How Many Keys On Full Sized Piano? – 2023

The piano is a large musical instrument that comprises a strong wooden case housing and a metal frame with keys. Keys on full sized piano will majorly be discussed in this article. This composition of the piano holds a bunch of metal strings and each of these strings comes with an associated padded hammer. These hammers in turn feature a corresponding key or lever.

A gentle push on the keys on full sized piano or the lever will activate the hammer which in turn strikes the string, to produce the sound. It is because of this striking action, the piano is considered to be a grand percussion instrument. In this article, we’ll see about the number of keys on full sized piano.

Though this instrument has strings and the vibration of its strings creates the sound, the keyboard is the most important and prominent feature of the keyboard. The keyboard of this piano comprises a row of white and black keys. A full-sized modern acoustic piano or digital piano comprises 88 specific keys, that comprise seven octaves and minors ranging from Ao to Cs. There are a total of 52 white keys on the piano. Each octave has seven white keys that are tuned as C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. There are also 36 black keys on the piano and each octave has five black keys.

Keys On a Full-Sized Piano

Keys on Full-Sized Piano

An acoustic stringed instrument called a piano uses the sound of wooden hammers striking the strings to create melodies. It is common knowledge that a full-sized piano has a keyboard with 88 keys. 108 keys make up the largest piano ever constructed; however, these are uncommon. There are 88 keys on a full-sized piano, 52 of these are white, and 36 of those are black indicated by the black keys, whereas natural music notes are represented by the white ones.

On extended pianos, a few of the black keys are marked to let the artist know that it is an expanded piano. The concept of an 88-key piano was first proposed by the piano maker Steinway. They did this in the 1880s, and a lot of other producers have subsequently imitated them. Seven octaves and three lower notes are available on an 88-key piano below the lowest C. This is best illustrated by the famous Grand Piano. The upright piano, a specialty piano, and several hybrid models are other sorts of pianos. Over the years, electronic versions have also been created. 

History of Keys on Full-Sized Piano

The harpsichord needed to be updated, therefore Bartolomeo Cristofori, an Italian musical instrument specialist from Padua, created a new keyboard instrument with a hammer mechanism around the year 1700. The Florentine court of the Grand Prince Ferdinando de Medici employed Cristofori in 1688 to take care of their harpsichords and eventually additional instruments. An “arpicimbalo” (lit., an instrument like a harpsichord) created by Cristofori is mentioned in a 1700 catalog of Medici instruments. The instrument included two keyboards, a four-octave range, and a brand-new hammer and damper mechanism (49 keys).

It was referred to in 1711 as a “gravicembalo col piano, e forte” by poet and journalist Scipione Maffei (harpsichord with quiet and loud). This is where the term “pianoforte” originated. As word of Cristofori’s astounding musical creation spread, more and more piano music was being written by composers. The instrument’s four-octave range, however, was constrained.

keys on full sized piano

For composers like Haydn and Mozart to produce more difficult music on a fuller keyboard, piano manufacturers created new pianos with extra keys. Pianos had up to seven octaves by the time Romantic artists like Chopin and Liszt began to write music in the middle of the 1800s, enabling them to create works with a much more expansive range, such as the perplexingly virtuoso “La Campanella.”

The 88 keys on full sized piano was developed by Steinway in the late 1880s. Since then, Steinway’s design has been the norm after imitation by other manufacturers. Seven octaves and three lower notes (B, B flat, and A) are added to an 88-key piano’s seven octaves. Each octave is made up of 7 white keys & five black keys, giving it a total of 52 white keys & 36 black keys (flats and sharps). 

The first piano with 88 keys

Before the piano was invented, composers wrote music for the harpsichord which had only 60 keys. And the music was limited to the five-octave range of the harpsichord. The first-ever piano was originally developed by Bartolomeo Cristofori in the year 1720s. These earliest pianos have only 49 keys and they also have a very different sound. These pianos sound more like a harpsichord. Over time the number of keys on full sized piano increased and composers demanded more from their instruments. 

Steinway was the first-ever piano manufacturer who came up with the idea of 88 piano keys on full sized piano in the year 1880. The 88-key pianos have 7 octaves and three lower notes. Several other manufacturers follow this suit. Though the grand acoustic pianos were first manufactured soon many versions were created. This includes the upright piano, some hybrid versions, and even the electronic versions of the pianos that were developed over the years. 

Most of the piano manufacturers stopped making pianos with only 88 keys. The music composers of modern times also write music that fits in the range of the 88-key model. Most piano makers also accept this limit, as anything beyond or within this limit is considered too low or high for the human ear, suits to keys on full sized piano aswell. 

