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How many keys are required to learn? #2255297
04/01/14 10:42 AM
04/01/14 10:42 AM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 1
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Guestor Offline OP
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Guestor  Offline OP
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Hello,

I have decided to learn to play the piano however I do not believe I have a proper instrument. I have access to a 32-key keyboard, however most learning sites utilize +60 key configurations. For example, playing the Mario Bros. theme requires at least 3 'C' keys, but the keyboard only has 2.

I would like to know which is a good key thereshold to learn. Alternatively, a site that teaches piano with a 32-key keyboard would also be of help.

My regards.

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Re: How many keys are required to learn? [Re: Guestor] #2255300
04/01/14 10:44 AM
04/01/14 10:44 AM
Joined: Mar 2013
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New York City
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Polyphonist Offline
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How about 88?


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: How many keys are required to learn? [Re: Guestor] #2255305
04/01/14 11:04 AM
04/01/14 11:04 AM
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R_B Offline
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Well,,,
Whereas 88 will get you to ALMOST everything you can "get by" for a while on the middle four octaves, but those are often abbreviated to 44.
So, while I strongly SUGGEST that you go to 88 as soon as practical the reality is that your early learning will most likely be limited to those middle 4 octaves.

Ahh but...
Novelty music, such as video game tunes, is likely to pop in the occasional very high or very low note for EFFECT and the whole character of the tune may depend on it being there.

As always... "it depends" mostly on what you want to play and how serious you are about wanting to learn.

Re: How many keys are required to learn? [Re: Guestor] #2255348
04/01/14 12:27 PM
04/01/14 12:27 PM
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Virginia, USA
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Andy Platt Offline
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32 is a toy and I'm serious. You can't learn on that. I suspect they aren't full size either? Since you can't use 32, might as well go to 88 straight away.


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

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Re: How many keys are required to learn? [Re: Guestor] #2255366
04/01/14 12:50 PM
04/01/14 12:50 PM
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California
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Michael Martinez Offline
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I feel 61 keys is sufficient. It gives you just enough expanse to cover bass, mids, trebles... How often do you really use the lowest registers on the piano anyway?

I feel less than 60 keys can be problematic.


Music Educator, Computer Engineer, avid reader of literature, enjoyer of the outdoors
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Re: How many keys are required to learn? [Re: Michael Martinez] #2255418
04/01/14 02:33 PM
04/01/14 02:33 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 5,807
Reseda, California
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JohnSprung Offline
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Originally Posted by Michael Martinez
I feel 61 keys is sufficient. It gives you just enough expanse to cover bass, mids, trebles... How often do you really use the lowest registers on the piano anyway?


I use the extreme low end on a couple pieces, and the extreme high on a couple others. But I can get by with my 61 key hotel room practice board because it can shift up or down an octave.

As to the OP's question, I'd say that you can probably learn things for several months before the small number of keys becomes a big problem. But if the keys themselves aren't full size, get rid of it immediately. Otherwise, figure on upgrading this summer.


-- J.S.

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Re: How many keys are required to learn? [Re: Michael Martinez] #2255431
04/01/14 03:01 PM
04/01/14 03:01 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 9,326
New York City
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Polyphonist Offline
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Originally Posted by Michael Martinez
I feel 61 keys is sufficient. It gives you just enough expanse to cover bass, mids, trebles... How often do you really use the lowest registers on the piano anyway?

Very often.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: How many keys are required to learn? [Re: Guestor] #2255467
04/01/14 04:20 PM
04/01/14 04:20 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 508
Midwest USA
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Farmerjones Offline
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Welcome Guestor,
Count me as one that had to buy twice. What 32 keys(or 61 keys in my case), teaches you: If you do gain an affinity for piano, you'll get 88 weighted keys, and happiness. All the best on your journey! FJ


Rhythm & Chords, it's what I do.
Re: How many keys are required to learn? [Re: Guestor] #2255476
04/01/14 04:35 PM
04/01/14 04:35 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 860
Poland
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kapelli Offline
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Poland
What is your budget? You want to learn to play the piano, or just try how it feels to play on a any type of keyboard? I see you have no clue about instruments, hence I am asking what are your piano learning goals, as for the begginer you can buy quite cheap the decent piano - I mean, in comparison to the plastik to you can have for a double and a bit more something playable like Casio dcp series or some used portale yamahas or so.

