2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
Who's Online Now
32 members (achoo42, chaplincap, CyberGene, apianostudent, Dfrankjazz, Bett, Deltajockey, 8 invisible), 342 guests, and 397 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Key Length Proportional or Standardized?
#2164159 10/09/13 09:34 PM
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 329
T
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
T
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 329
Was wondering if anyone can comment on the proportional key length of grands?

In other words, does the length of the key increase gradually with the size of the piano? Or is there one key length for most or all grands up until concert grands?

Not withstanding the K series Schimmel puts out (which I understand have standardized the key length on their grands to concert length), I have noticed most if not all concert grands I have played are noticeably easier to control due to, in my estimation, the better leverage from the extra weight on the other end of the keys.

However I have noticed a few grands, including my Walter, that are easier for me to control that say an upright or a smaller than 6 foot grand... and by control I mean ornamentation and the like.

Thanks for the input.


Charles Walter Model W (190)


“The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.” J.S. Bach


"I just want to know, if we came from monkeys and apes, WHY DO WE STILL HAVE MONKEYS AND APES?" George Carlin
Re: Key Length Proportional or Standardized?
Theodore Slutz #2164330 10/10/13 08:38 AM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,059
E
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
E
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,059
Greetings,
On grands, the key length is determined by the hammer's need to be under a particular point on the string, and where in the action the key must sit. That is a gross simplification, but Del Fandrich can give more details than most of us are likely to understand, if more info is needed.

On the bigger pianos, that optimum strike point is farther down the string, away from the pianist, and the action needs to be "out there" so the hammers and sweet spots can find one another. The actions are the same, so the keys are longer to get it out far enough So, the larger the piano, the longer the key. For simplicity, most pianos under 7 ft. have keys of equal length from top to bottom, but concert grands have keyboards that increase in length, with the bass longer.
Upright keys could care less how big it is, as the action's position is dictated by other things.
Regards,

Re: Key Length Proportional or Standardized?
Theodore Slutz #2164376 10/10/13 10:48 AM
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 329
T
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
T
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 329
direct and to the point, i like it... thanks for responding Ed.


Charles Walter Model W (190)


“The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.” J.S. Bach


"I just want to know, if we came from monkeys and apes, WHY DO WE STILL HAVE MONKEYS AND APES?" George Carlin
Re: Key Length Proportional or Standardized?
Theodore Slutz #2165812 10/13/13 09:37 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,643
D
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,643
There are many dimensions to consider. A properly weighted key with regulated mechanics can not be determined by key length. I judge keys mostly by the quality of craftsmanship. Making a set of piano keys with uniform flex and density weight is an art.

Re: Key Length Proportional or Standardized?
Theodore Slutz #2166002 10/14/13 10:48 AM
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 329
T
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
T
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 329
so you're saying its possible to make some actions feel more like a concert grand regarding weight and response? what would be the process?


Charles Walter Model W (190)


“The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.” J.S. Bach


"I just want to know, if we came from monkeys and apes, WHY DO WE STILL HAVE MONKEYS AND APES?" George Carlin
Re: Key Length Proportional or Standardized?
Ed Foote #2166295 10/14/13 08:14 PM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,534
D
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member
Offline
5000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,534
Originally Posted by Ed Foote
On grands, the key length is determined by the hammer's need to be under a particular point on the string, and where in the action the key must sit. That is a gross simplification, but Del Fandrich can give more details than most of us are likely to understand, if more info is needed.

That’s pretty much it. Pianos are laid out from their hammer strikeline out. The strikeline is an imaginary line in space that indicates where—at what point along the speaking length—the hammers are going to hit the strings. Generally when a new piano is designed there will be some specific overall length in mind. In other words, we’re going to design a 175 cm grand or a 275 cm grand. Whatever. So, starting with the strikeline we’re going to extend the speaking portion of the strings both ways both toward the back of the piano (the tail) and toward the front of the piano where the agrafes, tuning pins, etc., are located. There will be some proportion of the speaking length that must be placed between the strikeline and the agrafe. There will also be some length from the agrafe to a bearing surface and then on to the tuning pin(s). For physical reasons there needs to be some area around the tuning pins and then there is the front cross-strut giving stability to the front edge of the string frame. And then there is (usually) a cross stretcher of some kind that provides closure to the rim and keeps things looking pretty. Finally there will be a keycover of some kind and then we can position the front ends of the keys.