Pianos with extra keys and a longer key bed

The standard number of keys on full sized piano key bed is 88 keys. Some piano manufacturers produce a piano with a greater number of keys. The greatest manufacturer of pianos, Imperial Bosendorfer manufactures pianos with nine additional bass keys and now the total number of keys in the piano is 97 keys, which includes eight additional octaves.

A more recent piano model has been manufactured by Stuart and Sons and this piano has 108 keys which comprise of full nine octaves starting from Co to Bs. To differentiate these additional keys, most of the manufacturers will offer them a reverse color or a hinged covering. The additional white keys on these pianos are generally colored black. Such a new feature prevents disorientation in the new pianists, who are not used to pianos with these additional keys. 

Yet another version of this piano is from Emanuel Moor Pianoforte which comprises two rows of keys that total about 164 keys. The lower keys on full sized piano in this manual comprise about 88 keys and the upper row manual of the piano’s key bed comprises 76 keys. Though these pianos have a large number of additional keys to this type of piano, both these key rows strike merely as a single set of strings.

But the keys on full sized piano, the upper manual produced tines that are generally an octave higher than their corresponding key at the lower manual. Thus the pianist playing on these keyboards allows the pianist to play two octaves in a single hand. Not many pianists are comfortable with this piano and thus it is a rare type of piano. There are only 60 examples of these pianos manufactured so far. 

Also Check out: Best Digital Pianos Under $500

Pianos with shorter keyboards and lesser keys on full sized piano

Several pianos have less than 88 keys in their manual. It is a fact that earlier versions of the piano had only 85 keys in total. These pianos had only fifty white keys and thirty-five black keys. The manuals of this keyboard have seven octaves that range from A0 to A7

The pianos that are different from the upright and the grand acoustic pianos have fewer keys. For instance, the manual of the mini piano comprises 73 keys. This piano has about six octaves that range from F1 to F7

Electric pianos with 88 or lower keybed

The electric piano has been commercially introduced in the year 1939, and they use the same mechanism that is found in the grand acoustic pianos. There are many types of electric pianos that are manufactured by legendary brands such as Kawai, Yamaha, Casio, etc. Apart from the 88- key bed, Yamaha also manufactures 73-key and 76-key models. Kawai also manufactures electric pianos with 75-keys or 76- keys piano models, along with the standard 88-keys electric pianos. Casio manufactures 64-key piano models along with 88-key upright piano models.

Keys on Electric, Electronic, and Digital Piano 

  • The least compact of the three, digital pianos typically offers the most authentic piano experience. There are probably likely 88 weighted keys on a digital piano. If you look closely enough, there are some instances with 76 or 73 keys, though not many. Additionally, there are some affordable models without weighted keys. The keys, which are often hammer-action or graded hammer-action, are where a true piano experience starts. When hammer-action keys are graded, they gradually get lighter from low to high notes, simulating the weight and response of genuine piano keys.
  • The weight is progressively heavier at the bottom end and lighter as you move up, mimicking the size of the hammers of an acoustic piano. In addition to being an instrument, an upright acoustic piano also doubles as furniture because of its wooden case. Seated in front of that cabinet creates an authentic piano experience with its pedals and all.
  • The phrase “digital piano” is most frequently used to describe a fixed home digital piano. It pertains to a digital piano with a stand and pedals or one that is housed in a console or cabinet. Although a digital piano typically has a limited number of voices, it will mostly focus on producing an accurate piano sound. The sound will emanate from the piano’s body, much as it would from a real piano, thanks to an integrated speaker system. 
  • A keyboard is in the middle of our trio of instruments. It combines the convenience of an electronic keyboard with the authenticity of a digital piano. Usually, a keyboard piano has 88 or 76 weighted keys. The fact that a keyboard piano is more frequently accessible in a range of sizes is one of the initial distinctions between this and a digital piano. Once more, everything begins with how the keys feel, which are often hammer-action or graded hammer-action.
  • The most crucial characteristics are the sensation and a true grand piano sound. A keyboard piano is for you if you don’t have enough room in your home for a piano to be a permanent part but yet want to play like a pro. You can practice with even 88 keys, then put it all away when you’re done each day. Compared to digital pianos, keyboard pianos typically have a little bit more adaptability, although they still don’t have as many sound options as many electronic keyboards. There is a variation in sound quality in addition to quantity. 
  • Electronic keyboards are typically affordable, user-friendly keyboards for beginners. Numerous sub-types occur within this category, as we’ve already mentioned, however they’re usually referred to by their more specialized names. An electronic keyboard typically has between 37 and 61 keys, the most frequent number is 61.
  • The biggest distinction between electronic keyboards and the other varieties we are reviewing is their size and weight. They are by far the most portable choice as a result of this distinction. The weight as well as the quantity of keys determines the outcome. In comparison to weighted hammer-action keys, non-weighted or semi-weighted keys on full sized piano, a normal electronic keyboard are exceedingly light. 

