Ah the piano. It is an instrument that has been around for centuries and continues to be a favorite among many. But did you know that the size of the keys on the piano can vary? That’s right the size of the keys can range from small to large and this can affect the way you play. So let’s dive in and explore the different types of piano keys and what they mean for your playing.
Types of Keys
The size of the keys on a piano varies from model to model. Generally the keys can range from small to large. Here is a table of the different types of keys and their sizes:
More guides: Can You Sell A Piano With Ivory Keys.
Structure of Piano Keys
We all know the iconic black and white keys of the piano; they are familiar sights and sounds to many of us. But what exactly makes up a piano key?
At their heart piano keys are composed of many different parts which contribute to the mechanics of each individual note. Every piano key requires a number of components which work together to create the classic sound of music.
When you press a piano key it is actually pushing down a set of hammers that hit the strings seated beneath them. On the surface of each key lies another component known as a ‘wippen’ which is an adapter between the key and the underlying hammer. The wippen is responsible for lifting the hammer away from the strings when the key is released.
The mechanism of each key is completed by an additional component known as a ‘damper’. The damper functions to control the volume of sound each key produces by preventing the strings from vibrating beyond the length of the key press.
Pretty amazing right? Every component of the piano keys is a necessary part of how the instrument functions creating a number of components that come together to form a bigger picture. However the components of piano keys don’t just have a mechanical purpose; they have a visual purpose too. From their size to the feel of the materials used to the tiny parts needed to complete the bigger pieces piano keys are crafted with both form and function in mind. The result? Perfect melody.
Factors Affecting Key Size
When it comes to selecting the right piano key size is an important factor to consider. A piano’s key size is determined by a combination of factors such as preference ability and technical specs.
From a preference standpoint wider keys offer more of a finger-spread than narrower keys so if comfort and playability are important to you then a wider key might be the way to go. On the other hand if you have smaller hands a narrower keyboard might be more suitable.
In terms of ability if a student is still mastering basic patterns and scales a narrower key might be better so that their hands are able to navigate more easily. But with the added complexity of chords a wider key could be more practical for providing more of a finger-spread.
Finally the technical specs of a piano will play a role in the size of its keys. For instance certain pianos will have longer or wider keys because of the additional notes or features the keys are attached to. So if the sound or action of a particular piano is especially important to you this could influence your decision.
At the end of the day piano key size is a personal preference and can be influenced by multiple factors. Consider your skill level budget and playing style when it comes to selecting the right size for you.
Adjustments to Key Size
Do playing the piano with those full-sized keys feel a touch too daunting for you? Fear not; thankfully there are easy accessible adjustments to make sure your keys all fit your hands—literally!
When it comes to piano key size adjustments there’s a searchingly-small range of options available. A few manufacturers have started producing smaller-than-average keys as a means of accommodating to more diminutive hands but most pians are still of the standard weight variety.
Conveniently you can find piano key plates that you can mount in place of the full-length keys thus giving you a more comfortable shape and feel. There’s also the unconventional and often entertaining option of lacing up a pair of gloves and using piano key covers—these nifty fabric covers are versatile and come in a stimulating spectrum of colors.
If you’ve had your eyes and ears set on getting your hands on a piano rest-assured that there’s no need to go to extremes to find the perfect key size for your little (or large) hands. So pick up those chords and get loosening those up-to-date musical riffs and kiss the giant keys goodbye!