How Many Keys Does a Piano Have?

Grand Piano KeyboardThe best instrument for learning to play the piano is an acoustic grand piano, which features a full set of 88 keys – which includes 52 white keys and 36 black ones. The white keys are designed for notes belonging to the C major scale, while the black keys are accidental ones required for playing in all the twelve keys.

But the classic 88-key piano is not your only choice when buying a keyboard. There are two other varieties, designed for improved portability and convenience when it comes to dealing with music styles that require the use of fewer octaves.

Weighing Your Options

Finding the right keyboard isn’t easy. You have to consider the brand, the price, the specific functions you need and have no use for. However, in terms of size, when buying a piano keyboard, you have three distinct options you can choose from:

  • The smallest, 61-key version for portable use and simpler songs;
  • A larger keyboard with 76 keys that is sometimes opted for when you need to play more complex songs, but would also like to retain the practical benefits of a smaller keyboard;
  • The full-size 88-key model, which is designed to mimic a grand piano, and is perfect for learning to play the piano.

Each of these options has its own pros and cons. Some would argue that a beginner needs no more than 61 keys, but even basic music books contain songs that would require at least the 76-key version. The latter is a more balanced option, but for the full advantages of a portable piano, you will need all 88 keys.

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Full 88-key Piano Keyboard?

A keyboard featuring all 88 keys has many advantages and only a few small drawbacks. Let’s take a look at the good news first: what makes these keyboards so special?

  • You can use them to play any song in the world, even the most complicated ones.
  • They faithfully imitate the sound and function of a grand piano, so once you learn to play them, you’ll know how to play the piano as well.
  • No improvisations are ever required.
  • You don’t have to pay a lot of money on upgrading from a smaller 61 or 76-key model, in case you need 88 keys after learning the basics.

That being said, keyboards with the full set of 88 keys can be more expensive, larger (measuring about 5 feet in length) and heavier than smaller keyboards. Despite these few drawbacks, they still offer the best possible experience, both for a beginner and for a seasoned piano player.

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