Going back to the strikeline; this line positions the hammers and the hammers more-or-less position the rest of the action including the wippens. While there is no absolute position for the capstan block along the bottom of the wippen body it usually falls within a fairly narrow range so the capstan is generally positioned between 90 and 100 mm from the strikeline. There is no absolute here and there are good reasons for going both ways—piano design is nothing if not compromise.

So generally speaking the key length is going to be determined by the position of the strikeline, the length of the string(s) from the strikeline forward to the agrafe, the space between the agrafe and the tuning pin field, the amount of space allowed around the tuning pin field, the thickness of the stringframe cross-strut, the thickness of the stretcher, the amount of space required by the keycover and the lengths of the keys across the key headscale. (And I’ve left out a few incidentals that might add a few mm here or there.)

There are no absolutes for any of these things but, in general, piano designers over the decades have tended to make these dimensions as short as practical so that more length can be put into the speaking lengths of the strings. Occasionally a designer will make one or more of these things abnormally long in order to provide a longer key in a piano of a given overall length. The Law of Compromise always dictates that something must be compromised when this is done. The speaking lengths of the strings can be made shorter; string angles can be increased, etc. There is, sadly, neither a free lunch nor a free longer key.



Quote
On the bigger pianos, that optimum strike point is farther down the string, away from the pianist, and the action needs to be "out there" so the hammers and sweet spots can find one another. The actions are the same, so the keys are longer to get it out far enough So, the larger the piano, the longer the key. For simplicity, most pianos under 7 ft. have keys of equal length from top to bottom, but concert grands have keyboards that increase in length, with the bass longer.

Some shorter pianos as well. I’ve seen this done on pianos as short as 185 cm. I’ve also encountered a couple of 275 (±) concert grands with keys of equal length.

ddf



Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
Re: Key Length Proportional or Standardized?
Theodore Slutz #2166314 10/14/13 09:06 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 28,907
B
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 28,907
There can be some standardization. Yamaha uses the same keys for different models of pianos, something I found out from having some of the early Ivorite keytops replaced. The box that they provided accommodated several different key lengths, but some of them were the same for more than one model.

The strangest keys were for the Malmsjo grands with the straight bridge. The action was curved to adapt to the shape of the piano, and the longest keys were in the center of the keyboard. There are photos on the Internet somewhere.


Semipro Tech
Re: Key Length Proportional or Standardized?
Theodore Slutz #2166616 10/15/13 10:43 AM
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 329
T
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
T
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 329
Thanks for responding Del... and everyone else as well.

I'm still blown away that I can have a discourse with the actual designer of my piano.

Really cool.


Charles Walter Model W (190)


“The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.” J.S. Bach


"I just want to know, if we came from monkeys and apes, WHY DO WE STILL HAVE MONKEYS AND APES?" George Carlin
Re: Key Length Proportional or Standardized?
Theodore Slutz #2166623 10/15/13 11:14 AM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 7,439

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014
7000 Post Club Member
Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 7,439
We are very fortunate to have Del as an active member.

Thanks Del!


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

Moderated by  Ken Knapp, Piano World 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Karsten Collection
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
What's Hot!!
News from the Piano World
Our October 2020 Free Piano Newsletter is Here!
---------------------
3,000,000+!
------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Kawai KS1F or K15
by Onus - 10/24/20 01:04 AM
Handspans of great pianists
by WeakLeftHand - 10/24/20 12:25 AM
Yamaha Baby Grand GB1K for $2,500 ?
by trooplewis - 10/24/20 12:22 AM
Moved and hard to adjust
by Sebs - 10/23/20 10:29 PM
Soundbrenner Core Metronome
by Prestzie - 10/23/20 09:22 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics202,371
Posts3,016,500
Members99,000
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2020 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4