A standard size piano has 88 keys, including 52 white keys and 36 black keys. There are digital pianos with 61, 66, or 72 keys that are good for beginners or anyone wanting to play contemporary songs (because most contemporary songs use 5 octaves or less). However, if you plan to play classical piano, you need a regular 88-key piano.
Read on to learn more about the number of keys on a piano as well as the different types of pianos.
How Many Keys Does a Piano Have?
Grand pianos and upright pianos have 88 keys. There are digital pianos with 88 keys and digital pianos with fewer than 88 keys that are good for beginners. You must select a piano with the full 88 keys if you plan to play classical piano.
There are also digital keyboards with 25, 45, 78, 84, 101, 102, and 104 keys. This number varies depending on various companies. Below are the various types of pianos and how they are different.
Types of Pianos
1. Grand Pianos
How many keys are on a grand piano? A grand piano typically has 88 standard keys. The width is about 5 feet (60 inches), and the length is 4.5 to 9.5 feet (54 inches to 114 inches). The grand piano weighs from 500 pounds to 1,200 pounds.
The soundboards are horizontal with longer strings and have a wider soundboard area. The keys go deeper into the piano, providing flexibility for the pianist to control the tone. They are the largest and most expensive pianos out there.
The grand piano is easier to play than the upright piano due to its horizontal position. The hammers do not go against gravity. It also sounds better because of the full sound produced by the instrument.
Stuart and Sons have recently built a grand piano with 102 keys. Some piano companies may follow, as this is an unprecedented development.
Grand pianos can cost between $10,000 and $150,000.
Below are various types of grand pianos.
A petit grand has 88 keys and measures 4’5” to 4’10” tall (53 inches to 58 inches), 5’ (60 inches) wide, with a 3-feet (36 inches) wide tail. It is the smallest of the grand pianos. Therefore, you can play it in smaller venues.
Baby Grand Piano
What about a baby grand piano? How many keys on a baby grand piano? There are 88 keys, too, on a baby grand piano. It usually measures 5 feet (60 inches) wide and 4’11” to 5’11” (59 inches to 72 inches) long.
The medium grand has the same keys as the rest of the grand family – 88 keys. It measures 5’6” to 5’8” (66 inches to 68 inches) in length and is considered a medium-sized piano. It is also known as the classical grand piano.
The professional grand has 88 keys and measures 5’9” to 6’2” (69 inches to 74 inches) in length. It is considered a full-grand piano. Thus, this is the best piano for professional players.
It features 88 keys and measures 6’3” to 6’10” (75 inches to 82 inches) long. It is a great living room grand piano due to its perfect size and appearance in a living room.
This piano has 88 keys and measures 6’11” to 7’8” (83 inches to 92 inches) long. It is an alternative piano for concert grand because you can use them during concerts and performances.
The concert grand also offers 88 keys and measures 8’11” to 9’ (107 inches to 108 inches) long. Professional pianists use it in orchestras and wider concert venues.
Pros and Cons of Grand Pianos
To allow you to decide correctly, here are the pros and cons of each piano type. This will help you decide whether to buy a piano with 61 keys or 88 keys.
- A louder and fuller sound
- Best for spacious areas
- Appreciate in value
- Elegant and grandiose
- Contain polymer finish for longer protection
- More costly
- It takes up more space
Difference Between a Baby Grand Piano and a Grand Piano?
The baby grand piano is smaller and produces a less forceful and lower-volume sound. Meanwhile, the grand piano produces a more forceful and greater-volume sound.
The grand piano is preferred by musicians who play their repertoires in big, wide spaces because of the aforementioned reasons.
How many keys does a grand piano have? How many keys on a baby grand piano? Grand pianos and baby grand pianos both have 88 keys. If you plan to play classical piano, you would need the full 88 keys. So a grand piano or baby grand piano is worth getting.
How many white keys does a piano have? How many black keys does a piano have? In total, there are 52 white keys and 36 black keys.
The white keys are longer and represent the C major scale’s notes C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. On the other hand, the black keys are shorter and are set further back on the piano’s keyboard above the white keys.
2. Upright Pianos or Vertical Pianos
The upright piano has 88 keys too. However, the strings are perpendicular to the ground. The upright position means that it goes against gravity. So, the pianist has to exert more pressure to allow the hammer to hit the vertical strings.
An upright piano also has smaller soundboards and shorter strings than the grand piano. The height is between 3.5 feet to 4.5 feet (42 inches to 54 inches), the width is around 5 feet (60 inches), and the depth is around 2 feet (24 inches). It weighs from 400 pounds to 500 pounds.
Below are various types of upright pianos.
