If you are a newcomer to the music world, you might be confused about the difference between piano and keyboard. It’s not always obvious what properties they have in common, and the differences between the two.
Certain things are the same for either. For instance, knowing how to read piano notes is the same for both keyboard and piano. In this guide, we look at the distinct differences.
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How The Sound Is Generated
One keyboard and piano difference is how the actual sound is generated. On a piano, particularly an acoustic piano, the sound is made by a string being hit by a tiny “hammer”. This makes the sound of each key project and resonate acoustically.
A digital option like a keyboard will instead trigger a recording of a piano or other sampled sound when the key in question is hit. The sound is played by speakers rather than being made acoustically.
Number Of Keys
Considering keyboard vs piano, the number of keys is usually different, though you can sometimes find 88-key keyboards.
Almost all pianos have 88 keys. This is considered the full range of a piano. For portability, sometimes a keyboard may have 49 or 61 keys. This is equivalent to one section of the piano.
You probably won’t have to buy many accessories separately for an acoustic piano. Many will come with a stool and with a set of piano pedals for altering the sound characteristics.
You can buy stools and pedals for keyboards, as well as stands, headphones, amplifiers and more. The electronic compatibility means they can be much more portable and easy to use with other studio equipment. Keyboards are arguably more convenient. You can potentially take a keyboard to a piano class in Singapore.
The maintenance of a keyboard is minimal, whereas an acoustic piano may require maintenance for the wood and the keys. Plus, you will need to tune the piano.
A modern keyboard which is made well should stay in tune no matter how long you have it for. They don’t tend to have wood in the designs, so they can cope with different temperatures and humidities better.
Whereas an acoustic piano will have just the one sound, which can be altered using pedals and playing styles, keyboards can have many sounds included, such as synth sounds or sampled sounds from different brands of piano.
In some cases, keyboards may even have onboard effects to alter the sound with delay, reverb or other studio processors.
The Feel Of The Keys
Piano keys are often made out of spruce wood and treated to have ebony and ivory feels to them, to replicate older styles of piano. They are also heavier to press, and the harder they are pressed, the louder the sound.
This feels vastly different from a keyboard, which may not be touch-sensitive, and keyboards tend to be made of plastic.
Though these instruments are very similar in the way they are played, and intrinsically linked in terms of design, there are some vital differences to understand between the two.
While a keyboard is arguably more convenient to play and transport, it may not generate such a rich, wholesome and acoustic sound as a piano.