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Is 88 keys enough? #2742154
06/04/18 06:52 PM
06/04/18 06:52 PM
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Manannan Offline OP
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So I would really hate coming across pieces of music where I'd have to compensate for not have a lower base note. I want to be able to play the original sheet music. I know there aren't as much works that go so low but I may just be paranoid. Is 88 keys pretty much standard or that too little?

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Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: Manannan] #2742162
06/04/18 07:53 PM
06/04/18 07:53 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,806
Florida
cmb13 Online content
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Welll there are some pianos with a few more but I haven't needed one.


Boston 118 PE

Working On
Chopin Nocturne 72.1
Bach Goldberg Aria
Bach WTC Prelude D min
Piazzolla Invierno Porteno
Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: Manannan] #2742163
06/04/18 07:56 PM
06/04/18 07:56 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,806
Florida
cmb13 Online content
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If it's within your budget I'd go for this baby


Bosendorfer Imperial Grand 290


Boston 118 PE

Working On
Chopin Nocturne 72.1
Bach Goldberg Aria
Bach WTC Prelude D min
Piazzolla Invierno Porteno
Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: Manannan] #2742165
06/04/18 08:05 PM
06/04/18 08:05 PM
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bennevis Offline
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Sure, if you see yourself playing Bartók's piano concertos and sonata BB88, a few of Busoni's transcriptions, Bax's sonatas, Ravel's Jeux d'eau etc, you'll need the Bösendorfer Imperial or Stuart & Sons to play the extra low notes.

Otherwise, make do with 88 keys, like most concert pianists do (even when playing the above) - play the bottom A when a lower note is called for: the ear can hardly tell the difference between that and lower notes.........


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: cmb13] #2742166
06/04/18 08:07 PM
06/04/18 08:07 PM
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Zilthy Offline
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88 keys is pretty much standard. Anything more is likely to be fairly niche.

Originally Posted by cmb13
If it's within your budget I'd go for this baby


Bosendorfer Imperial Grand 290


Hehe. Pretty sure that costs over twice as much as my house. laugh

Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: Zilthy] #2742180
06/04/18 09:14 PM
06/04/18 09:14 PM
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Manannan Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Zilthy
88 keys is pretty much standard. Anything more is likely to be fairly niche.

Originally Posted by cmb13
If it's within your budget I'd go for this baby


Bosendorfer Imperial Grand 290


Hehe. Pretty sure that costs over twice as much as my house. laugh

Yes I figure he pulled a funny on me.

Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: Manannan] #2742184
06/04/18 09:48 PM
06/04/18 09:48 PM
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I have 176 keys in my living room.


Semipro Tech
Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: Manannan] #2742191
06/04/18 11:48 PM
06/04/18 11:48 PM
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PhilipInChina Offline
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I find it far too many!


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: Manannan] #2742192
06/04/18 11:54 PM
06/04/18 11:54 PM
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Quebec city, QC
CadenzaVvi Offline
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I didn't know more than 88 notes was a thing for "regular" pianists.

I went to check Jeux d'eau and a standard 88 keys is enough : you'll use the last, bottom note, but you don't need to go below that.

So yes, definitely, I wouldn't be worried with an 88 keys piano.


My piano journey from day 1
Started piano on February 2016.
Pieces I'm working on :
- Rameau, Les Sauvages
- Beethoven, sonata op. 49, no. 1, 1st mov
- Chopin, nocturne op. posth. in C# minor
- Debussy, Golliwog's cakewalk
Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: Manannan] #2742195
06/05/18 12:10 AM
06/05/18 12:10 AM
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In the early days of harpsichords, the lowest keys would be tuned to the notes that were needed, sometimes more than an octave below the key an octave above. This was called a short octave. Some variation of this might work, if you know how to tune. You would probably have to tune for the specific piece.


Semipro Tech
Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: CadenzaVvi] #2742218
06/05/18 04:24 AM
06/05/18 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Jouishy
I didn't know more than 88 notes was a thing for "regular" pianists.

I went to check Jeux d'eau and a standard 88 keys is enough : you'll use the last, bottom note, but you don't need to go below that.

So yes, definitely, I wouldn't be worried with an 88 keys piano.


That was the one and only piece I attempted that used the lowest standard piano note, but only once shortly after the glissando if I remember correctly. I most probably played the highest note I ever played from that piece too. Ravel certainly made me got my money's worth!



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Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: CadenzaVvi] #2742222
06/05/18 04:35 AM
06/05/18 04:35 AM
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bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted by Jouishy
I didn't know more than 88 notes was a thing for "regular" pianists.

I went to check Jeux d'eau and a standard 88 keys is enough : you'll use the last, bottom note, but you don't need to go below that.

So yes, definitely, I wouldn't be worried with an 88 keys piano.

There is a low G sharp (below A) in Jeux d'eau, which in some editions have been altered to A, so that less-well-endowed pianists wouldn't feel deprived.

In fact, in Scarbo, a similar situation arises too - there are three bars in octaves in LH which should contain F double sharps and G sharps, but the lower notes are written as bottom A and A sharp as compromise for those who only have 88 keys.