The spinet piano has 88 keys and is the smallest and shortest of the upright pianos. Its height is around 3’ to 3’2” (36 to 38 inches) and 4’8” wide (58 inches.) You can play this piano in your apartment without worrying about too much volume.
Professional Upright Pianos
This has 88 keys and is ideal for professionals who want to play in concert halls or wider venues. It measures 4’ tall (48 inches) and is the tallest of all upright pianos. Its sounds can equal that of the baby grand piano.
The console piano features 88 keys as well and measures 3’5” to 3’8” feet (42 to 44 inches) tall, and is around 4’8” (58 inches) wide. It is slightly larger than the spinet. If you are a beginner-turning-professional, this piano type could be best for you.
The studio piano has 88 keys and is ideal for studio spaces. If you plan to play the piano in your flat or music studio, this piano is an ideal choice.
The piano is commonly used in music schools because of its good sound and durability. It measures 3’8” to 4’ (45 to 48 inches) in height and is 4’8” (58 inches) wide.
Upright pianos can cost from $2,000 to $9,000. Second-hand pianos can cost as low as $500.
Pros and Cons of Upright Pianos
- Less expensive
- Occupy smaller spaces
- Can easily pass through doorways
- Easier transport
- Depreciate in value
- Sounds are not as good as the grand piano.
- Sensitive to temperature fluctuations
3. Digital Pianos
Digital pianos vary in their number of keys. But they can produce the same sounds like the grand and upright pianos.
This piano type has no hammers or strings. The sound is produced when a sensor gets activated when you press a key. The sensor will then produce a recorded sound of an acoustic piano through the speakers.
Sometimes, other sounds are added for certain keys. Some digital pianos provide background music or sounds of other instruments.
There are digital pianos that could record your piece while you are playing. Most types are portable so that you can carry them wherever you go.
Digital Pianos can cost between $200 to $7,000. The price depends on the size and features included in the piano.
Pros and Cons of Digital Pianos
- Some are inexpensive
- Handy and easy to transport
- Added piano-learning features
- Provide sounds of other musical instruments
- Offer voice and music recording
- May provide background tracks.
- It offers many variations of the number of keys (61, 66, and 88)
- Not all produce full and clear sounds
- Some are not durable
Tips for Choosing the Number of Piano Keys
1. Establish Your Goals
Where do you intend to play the piano? And are you a beginner or a professional player? Have you got plans to play professionally, or you just want to play it as a hobby?
If you plan to learn first and then pursue a career as a professional pianist, you may want to try the baby grand first. It may seem difficult, but if this is your goal, you have to get used to playing the full 88 keys.
In cases when you merely wanted to learn as a hobby, you could pick a digital or a petit piano with fewer keys (61, 66, or 72.) With fewer keys to remember, you can quickly learn to play.
Furthermore, if the piano is for your children, you can opt for the keyboard with 44 keys.
2. Select the Correct Keyboard
In case you want to use a keyboard, pick a keyboard with 88 keys and 7 octaves. There are keyboards with only 54 notes. Ensure that it has weighted keys too.
The weighted keys will make it easier for you to play the traditional piano keys later on. An adjustable stand is essential to position the keyboard properly.
3. The Sufficient Number of Piano Keys for Beginners is 66
How many keys should a piano have for beginners? The piano should have 66 keys for beginners to learn sufficiently. The 66 keys are enough for you to learn how to play.
4. The Number of Piano Keys Is Proportional to Its Playing Power
The more keys you have, the more notes you can play. So the number of keys is directly proportional to the piano’s playing power.
Naturally, this applies only when you are a professional pianist. Numerous keys can be daunting for beginners.
5. Consider the Keys’ Durability
Do not only consider the number of keys, but you should also consider the keys’ durability. Choose ivory over plastic piano keys as they are more durable. Ivory keys also absorb sweat from the fingers, making it easier to play.
Nonetheless, many piano makers are now using white plastic rather than ivory due to ethical reasons. There is a global ban on the use of ivory as it comes from elephant tusks.
You can choose well-known brands to ensure that your white plastic keys are long-lasting. Examples are Yamaha and Steinway.
Conclusion – Number of Keys on a Piano
Regular grand pianos and upright pianos have 88 keys. Some digital pianos have 61, 66, and 72 keys. If you plan to play classical piano, you should choose a full 88 key piano. If you are a beginner, you can choose a digital piano with fewer keys.
How many keys are on a grand piano? A grand piano typically has 88 standard keys. There are 52 white keys and 36 black keys.
Choosing the right number of keys will help significantly to develop and enhance your piano-playing skills.
Establish your goals and use this as a basis for picking the right piano type for you. Whatever your purpose is, ensure that you enjoy the process while learning.