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Is a 3 octive range enough?
#1442588 05/24/10 09:25 AM
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I want to buy a small electronic keyboard with at least a 3 octive range but is that enough range?

Re: Is a 3 octive range enough?
sinebar #1442590 05/24/10 09:31 AM
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Depends on what you're planning to do. If you're any serious about learning to play piano I can't encourage you enough to buy enough keys (at least 60+, preferably 76/88).
If you're planning on making music with your pc and all, and you only need to play a few melodies, in that case a 3 octave keyboard can suffice.

Re: Is a 3 octive range enough?
sinebar #1442592 05/24/10 09:32 AM
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For playing any normal piano type music - no. Even in Bach's time, the keyboards were 61 key. and the majority of large church type organs are still 61 key (with multiple manuals)
For some types of MIDI editing and computer generation of synthesized sounds, 37 keys may well be enough. One could typically play key bass in that range, or duplcate many orchestral instruments with synthesis.

I usually gig with a 76 key board (size and weight), but there are a lot of pieces that cannot be played with that limited range. For any primarily piano type gigs, I carry my studio board, which is 88 key weighted.


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Re: Is a 3 octive range enough?
MoodyBluesKeys #1442609 05/24/10 10:01 AM
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I'm a beginner since this year, and already wasted some money on a 44 key keyboard, quickly upgraded to a 61 key keyboard, and quickly upgraded again to an 88 key keyboard. In all cases I ran out of octaves for (non-classical) pieces I wanted to play. If you're serious don't waste time and money and so straight for a full keyboard. Then comes the fun with the 'action' and sound! I'm still not there, but saving pennies.

Re: Is a 3 octive range enough?
spanishbuddha #1442616 05/24/10 10:12 AM
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You will very quickly find that a 3 octave keyboard is useless for playing any serious pieces. Look for a 5 octave (61-key) as a minimum and preferably buy a full 88-key keyboard. I started with a 61-key but found all the pieces that I really wanted to learn needed more keys. In the end I bought a used Casio 88-key fully weighted Privia on Ebay for 150 UKP. Bargain!


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Re: Is a 3 octive range enough?
MoodyBluesKeys #1442622 05/24/10 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by MoodyBluesKeys
I usually gig with a 76 key board (size and weight), but there are a lot of pieces that cannot be played with that limited range.

Do you find yourself missing the chopped off lower 7 notes, or the chopped off upper 5 notes? My when playing on a standard 76 my wife complains about the lower ones missing but says she rarely uses the upper ones.

Looking on Sweetwater, the CME controllers are the only ones that leave the bass intact and chop off the top end to achieve 76 keys. But they are only semi-weighted actions. They have WIDI though (wireless MIDI) which is new to me.

Re: Is a 3 octive range enough?
sinebar #1442624 05/24/10 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by sinebar
I want to buy a small electronic keyboard with at least a 3 octive range but is that enough range?


Not for piano music. pieces written for piano assume you will have a piano to play them on. But if you are using the keyboard as a MIDI controller and playing non-piano sounds, perhaps just single lines of notes with one hand it might be OK and also for using as a musical typewriter for editing edit score on a computer the small keyboard is OK, because you can transpose it.

Small keyboards are useful to have but mostly not for playing piano music

Re: Is a 3 octive range enough?
ChrisA #1442733 05/24/10 01:21 PM
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Wow I was thinking that 3 octives would be plenty but then I was also thinking in terms of melody instruments like the flute. I guess the need for both accompaniment and melody requires a lot keys. I've got an accordion coming wed. which has the bass buttons (accompaniment) and a 41 key piano keyboard (melody) which should have enough range since it has seperate bass buttons. If I like it I may stil get the electronic keyboard just to play with. smile

Last edited by sinebar; 05/24/10 01:28 PM.
Re: Is a 3 octive range enough?
dewster #1442845 05/24/10 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by dewster
Do you find yourself missing the chopped off lower 7 notes, or the chopped off upper 5 notes? My when playing on a standard 76 my wife complains about the lower ones missing but says she rarely uses the upper ones.
I have all 88. smile

But if I had to give up 12, I'd drop the top octave, and keep the low.

Re: Is a 3 octive range enough?
MacMacMac #1444695 05/27/10 11:04 AM
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> but then I was also thinking in terms of melody instruments like the flute.

if all you need is sounds, you don't need a keyboard at all, your computer can do that.

if you're gonna learn piano, there are FEW reasons to skimp on keys below 88.
space and cost. but those are pretty lame reasons, really.
and they cause GAS (gear acquisition syndrome).

unless you already have an 88 key keyboard and want another.
For example, an 88 weighted key dp and a 61 key lite key synth keyboard.

If ya ask me, keyboards without at least 61 keys are worthless.


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