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Joined: Mar 2008
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It happened several times with me that visually I feel that some of American Steinways appear to have smaller keys.
I took the measurement of the length of the key, but it turns out exactly the same as that of my piano.I asked my friend regarding this matter. He stated that he had this experience when he competed at the Junior Tschaikovsky in Japan.

Have you ever had this experience with Steinway? It really freaks me out, because it makes me insecure right away, I was afraid of making mistakes. It never happened with Fazioli, Yamaha, Kawai, Bosendorfer. They look the same size wise, only with SOME of the American Steinways.

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Do you mean length or width?

Length definitely can vary between pianos. I don't know if it's particularly one brand more than any other.

If you mean width:

Some pianos might have the keys thinner or wider than on other pianos, but that's completely compensated by whatever is the 'gap' between keys, so that the intervals from one key to the next wind up being the same on the different pianos.
i.e. Fatter keys, less gap; thinner keys, more gap

......actually I'm not sure this applies to white keys, but I know it applies to black keys. They're definitely fatter or thinner on different pianos.

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Boxier black keys can give the impression that the white keys are shorter.

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Thank you Mark,

The first impression is both the length and the width. But, I had proved that the length is actually exactly the same, not even 1 mm shorter. I do not know why it is visually different.

You are correct, the black keys must be thinner, but the gaps do compensate the difference.

Actually on top of the width of the black keys, the way the black keys were cut is also different from other brands. But, not all Steinways have this problem. For example the old Steinway D in Longy hall was very good, but the new one has the problem that I described above, not to mention the stiff action.

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A while ago someone asked about the width of keyboards, so I started measuring them. I found that Steinways used keyboards of differing widths at various times. Some were narrower and others were wider, varying in both directions at different times.


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Thank BDB, you answered my question.


Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

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