As the 40th anniversary of the classic film “Jaws” approaches, a unique, humorous take on the movie and its iconic theme song is growing in popularity on YouTube, thanks to a trio of creative artists who tapped into groundbreaking Yamaha piano technology.
“Jaws Theme—All Piano Version – 40th Anniversary Tribute” (http://4wrd.it/DISKLAVIERJAWS) highlights an artist’s keyboard mastery and the state-of-the-art capabilities of the Yamaha Disklavier piano. The clip brings the piano to life both musically and visually by adapting John Williams’ classic score for piano and showcasing the performance in a cinematic short featuring projection mapping in and on the piano using video clips from Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece about a Great White shark terrorizing the waters around an idyllic summer vacation spot.
The video is a collaboration between Yamaha Artist Tony DeSare, an acclaimed pianist, singer and composer; cinematographer Robbie Vicencio and Craig Knudsen, creative consultant.
“We wanted to come up with a fun way to mark this milestone anniversary of ‘Jaws,’ and what better way to honor the film than to use the instantly recognizable music signaling the shark’s approach in a fresh way,” DeSare explained. “The visual effects are all practical effects, meaning that no CGI was used and the Disklavier piano not only provided all of the music, but also served as the screen itself for the projected clips from the film. We think this fun little video shows that the Disklavier is a game-changer in piano technology, just as ‘Jaws’ was a game-changer for movies.”
Disklavier pianos very accurately record a piano performance, capturing every keystroke and pedal move, then play it back note-for-note, with all the sensitivity and nuance of the original performance.
DeSare used a Disklavier E3 to compose this version of the “Jaws” theme through a combination of methods—playing the keyboard, strumming the piano’s strings with his fingers, even running a pen along a string—to perfectly recreate the dramatic elements of the song that sparked fear in millions of moviegoers.
Then, by using the unique recording and playback features of the Disklavier, the music could be “played” back by the piano itself, and with DeSare out of the way, the film clips and animation could be projected onto the instrument for the clever results seen in the video.
Knudsen created the special “key animations” which allow the keys to move up and down in a very precise and controlled way but not actually strike a string. For instance, the keys are controlled in such a way as to capture a panning shot of the shark’s fin menacingly cutting through the water.
“Only the Yamaha Disklavier has the ability to move the keys and hammers in this fashion and hold them in place, which lent itself to some cool effects in this video. This is significant and amazing from a performance perspective, as any discerning pianist will tell you,” Knudsen said.
The under the keys “underwater” shot was obtained by using the translucent keys of another Yamaha piano, an EZ-220 Yamaha keyboard—which normally lights up note for note to guide students learning to play.
June 20th marks 40 years since “Jaws” first hit the big screen. The 1975 blockbuster, starring Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss, will have a limited release this summer in honor of the anniversary.
Also, hear Tony DeSare’s commercial for Jordan Kitt’s Music Here