Keyboard Size

What size keyboard do you favor?

  • 37 key (three octave)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 49 key (four octave)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 61 key (five octave)

    Votes: 2 28.6%
  • 73 key (six octave)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 76 key

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 88 key (modern piano)

    Votes: 5 71.4%
  • 97 key (Bösendorfer Imperial Grand)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    7

Fred Coulter

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Occasionally I see someone explaining how the 3 octave, or 4 octave, or 5 octave keyboard just isn't big enough for "serous" musicians. (I seldom see this about a 73 or 76 note keyboard.) I think they're missing the point.

First, let's talk about five octave keyboards not being big enough for serious music. The modern classical organ keyboard is five octaves, from C to C. The modern harpsichord is also five octaves, but (generally) from F to F. The vast majority of classical keyboard music is playable on a five octave keyboard.

Generally, the three octave keyboards I've seen are on monophonic synthesizers. A monophonic synthesizer is, by its very nature, a melody instrument. Almost all melody instruments are limited to three (or fewer) octaves of usable space.

So these keyboards are fine for their functions.

But looking at the keyboard size by itself is missing the bigger picture. If a keyboardist is looking at a three octave keyboard, it's probably in addition to an existing keyboard. So the question really should be what's available to the player. If you've got two monophonic three octave keyboards, you're going to be extremely limited in the music you create. (I wonder if you can have a career playing Bach Two Part Inventions?) But two modern four octave keyboards? While you couldn't play classical piano, you'd probably have no problem in a band situation.

Two five octave keyboards? Again, this would be fine for almost everything, but you won't be able to play organ music without a proper pedal board, and some organ music really does need a third (or even fourth) keyboard. (My daughter just played her first hymn on an organ. Right hand gets the soprano and alto lines, left hand plays the tenor, while the feet play the bass. She says it took her five minutes to make it through the hymn.)

If you grew up on a piano, you'll probably be more comfortable with an 88 note keyboard. But that is a matter of individual comfort, not of musical limitations.

So don't condemn a keyboard based on the number of keys. The real question is what you're planning on doing with it. If it works for you, then the keyboard size is fine.
 

happyrat1

Destroyer of Eardrums!!!
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Another vote for 88 keys here.

I own various keyboards ranging from 3 to 5 octaves but ultimately I do all of my composing on the Kurzweil 88 Key using it to control the other boards as modules.

It not only feels better to the touch but also allows me to reach those high notes where other boards fall short.

Gary ;)
 

SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
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I voted for 61, simply because all of my keyboards have 61 keys, so I guess that's what I "favor"! But lately I've been thinking of getting a keyboard with 76, 88, or maybe even 49 keys!

I've always thought that the E-to-G layout of 76 keys is "funny looking," like I've slipped over into Mirror Land and am looking at the reflection of a piano keyboard. But 76 keys is a good compromise if you don't have enough room for 88 keys.

And I've always considered anything less than 61 keys to be "just lame," although 49 keys would be handy for setting on my desk in front of my computer monitors.
 

Rayblewit

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I voted for 61, simply because all of my keyboards have 61 keys,
Me too mr.gruff:p
The first one and a half octaves are assigned to playing accmp's . .
Then from f# through 3 1/2 octaves is the melody. Rarely do I need to play higher or lower octaves than what I have.
Most sheet music I have covers my 61 keys.
I think synth music may need higher octaves and also classical but I don't play that.
I play real music:cool: "my way" good old Frank.
 

Rayblewit

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This bloke cannot decide keyboard size! He has a mixture . .
Hammond, Melotron and Leslie speakers and more.
61's 88's full weighted and not full weighted. . What an array!
 
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like Fred said, depends on what you do, how you prefer to play, your audience... my setup is an 88 key w piano tones and 49 key w organ/synth tones.
 

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