The piano has been around for more than seven hundred years, and the number of keys has stayed the same since the 1800s. How many keys are there on a piano? Is there a possibility of this number changing?
What made this number stable over the years? Unfortunately, all of these questions have been left unanswered in the minds of so many people, but you will be able to find out how many keys are on a piano by the end of this interesting article.
A standard acoustic piano has eighty-eight keys on it, and it became this way during the 1800s when the Steinway family designed the 88 key piano. Several pianos have been designed over the year, and they often come in various sizes and shapes.
Depending on the size of a piano, its keys lie between twenty-four to eight keys, while other grand pianos are designed to have about one hundred and eight keys. As a result, this type of piano is scarce.
How Many Keys Are There On A Piano
A piano comes with black and white keys, and people often question how many black and white keys a piano comes with.
The regular eight-key piano comes with thirty-six black keys, and below is a detail on the number of keys, number of black, and number of white keys on a piano.
Keys – White Keys – Black Keys
32 Keyboard – 19 – 13
36 Keyboard – 21 – 15
49 Keyboard – 29 – 20
54 Keyboard – 32 – 22
61 Keyboard – 36 – 25
76 Keyboard – 45 – 31
88 keyboard – 52 – 36
92 Keyboard – 54 – 38
97 Keyboard – 57 – 40
108 Keyboard – 63 – 45
How Many Octaves Are On A Piano
An octave contains twelve notes, so when you divide these notes by the total number of keys, you will have the number of octaves on a piano. For example, it means simply dividing 88/12 + 7.33.
Rounding off the number you have will give you 7, which is the number of octaves you have on a piano. You should follow this process to search for the number of octaves on a large or small piano.
Moving From 49 to 88 Keys
Bartolomeo Cristofori designed the first piano in 1720, and the first version of pianos ever made sound different and had forty-nine keys.
Several piano players started demanding an increase in the number of keys, but adding more keys came with many logistic challenges.
- It would require double strings when going down an octave, and this would cause an increase in the general size of the piano.
- Adding more string will cause more tension, and a piano’s current model comes with about eighteen tons of tension in it. The first wooden frame used in designing a piano will get damaged when faced with a huge ton of tension, and a piano will go out of tune when faced with so much tension. In addition, it will cause the constant tuning of the piano before playing.
Thickening piano strings was the first step towards combating the issue of low strings, and coiling the string with another chord was the only way to ensure there wasn’t a decrease in sound quality.
Switching a piano frame from wood to metal was the only way to deal with the tension in piano, and an increase in tension capabilities gave rise to the following;
- Addition of more keys to the piano -The increase in tension capability gave birth to the idea of increasing a piano’s key from 49 to 88 keys.
- Multiple strings for every key – The lowest note on a piano uses one string; middle notes use two strings, while higher notes use three strings. Adding more strings to higher notes paved the way for richer and louder tones.
- Increased tension in every string – Increased tension in a string causes a reduction in inharmonicity when a string resonates. Early piano models had 65 newtons of tension per string, but new piano models now have about 600 newtons of tension or more per string.
All of these factors we have pointed out are responsible for the warm tones you get from the piano, and these tones are warmer compared to tones generated by piano’s used during the Mozart time between 1750 to 1800.
Read This: Is Piano Easier Than Guitar? Here’s Our Opinion
How Many Keys Should You Learn On A Piano
All acoustic pianos come with 88 keys, but have you considered keyboards that come in smaller sizes? Will a 49 key piano be enough? How about a 66 key keyboard? It would help if you considered certain factors when deciding what piano to learn with, discussed below.
When pressed down, the keys should provide some resistance and produce a louder tone when pushed hard. It allows players to play expressively and provides the feeling that comes with playing an acoustic guitar.
You will be faced with internalized finger problems when playing narrow keys on a keyboard, but practicing with full-sized keys makes the learning process easier for all players.
Pianos are known to produce good sounds, and you should be willing to hear the sounds you play for a long time, even on lengthy practice sessions.
Should Have At Least 49 Keys
A keyboard with 49 keys is a good option as you can see that keyboards that do not have up to 49 keys tend to be very small. You can learn basic music and songs on any device, but a performer of intermediate classical music knows that a 60 keys piano will be ideal. Playing with a piano that has less than 49 keys causes the keyboard quality to decline.
Final Note – How Many Keys Are There On A Piano
Ever since Bartolomeo Cristofori designed the first piano, there have been several advancements to other pianos that have been designed.
The standard piano is designed to have 88 keys, and it will be interesting to see if other ideas could lead to something new. Maybe a piano with durable carbon fiber and an ultra-lightweight design.
No matter what new design of a piano might hit the market soon, so many people are thankful for the joy and happiness playing the piano has brought to the lives of many. Also, ensure you do not compromise on size when selecting a good piano to learn how to play with.