Re: How many keys are required to learn? [Re: JohnSprung] #2255635
04/01/14 08:13 PM
04/01/14 08:13 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,626
Richmond, BC, Canada
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Charles Cohen Offline
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by Michael Martinez
I feel 61 keys is sufficient. It gives you just enough expanse to cover bass, mids, trebles... How often do you really use the lowest registers on the piano anyway?

. . .
As to the OP's question, I'd say that you can probably learn things for several months before the small number of keys becomes a big problem. But if the keys themselves aren't full size, get rid of it immediately. Otherwise, figure on upgrading this summer.


+1.

The problem with 32 keys:

. . . It's too small to play seriously with both hands.

"61 keys" (full-size keys) was fairly standard during the Baroque period, and it was (and still is) a common size for synthesizer and organ keyboards. You can play a lot of music on 61 keys. You can master scales, and chords, and arpeggios, and learn to play both hands.

If you want to play classical piano music, you'll need 88 keys for most music written after Mozart.

. Charles

PS -- I have a Korg microKorg XL+, with 37 "mini-keys". I would _not_ recommend that keyboard for a beginner.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: How many keys are required to learn? [Re: Guestor] #2255639
04/01/14 08:24 PM
04/01/14 08:24 PM
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 1,139
Nashville, TN
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Brian Lucas Offline
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88 is ideal. 76 if you're trying to cut costs. I wouldn't go any lower than that. 61 is manageable but I've yet to see a 61 key weighted keyboard on the market. Some 76 key are at least semi-weighted. I picked up a 76 key semi-weighted Yamaha keyboard to take to writing meetings and little singer/songwriter things where I don't need my heavy main boards. The action isn't bad. Not fully weighted, but not the sloppiness of an unweighted keyboard.

Depends on budget too. There are lots of keyboards at various costs. You could also look at MIDI controllers which are cheaper since they don't have sounds of their own, but hook up to a computer to generate sound. The only professional 32 key keyboards I know are MIDI controllers and are used more by electronic DJ type programmers who play 1 or 2 notes at a time while programming, not very pianistic.


-Brian
BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 23+ year teacher and touring musician
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Re: How many keys are required to learn? [Re: Brian Lucas] #2261162
04/13/14 05:18 PM
04/13/14 05:18 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 393
Queensland Australia
MarieJ Offline
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Queensland Australia
I'd second Brian's advice. I started with a 76-key Yamaha Digital Grand, and while it was adequate for a couple of years with Alfred's piano course, I eventually ran out of keys. If you start with anything less than a full 88-weighted-keys DP, sooner or later you'll need to upgrade. The good news is that quality used digital pianos are often available at very reasonable prices these days.


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Re: How many keys are required to learn? [Re: Guestor] #2261177
04/13/14 05:46 PM
04/13/14 05:46 PM
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 2,368
Sweden
TheodorN Offline
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Blues licks are sometimes played very high up the keybed, not sure if it's the very highest notes, but sometimes very high up.


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Re: How many keys are required to learn? [Re: Guestor] #2261202
04/13/14 06:37 PM
04/13/14 06:37 PM
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England
LarryShone Offline
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On the 32 note board you can learn chord structure and scales at least. But I suspect for playing that 61 notes is a minimum.


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Re: How many keys are required to learn? [Re: LarryShone] #2261356
04/14/14 01:23 AM
04/14/14 01:23 AM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,626
Richmond, BC, Canada
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Charles Cohen Offline
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Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted by LarryShone
On the 32 note board you can learn chord structure and scales at least. But I suspect for playing that 61 notes is a minimum.


Think about that . . .

For learning scales _in all keys, with both hands simultaneously_, one octave, you need from C1 (lowest LH note in C scale) to B3 (highest RH note, B scale). That's 36 keys. The C4 (top key) brings it to 37 keys (e.g. microKorg XL+).

37 keys is enough for one hand to play comfortably. It's short, for two hands. IMHO.

. Charles

. Charles



. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: How many keys are required to learn? [Re: Guestor] #2261360
04/14/14 01:45 AM
04/14/14 01:45 AM
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 885
Tempe, Arizona
AZ_Astro Offline
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Tempe, Arizona
I tried out the Yamaha NP-31 for awhile and it had 61 keys.

Within two months I had another keyboard and sold the NP-31 back to The Guitar Center.

Sigh...

I say go with the 88...

Good luck


Kawai KG-5. Korg SP-250. Software pianos: Garritan CFX, Ivory II, Ivory Am D, Ravenscroft, Galaxy Vintage D, Alicia's Keys, et al.
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