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#1746046 09/04/11 01:19 AM
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Now I know it is said that there is one standard size for keys (excluding the custom scaled down sizes), but unless my imagination has gotten the better of me, I would swear that my teacher's keys are smaller than my own piano.

She has a grand Wendl & Lung, I have a 124 upright Haessler. We were comparing hand-spans yesterday and I showed her on her keys that I could very comfortably reach an octave and barely reach one more key if I use the tips of my nails on the edges of the keys. However, I was surprised the octave came so easy. So when I tried at home a short time later, I saw that I could not reach a comfortable octave. I could do it, but it hurt a bit. It wasn't possible to reach the additional key in any case.

SO is this my imagination or can there be small but measurable differences in size according to brand, or is it a difference between grands and uprights?

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Tnew,
Hi! I am not an expert, but I have a similar experience. I have seen smaller keys on several old restored steinways, both grand as well as uprights. I always thought it to be more of a period issue, than the brands...the older ones having smaller keys. By old, I mean the ones made before 1930s. I don't know if there is a specific cutoff date before which the current standard key sizes weren't used. Also, this is purely what I think and I may be completely wrong!


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Yes, there is some variance in key size, but it is small. I usually don't notice, unless it's one of those custom 7/8th keyboards, but some people are more sensitive to it than others.

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It is your imagination.

Off the top of my head, fifty two naturals equals forty eight inches, give or take very little.

The length (front to back) and the angle (perfectly horizontal or not) differ greatly, which could be what is throwing you off.

The finish of the naturals, rounded, more spacing etc, can give you a feeling that your reach is better, nails etc..

Piano keys, as far as width is concerned, is an industry standard.

Hope you can reach a ninth soon! All the best.




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What's the age of the pianos involved? I have the impression that older pianos do have different (smaller) sizes sometimes. But only really old ones I think.


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There are different key sizes. My Steinway rebuilt M, 1917 has smaller keys that the 1098 upright, circa 1996..My Haddorff console has the smallest of all. One of my students interjected that her digital keyboard has "larger" size keys than my grand. She's probably right.

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Doesn't the key _depth_ vary? If I recall correctly, some of the Ampico and Duo Art Steinway (grand) pianos have "short" keys....

I don't think key width has change much in 300 years, except for a custom/special model.



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Originally Posted by tnew
N... I would swear that my teacher's keys are smaller than my own piano.


Take a tape measure with you, and measure the full width of 88 keys on both pianos. A small difference multiplied by 88 (or 52 naturals really) should be easy to detect.


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Originally Posted by Lluís


Well, what do you know! Thanks for that. What an interesting video, and a great explanation of an old piano.


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Lluis,

That is worth way more than 5 cts! Thank you for that video. thumb


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Thank you Thrill and Rich :-)!


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Lluis,

Are you familiar with Ratko Delorko? If not, you must see these videos:

Ratko Delorko - History of the piano in 22 instruments


Rich Galassini
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That't wonderful! No I've never heard about Ratko Delorko! Then I'm going to see the video!


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Wow, that's a great link Rich.
Thanks for the education.


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