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This is somewhat of an offbeat question. With regards to acoustic pianos, are the size of piano keys (width, length, etc.), standard across manufacturers? I feel like the keys on my teacher's Baldwin are longer and narrower, than my Wurlitzer. I'm assuming this has to do with the design of the action, perhaps? Has anybody ever played a piano with keys that seem larger or smaller than one is used to? Thanks in advance for your responses.

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There is a range of octave widths, head length, tail length, sharp width and shape used today and in the recent past. Certain brands may have one standard for a while and then adopt another one after a period of time. Much depends on who makes their key-sets. Many piano makers buy key-sets from specialty providers. Some like Yamaha, Samick, and Pearl River, (to just use three that pop into my head), make their own key-sets. Steinway now owns Kluge but Kluge continues to provide key-sets to other brands as well.


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This design element is called the "headscale" and is subject to the judgement (or whim) of the designer or the manufacturer. There is some variation between makes of pianos -- most particularly in the length of the head (the part that receives most finger contact) and also the tail (the part that goes between black keys. The black keys themselves can vary somewhat in length and width.

There are customized keyboards made on a â…ž headscale that have slightly narrower keys overall allowing short handspans to reach octaves or tenths where they couldn't on a standard keyboard.

There is also some small note-to-note variation on many pianos because the keys are made of a large glued-up plank or sheet of wood which is then sawn on a bandsaw into individual keys. Because wood grain can lead a sawblade to drift, there are slight variations in width. Anyone who has replaced a set of keytops will have noticed this.


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In general though you can expect most keyboards to measure 48" more or less from end to end. The spacing in between could be a little different as mentioned, but 48" total width is pretty standard.

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Just as the length of the front of the white keys has been close to 1-7/8", and the length of the black keys 3-1/2". But there are variations.


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A slightly narrower black key can give the impression that the white is longer, as can (to a lesser extent) a reflective finish on the fallboard.


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