become
familiar with the peculiarities of a number of instruments.
The C-30 does not try to emulate the murkier aspects of the
harpsichord keyboard. Putting effort into getting an
authentic touch and genuine harpsichord expressiveness,
Roland designed an original keyboard especially for the
harpsichord. Rather than blindly copying the features that
make some harpsichords difficult to play, the designers
looked at things from the player's point of view and chose
to enable easier phrasing and articulation. Because of this,
if you come to the C-30 from the piano, you should find it
much easier to play than an acoustic harpsichord.
Conversely, once you get used to playing the C-30, you
should not expect to be able to sit at an acoustic
harpsichord and casually play with the same level of skill.
After all, the feel when strings are plucked, the shorter
length of the white keys, the different key width, the
increased resistance when a single key press plucks two
strings, and other characteristics will not be the same.
Compared with other keyboard instruments, such as piano,
organ, and electric keyboard, however, the C-30 lets you
practice the most important techniques of phrasing and
articulation with a keyboard that very closely approximates
the traditional feel of the harpsichord. After playing the
C-30, playing an acoustic harpsichord will also feel much
less strange than after practicing on one of the other
So, as a step on the road to playing an acoustic
harpsichord, practice on the C-30 is exceptionally
How large is the C-30 keyboard?
The dimensions of the C-30 keyboard are
White key pitch (edge-to-edge width of adjacent white keys):
23.6 mm/ 15/16 inches
White key size (visible part): width 22.0 mm/ 7/8 inches,
length 120 mm/ 4-3/4 inches
Black key size (visible part): width 11.2 mm/ 1/2 inches,
length 70 mm/ 2-13/16 inches
Acoustic harpsichords that are made today have narrow keys.
This is traced back to the 18th century remodeling (grand
ravalement) of esteemed Ruckers Flemish-style harpsichords,
which were made in the previous generation. To extend the
pitch range, more keys had to be added, and it was necessary
to reduce the width of each key. In one way, this was
beneficial: in the absence of a damper pedal, it is better
to keep the keys as narrow as possible to facilitate legato
playing, which is more effective if keys can be spanned and
held more easily. At the same time, narrow keys can make
playing harder for people with large hands or thick fingers.
Harpsichord makers were unable to agree on standard
dimensions. From generation to generation and from place to
place, workshops used different dimensions and color schemes
for keyboards. This gave the instruments a great deal of
To make it possible to enjoy playing the C-30 expressively
both as a harpsichord and as a piano, the keys have been
made the same width as conventional piano keys.
Why, even when the lid is down, are the keys visible from
Most harpsichords were made so the front
remained unenclosed and visible. The C-30 has a similarly
open design that reveals, even with the lid down, that it is
a musical instrument. Using a lid that completely enclosed
the top posed design problems, and it was found that a
simple, overhanging lid yielded a simple and elegant look.
On the C-30, why hasn't the color of the black and
white keys been reversed as in the previous C-50 and C-80 electric
Harpsichord keyboards were never
standardized. The colors and materials of the sharp keys
(ebony on the piano) and natural keys (ivory on the piano)
varied depending on the maker and instrument.
Using black for the natural keys was a very distinctive
feature of certain harpsichords, and is found in late-period
French harpsichords and on many Flemish instruments. Various
reasons have been given for this. At the time, women were
the primary players of harpsichords, and some say that a
dark background accentuated a woman's hands. Others say that
precious ebony wood was used to increase the luxuriousness
of the instruments. On the other hand, Italian harpsichords
almost always followed the light and dark pattern of the
piano. Even so, the materials and coloration of the keys of
different instruments was often very distinctive.
In the current development of the C-30, as a statement that
the sound and expressivity of the instrument are equal to
the piano, the color pattern of the keys has been made the
On the C-50 and C-80 the key colors were reversed, but the
keys did not have a great feel. This time, using the
conventional piano coloration, the black keys have also been
made matte and have an improved feel. The styling of the
instrument has also been redesigned in a virginal format. To
go with the simpler design, a simple, conventionally
patterned color layout was adopted.
How does the keyboard of the C-30 work?
A special harpsichord keyboard was
developed for the C-30.
The keys sensitively reproduce the feeling of plectrums
working against strings. The depth of travel (stroke) when
you press a key and the initial weight (resistance to being
pushed) are also faithfully reproduced. Moreover, great
attention has been paid of the sharp keys (black) � their
length and form is true to the harpsichord and this provides
improved playability, particularly of sharps.