Check out: Best Upright Pianos Under $1000

Difference between white keys and black keys on full sized piano

  • White keys: A beginner pianist may frequently start out learning the white piano keys. This is not because they are more basic; rather, it is because our music system’s letters are arranged alphabetically on the white keys. The keys can be used to navigate any musical composition and create any striking chord. The C major scale is fully displayed on the white keys as well. The piano’s keys are frequently referred to as the easiest method to play, but many seasoned musicians will tell you that practicing in key signatures only with white keys can frequently be harder on the hands than playing in a key with both white and black keys because the latter fit your hand better.
  • Black keys: The white notes can’t overlap in a straight line without the black keys. This not only aids in identifying an A from a C but also identifies the octave range you are in. Black keys used to be made from ebony, heavy, dark wood with a lovely luster. White keys were traditionally fashioned of plated ivory manufactured from tusks (such as elephant tusks). Traditional pianos had black keys made of ebony, a hardwood. The keys on most modem keyboards are covered with sturdy plastic.

Piano Keys, That are Suitable for beginners –

The most common keyboard size is 61 keys. The piano’s full range is reduced by two octaves, but importantly, two-handed playing is still an option. Unless a pop song has some high passages, you would not notice any difference when playing it on a 61-key piano. Because of this, 61-key keyboards are a genuine sweet spot. These size keyboards are extremely prevalent on the market. This size could be your solution if you are looking for a model that gives you comfortable enough room to practice playing with two hands.

For new students, a 61-key keyboard might make a terrific model. In addition, most modern tunes may be played with just five octaves. There have not always been keyboards with 88 keys. They gained popularity in the late 1800s. This implies that musicians like Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven started out using pianos that only had 60 keys. So you’re in good company if you choose a 61-key piano. 

Bottom Line

Pianos that have a lower key bed such as 61 keys with five octaves or 76 keys, should be great for beginners. It helps them to get their notes right and it also helps them to master their piano technique. They are also affordable and budget-friendly. But as you progress in your skill level, you will surely require pianos with the standard 88-keys bed.

Pianos with greater than 100 keys are for professional musicians who wish to create diverse variations in their music compositions. Nevertheless, there are pianos for everyone, and every music journey and choosing the best fit piano is always a personal choice.

Conclusion on Keys on Full-Sized Piano

The piano is among the greatest instruments one can own, to sum up. The piano is frequently used as a fixed reference in contemporary music when writing tunes. It transitions from being used as a midi to being used as a melodic instrument on its own. The piano is often the starting point for constructing and learning chords in musical software. This demonstrates how much the piano is altered the music business as a whole. 

YAMAHA P71 88-Key Weighted Action Digital Piano – You can take into consideration Yamaha’s keyboard options because it provides a wide range of audio and musical instruments, including speakers, amplifiers, guitars, and keyboards, among many others. To ensure that you can enjoy its high-quality audio in any music track of your choice, this Yamaha keyboard uses a full 88-key layout.

Sadly, this keyboard only has 12-watt speakers, therefore you will need to utilize speakers with it. Fortunately, this Yamaha keyboard still offers external pedal support, USB connectivity, phone support, and many other capabilities despite having a relatively compact form factor. One of the best things about going with a mainstream brand like Yamaha is that you get a 3-year warranty for your peace of mind. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

What is speaker output? 

An 88-key weighted keyboard includes speakers inside, just like every other digital instrument one would use. And rather than choosing something with a speaker output of 10 watts or 20 watts, if one wants a terrific listening experience while playing their keyboard, choose something with a speaker output of 30 watts or 50 watts. 

Is there a way to identify the original ivory keys on full sized piano? 

– You should be able to see little lines where they are joined as they are composed of three individual parts rather than one whole piece.
– If you look closely, it has a pattern like a fingerprint.
– Ivory is porous, making it susceptible to contamination and yellowing. 

How do electric, electronic, and digital pianos differ from each other? 

Although digital pianos are the least adaptable and portable, they offer the most authentic piano experience. Although they are by far the most adaptable and portable, electronic keyboards do not provide a remotely realistic playing experience. Keyboard pianos are the best choice for performers since they offer some harmony between the other two options. 

What are the five black keys on full-sized piano called? 

The black keys symbolize sharps and flats (accidentals). They are situated between two white keys, like C and D, as you’ll notice. The black key between them is about a half-step away. 

Are 61 keys sufficient to learn piano? 

A 61-key piano has a five-octave range. Most easy piano pieces stay within such a four-octave range. These compact pianos may fit into even small areas and are frequently more affordable. 

Being in love with music, Larry started this website to help piano lovers get the most detailed and accurate information with his 5 Years of experience of working in a music store.

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