The piano is one of the most popular musical instruments in the world. Its distinct sound and versatility have made it a staple of many different genres of music. When it comes to playing the piano, one of the most important factors to consider is the size of the keys. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how wide a piano key is.
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Keyboard Width vs. Key Width
Keyboard width refers to the overall width of a piano keyboard, which includes both the width of the keys and the spaces between them.
The standard modern piano keyboard has 88 keys, but some keyboards are wider or narrower. One example is the Bosendorfer Imperial grand piano, which has 97 keys instead of the standard 88 keys. On the other hand, many electric keyboards or digital pianos have less than 88 keys, in the range from 25 to 76 keys. Therefore, the keyboard widths are different.
In contrast, key width refers specifically to the width of the individual keys themselves. While there is a commonly used piano key width, some keyboards have smaller or larger keys.
Is There a Standard Width for Piano Keys?
The piano key size is not officially standardized because there is no committee creating and enforcing standards. In practice, there is very little variation, hence the standard width.
The standard width of a piano key is approximately 23mm (0.91 inches) for white keys and 13mm (0.51 inches) for black keys. This width has been in use since the 1880s and is based on a standardized keyboard layout. The distance between the centers of adjacent keys is known as the key spacing, which is approximately 16mm (0.63 inches).
This standard size of the keys is essential for ensuring consistency and ease of playing for pianists. Most pianists learn and practice on keyboards with the standard key width, and switching to a keyboard with different-sized keys can take some time to adjust to.
Examples of Pianos with Different Key Widths
While most pianos and keyboards have the standard key width, some pianos have keyboards with narrower or wider keys. An example is the Stuart & Sons piano, which has a unique key width of 19mm for the white keys and 15mm for the black keys. The Australian piano maker, Stuart & Sons, has been very known for making pianos with extended keyboards with 97 keys, 102 keys, and, most famously, 108 keys.
Electric Keyboards and Key Width
Electric keyboards are another popular option for piano players, and they come in a wide range of sizes and key widths. Some electric keyboards have keys that are narrower than the standard size, which makes the overall instrument more compact and portable. For example, the Yamaha PSS-A50 has keys that are 20mm wide. The Roland GO:KEYS has wider than standard keys at 25mm.
Other electric keyboards have keys that are wider than the standard size to provide a more responsive and nuanced playing experience. For example, the Korg SV-2 has keys that are 27mm wide, and the Nord Grand has keys that are 28.6mm wide.
In order to choose the right piano or keyboard for you, it is essential to consider the key width. Additionally, other components, such as the number of keys, touch sensitivity, the quality of the sound, and the overall design of the instrument, are also important.
The standard width for piano keys is approximately 23mm for white and 13mm for black keys. Although most pianists learn and practice on keyboards with the standard key width, some pianos have keyboards with narrower or wider keys. Moreover, electric keyboards come in a wide range of sizes and key widths.
When choosing a piano or keyboard, it’s essential to consider the key width as well as other characteristics to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable playing experience.