Why does it look different than a usual harpsichord?
The form of the C-30 is borrowed from a
small, rectangular type of harpsichord known as the
"virginal." To reduce the size of the larger triangular
harpsichord, the virginal was designed with the strings
arranged parallel to the keyboard. This enabled a more
compact design that was suitable for personal and home use.
For the acoustic instrument, however, the size and design
restrictions made the instrument even quieter and reduced
the range and variety of sounds.
Designing the C-30, Roland gave priority to making the
instrument easy to move around and install. So the form of
the virginal was chosen. Even so, it provides two large
manuals for the full variety of harpsichord sounds
(registers) and a full 61-key range. If you want to play
more loudly, it has power to spare.
Is there any difference between the cembalo and the
These are different names for the same
type of instrument. The Germans have used "cembalo," the
name that originated in Italy. The English-speaking world
knows it by the name "harpsichord." Meanwhile, the French
know it as the "clavecin." These names all apply to keyboard
instruments that make sounds with a mechanism for plucking
strings when keys are pressed.
Roland uses the English name "digital harpsichord" on the
control panel, but the instructions and other literature use
whatever name is appropriate in the local language.
Why develop an electronic harpsichord now?
In terms of both form and sound, the
harpsichord is an exceptionally attractive instrument.
Acoustic harpsichords, however, are prohibitively expensive.
Owners also have to constantly adjust them to ensure that
they stay in tune. Because acoustic harpsichords require so
much care, only the most dedicated musicians have been able
to regularly experience the joy of playing the enchanting
instrument. Even then, there is another drawback: The
acoustic sound has limited dynamic range. There is no great
difference when notes are played quietly or loudly. Because
it is quieter than other modern instruments, the harpsichord
fell out of favor with mainstream music. Nowadays, it is
used almost exclusively for playing baroque and earlier
pieces. Most people rarely get a glimpse of a harpsichord or
get to hear its wonderful sound.
While preserving the sound, intact with all its charm,
Roland has overcome the drawbacks of the acoustic
harpsichord by creating the C-30, an instrument that can be
enjoyed as conveniently as an electric piano. The electric
harpsichord was made especially for people who relish a
different kind of musical challenge. Providing fascinatingly
authentic sound and creating a special atmosphere, the C-30
will let you find your way deep into the heart of music.
A classical instrument, yet utterly new: The C-30 provides
what today's discriminating music lovers have been waiting
What kind of musical instrument is the C-30?
The C-30 is an electronic version of the
harpsichord, which has given pre-classical music a new lease
on life as a more accessible musical instrument.
The harpsichord is also known as the "cembalo" in German and
Italian. Until the development of the piano in the late 18th
century, the harpsichord and the pipe organ shared honors as
the major keyboard instruments. In the baroque era, up to
the time of J.S. Bach, and even in the early years of
Mozart, the harpsichord was a mainstream instrument for
composing and performance.
Be aware that the C-30 is an electronic instrument and must
be plugged into an electrical outlet.
Just as with an electric piano, the C-30 can be played any
time once it is put in place, plugged in, and turned using
the On/Off button on the control panel. When you play, the
built-in speakers produce an authentic harpsichord sound.
Moreover, you can adjust the volume. This means that, better
than an acoustic harpsichord, you can play loud enough to
fill a large hall. Or, for practice at home, you can plug in
headphones. That way, only you can hear what you are
playing, and you won't disturb others.
Another advantage of using a digital instrument is that
pitch and tone remain stable. You can confidently move the
C-30 around or transport it, knowing that it will always
stay in tune. It is also not adversely affected by changes
in temperature and humidity. Because it needs no more care
than a piece of furniture or an electrical appliance, you
can enjoy playing the harpsichord at any time.
I only have a piano. Will I be able to play the C-30?
While the feel of the keyboard is
different than the piano, the musical notation for the keys
is the same.
Coming to the harpsichord from the piano, you have the great
benefit of being able to read music and to properly use both
hands. You can use these skills to start playing the
harpsichord. Soon, you will become aware that the
harpsichord demands a different touch to do justice to the
sound, and that the phrasing and playing techniques are
different from the piano. Once you start exploring this new
instrument, you will discover a deeper level of musical
satisfaction and creativity.
Practice on the C-30 will enable you to acquire the touch,
release timing, special legato techniques, and other skills
you need for playing the harpsichord.