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Thanks dogperson!

I'll put the image here:

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ETA: So, I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't want either the waterfall or diving board style. After all these years of playing, I would definitely notice it and for big chords, runs, etc., I bet it would trip me up.

ETA part 2: Ok, I just read the comments on the link that dogperson shared, and now I think I might have to change my mind re the waterfall style... I can "play" a tenth in my left hand (not in my RH, I think that's because I played classical guitar in HS, which improved my LH but did nothing for my RH).... Anyway, I play a tenth w/ LH but it's a struggle and I have to be playing super slow. I am wondering if the waterfall style would make it easier...

Interesting to think about!

See, these super old threads can sometimes be good to bring back!

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 04/25/21 04:00 PM.

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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Waterfall style keys would not offer any advantage on a hammer weight keybed and instrument with varying dynamics because it still would not support palm glissandos very well.

That, however, doesn't tell me what disadvantage they would bring.
The extra millimetre on piano keys doesn't convince me as important, but if someone can vouch for it then I'm willing to listen.
All else being equal, I immensely prefer the look of waterfall keys.

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At this point, the question is moot. Pianos are not being made with waterfall keys any longer. The material that they were made of has to be handled as hazardous material, as it is highly flammable, and can be unstable, like acetate film.


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Originally Posted by entonio
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Waterfall style keys would not offer any advantage on a hammer weight keybed and instrument with varying dynamics because it still would not support palm glissandos very well.

That, however, doesn't tell me what disadvantage they would bring.
The extra millimetre on piano keys doesn't convince me as important, but if someone can vouch for it then I'm willing to listen.
All else being equal, I immensely prefer the look of waterfall keys.

One disadvantage for piano keys would be higher cost with no compensating benefit. Waterfall actions are usually implemented on electronic organs with shorter keys than piano keys. Many pipe organs have diving board style keys.

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The extra mm of keytop on a piano key also means that it protrudes beyond neighboring keys when it is depressed. This may extend interval reach.

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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by entonio
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Waterfall style keys would not offer any advantage on a hammer weight keybed and instrument with varying dynamics because it still would not support palm glissandos very well.

That, however, doesn't tell me what disadvantage they would bring.
The extra millimetre on piano keys doesn't convince me as important, but if someone can vouch for it then I'm willing to listen.
All else being equal, I immensely prefer the look of waterfall keys.

One disadvantage for piano keys would be higher cost with no compensating benefit. Waterfall actions are usually implemented on electronic organs with shorter keys than piano keys. Many pipe organs have diving board style keys.

Why is it that waterfall keys would be more expensive?

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The front faces of the keys would need to be covered just like the tops and the front face and top would have to meet with a seamless, smooth transition. There is much less finishing work on the keysticks with just a keytop that overhangs the key a little.

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Originally Posted by gwing
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by entonio
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Waterfall style keys would not offer any advantage on a hammer weight keybed and instrument with varying dynamics because it still would not support palm glissandos very well.

That, however, doesn't tell me what disadvantage they would bring.
The extra millimetre on piano keys doesn't convince me as important, but if someone can vouch for it then I'm willing to listen.
All else being equal, I immensely prefer the look of waterfall keys.

One disadvantage for piano keys would be higher cost with no compensating benefit. Waterfall actions are usually implemented on electronic organs with shorter keys than piano keys. Many pipe organs have diving board style keys.

Why is it that waterfall keys would be more expensive?


BDB explained in his post that the material to make the waterfall was highly flammable and no longer used


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Quote
BDB explained in his post that the material to make the waterfall was highly flammable and no longer used.
I don't think it would have to use that material.

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It has been a while since I have seen a piano with waterfall keys, but I think that there was a slight radius to the front edge of the wood. The material was undoubtedly heated to curve over that edge, so it would conform to that curve. (The heating would be a fire hazard in itself.) If it were replaced with a molded keytop, the radius would have to be more closely controlled.

But really, there is no need for waterfall keys any longer. Keytops come with key fronts now, so there is almost no chance that someone will catch their finger on the lip of a key and lift the top off. They could be made, but they look really cheap, and there is more of a chance that your fingers could slip off.


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The motivation for the question was largely that Yamaha put out its YC61 with gorgeous waterfall keys, but then the YC73 and YC88 have regular boring keys. In fairness one may ask what's the purpose of the YC73 and YC88 even - as it stands they're organs with piano keyboards. If they did combine waterfall keys with piano action, then they'd have a distinctive feature.

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The YC61 action is optimized for organ-- semi-weighted waterfall action. The YC88 action is optimized for piano-- graded hammer weight triple sensor action. The YC73 is optimized for Rhodes EP-- balanced hammer weight action. All three keyboards offer pianos, organs, and EPs. The action style and number of keys on each keyboard is optimized one of the three sound engines in each case. A waterfall key design offers no advantage with a hammer weight action.

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There would be the advantge of being unique - seeing as they already are organs with piano actions, regardless of the included sounds.

The best I've seen so far is that the edge on piano keys may help reach. I can't argue with that, I just wonder if that's really a factor for the pieces most players play.

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Unique does not imply superior. Waterfall key surfaces support organ techniques that do not work on weighted actions.

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Waterfall keys on pianos look cheap, because they were, and if you need to have an awkward stretch, your finger may slide off.


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Originally Posted by entonio
There would be the advantge of being unique - seeing as they already are organs with piano actions, regardless of the included sounds.

The YC88 is a digital stage piano that also has a virtual drawbar organ and electric piano samples.

The Kawai MP7SE similarly has a virtual drawbar organ.

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Originally Posted by BDB
It has been a while since I have seen a piano with waterfall keys, but I think that there was a slight radius to the front edge of the wood. The material was undoubtedly heated to curve over that edge, so it would conform to that curve. (The heating would be a fire hazard in itself.) If it were replaced with a molded keytop, the radius would have to be more closely controlled.

But really, there is no need for waterfall keys any longer. Keytops come with key fronts now, so there is almost no chance that someone will catch their finger on the lip of a key and lift the top off. They could be made, but they look really cheap, and there is more of a chance that your fingers could slip off.

I read once about pianos being shipped out to tropcal places, usually within the British Empire. they had rounded keys to prevent the key tops being affected adversely by the weather out there. I think they were pinned in some way on the vertical surface. Somebody confirm this? There must be a few o' those still in India . . .

Last edited by peterws; 04/30/21 01:42 PM.

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