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Posted By: Manannan Is 88 keys enough? - 06/04/18 11:52 PM
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?
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/05/18 12:53 AM
Welll there are some pianos with a few more but I haven't needed one.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/05/18 12:56 AM
If it's within your budget I'd go for this baby


Bosendorfer Imperial Grand 290
Posted By: bennevis Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/05/18 01:05 AM
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.........
Posted By: Zilthy Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/05/18 01:07 AM
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
Posted By: Manannan Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/05/18 02:14 AM
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.
Posted By: BDB Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/05/18 02:48 AM
I have 176 keys in my living room.
Posted By: PhilipInChina Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/05/18 04:48 AM
I find it far too many!
Posted By: CadenzaVvi Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/05/18 04:54 AM
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.
Posted By: BDB Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/05/18 05:10 AM
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.
Posted By: Tubbie0075 Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/05/18 09:24 AM
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!
Posted By: bennevis Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/05/18 09:35 AM
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.......
Posted By: Lillith Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/05/18 11:03 AM
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.
Posted By: R_B Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/05/18 12:13 PM
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.
Posted By: dogperson Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/05/18 12:54 PM
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
Posted By: pianoloverus Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/05/18 01:49 PM

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.
Posted By: bennevis Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/05/18 03:06 PM
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
Posted By: CadenzaVvi Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/05/18 03:31 PM
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).
Posted By: Manannan Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/06/18 12:25 AM
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.
Posted By: CadenzaVvi Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/06/18 01:52 AM
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...).
Posted By: Rob Mullins Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/06/18 06:00 AM
We had an Imperial Grand at Pierre's Fine Pianos
a few years back. It was hard to discern the pitches
below low A, but some people feel that need and
we are happy to give them what they want.
Posted By: PhilipInChina Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/06/18 06:54 AM
My hearing is so shot that I doubt if I would hear much beyond the standard range of an 88 key keyboard.
Posted By: R_B Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/06/18 11:37 AM
Originally Posted by dogperson
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



Well, I *DID* address the musical question first.

Building at costs that are acceptable to wider audiences COULD encourage greater acceptance, use and composition for the greater range.
As long as >88 is only available at Bosendorfer and Stuart prices very few of us will even try to play the limited repertoire and little more will be written. Chicken/egg egg/chicken.

Not that "build it and they will come" always works, but there are SO MANY examples of the market not knowing that they wanted something until it was offered.
Market research answers hind sight questions, etc.

"At home" I would like the range of 96 or even 108 for under $5K, preferably under $2K.
No good reason, a "like", a "want", not a "need to have: so I can play a particular set of pieces.
Posted By: XenondiFluoride Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/06/18 05:37 PM
85 is plenty for nearly everything, 88 is great, past that more power to you, but hats off to the piano makers pushing the limits.
Posted By: BDB Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/06/18 05:40 PM
I have tuned an Imperial once or twice, and some of the 92 note Bösendorfers, and I found that I could hear the relationships all the way down pretty well. It would have been more difficult on a smaller piano. In most cases, the longer the piano, the easier it is to tune.
Posted By: Doritos Flavoured Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/06/18 09:44 PM
most of the best music in the classical repertoire fit well within 5 octaves, rarely exceeding that...
Posted By: bennevis Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/06/18 09:55 PM
Originally Posted by Doritos Flavoured
most of the best music in the classical repertoire fit well within 5 octaves, rarely exceeding that...

That would depend on your definition of 'best music'.

Most of the pieces in my rep easily exceed 5 octaves, from mid-Beethoven onwards (Luddy's 1817 Broadwood has six octaves, from CC to c'''').
Posted By: Lakeviewsteve Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/09/18 09:21 PM
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'll go with that.... emergencies can be nasty when there aren't enough keys and you start banging your fingers on wood down there.

Steve
Posted By: JohnSprung Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/21/18 11:04 PM
Originally Posted by Manannan
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.


Most digitals have a transpose function, +/- 12 semitones. So, you can hear what those low notes sound like for free. You just have to temporarily give up an equal number from the high end.
Posted By: Rob Mullins Re: Is 88 keys enough? - 06/23/18 07:06 AM
If you can do what George Shearing did from C2-C5,
you would be surprised at how well you would get by
with only a few octaves..........
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