BTW, Ravel had an Erard which goes down to bottom G, and wrote for it.......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: Manannan] #2742229
06/05/18 06:03 AM
06/05/18 06:03 AM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 164
England
Lillith Offline
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Being on the cautious side, I'd like a few more than 88 keys so there are some spare for emergencies.
You never know when you might need them.


White Roland FP30
Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: Manannan] #2742235
06/05/18 07:13 AM
06/05/18 07:13 AM
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For musical reasons; maybe, maybe not.

For mere mechanical reasons of manufacture(modularity) ; there COULD be rationale for making keyboards that are some multiple of 12, e.g. 48, 60, 72, 84, 96, 108 etc. 120 ? probably not.
The VAXmidi successor tried to do it with multiples of 24, e.g. 72 and 96 - with an option on which note was lowest.

Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: Manannan] #2742241
06/05/18 07:54 AM
06/05/18 07:54 AM
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Florida
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I don’t think the original question was about designing a piano. Isn’t there a easy answer to the original poster? Over 99.9% of all music does not need more than 88 keys, and we can discuss only a handful.

If we can think of only a couple of pianos that have more than 88 keys, that should be enough to satisfy the OP. Most concert pianist play on pianos that have 88 keys both at home and in concert


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: Manannan] #2742248
06/05/18 08:49 AM
06/05/18 08:49 AM
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New York City
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I could never understand any pianos that add keys in the treble. Stuart & Sons is the only maker that I know that does this. On virtually any piano the top few notes are extremely unmusical and thin sounding so anything beyond the usual highest note would be even more so.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 06/05/18 08:50 AM.
Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: Lillith] #2742260
06/05/18 10:06 AM
06/05/18 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Lillith
Being on the cautious side, I'd like a few more than 88 keys so there are some spare for emergencies.
You never know when you might need them.

I'm even more cautious than you, which is why my dream piano (in my dreams) is the Bösendorfer Imperial.

When I spent an afternoon on one in its Vienna showroom while on my travels, I made every effort to use those extra keys, not just in the usual suspects like La cathédral engloutie. I believe everyone can benefit from extra notes, no matter what Joseph II might say........ wink


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: bennevis] #2742264
06/05/18 10:31 AM
06/05/18 10:31 AM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 284
Quebec city, QC
CadenzaVvi Offline
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Jouishy
I didn't know more than 88 notes was a thing for "regular" pianists.

I went to check Jeux d'eau and a standard 88 keys is enough : you'll use the last, bottom note, but you don't need to go below that.

So yes, definitely, I wouldn't be worried with an 88 keys piano.

There is a low G sharp (below A) in Jeux d'eau, which in some editions have been altered to A, so that less-well-endowed pianists wouldn't feel deprived.

In fact, in Scarbo, a similar situation arises too - there are three bars in octaves in LH which should contain F double sharps and G sharps, but the lower notes are written as bottom A and A sharp as compromise for those who only have 88 keys.

BTW, Ravel had an Erard which goes down to bottom G, and wrote for it.......

Oh, ok, thanks for this info.
I went on IMSLP and took the first score to check. That explain why I didn't see anything lower than last A.


I stay on my position though : considering this is posting in ABF, I don't see how not having those extra keys will be a problem for an amateur, hence more if beginner. There are very few pieces using those notes, and if there are editions that remove them, you can still go around.

My tearcher played Jeux d'eau in concert. I could ask him if he had a bigger piano than 88-notes. But since conservatory piano are standard 88-notes, it would have been weird that he has to practice on 88-notes pianos and perform on a bigger one (but still possible is this only affect one note, I suppose).


My piano journey from day 1
Started piano on February 2016.
Pieces I'm working on :
- Rameau, Les Sauvages
- Beethoven, sonata op. 49, no. 1, 1st mov
- Chopin, nocturne op. posth. in C# minor
- Debussy, Golliwog's cakewalk
Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: BDB] #2742389
06/05/18 07:25 PM
06/05/18 07:25 PM
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Posts: 9
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Manannan Offline OP
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Originally Posted by BDB
In the early days of harpsichords, the lowest keys would be tuned to the notes that were needed, sometimes more than an octave below the key an octave above. This was called a short octave. Some variation of this might work, if you know how to tune. You would probably have to tune for the specific piece.

That's a good idea, or maybe some sort of program I can put in a digital piano to be able to temporarily change octaves.

Re: Is 88 keys enough? [Re: Manannan] #2742394
06/05/18 08:52 PM
06/05/18 08:52 PM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 284
Quebec city, QC
CadenzaVvi Offline
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Quebec city, QC
I know some Roland pianos allow you to re-tune every single note, so yeah, with a digital piano, you could do that (not every digital, of course...).


My piano journey from day 1
Started piano on February 2016.
Pieces I'm working on :
- Rameau, Les Sauvages
- Beethoven, sonata op. 49, no. 1, 1st mov
- Chopin, nocturne op. posth. in C# minor
- Debussy, Golliwog's cakewalk
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