When you first wanted to learn the piano, you may be shocked by the price of a new piano. You will be left wondering and questioning yourself if you ever need a real piano in the first place. Furthermore, electronic keyboards are much cheaper and they seem to have all the basics and benefits of a piano. That is why some start learning to play keyboards first if they cannot afford a piano.
What can you say about the difference between piano and keyboard? Is there really a difference. Let’s go into details and find out. You may still be confused about the differences of the two, but we will try to enumerate what makes them differ from one another and help you decide about which one you are getting or learning.
Is There Any Difference Between Piano And Keyboard?
We must first establish and understand exactly what we are discussing about.
The piano is technically a stringed musical instrument like the violin but it is played percussively. Unlike the violin which is played with a bow. First, it will help to know how this instrument produces music.
In the piano, when a key is pressed, the wooden hammer will move and strike the string. The note with resonate from the soundboard. This resonance from the soundboard is the rich sound pianos are known for. Not two pianos sound exactly alike.
The body of the piano is large so the space within the piano will resonate the sound and make it richer. That is why a grand piano will always sound richer than an upright piano owing to its size.
A keyboard is actually wrongly named. The keyboard is technically a row of keys on a piano or we can safely say, part of a piano. But the keyboard has now been known as an electronic or digital piano.
The digital keyboards are run by electricity to produce their sound by using a synthesizer and amplified through speakers. There are no hammers and strings involved. All sounds are electronically produced and 2 keyboards can sound exactly alike.
To tell it simply, a piano is an acoustic instrument that has weighted keys whereas a keyboard is electric with lighter or unweighted keys. Now let’s look closely at the major differences between the two musical instruments.
The Feel And Touch Of The Piano
The first major difference between the two is with the keys.
The piano keys are heavier to touch as they carry the weight of the hammers. You will feel more attachment when playing the piano. Each touch and pressure on the keyboard will produce a different volume and dynamic to the sound, unlike the keyboard.
The feel and touch of the piano will give you more dynamics and musicality.
Keyboards are fast catching up with technology. There are already touch-sensitive models being sold today but they still cannot match the sound and dynamic of a mechanical piano. Since the sound is electronically and not organically produce they just do not have the dynamic range of a real piano. The sound is produced by speakers as opposed to the wooden soundboard. There is simply no dynamic in the sound of the keyboard.
The keyboard keys are significantly lighter to touch than piano keys. They don’t respond as well as a piano does to your fingers. They are easier for a beginner. A young child may not feel tired very quickly opposed to playing on a piano which is much heavier to touch. Every note needs an effort as they need to move the hammer physically to strike the keys.
Another noticeable difference between a piano and a keyboard is the number of keys. A piano in its full size has 88 keys while a keyboard has about 61 to 76.
The Maintenance And Longevity
A 244-year-old piano which was once owned by the first Duke of Wellington was used to perform in a concert at Apsley House in 2013.
A quality piano can last for hundreds of years if they are properly maintained and serviced regularly.
The maintenance of these sensitive instruments is not easy. First, they must be kept away from damp and mold. It must be serviced regularly and restrung occasionally. This must be done by professional piano technicians and not by ‘DIY’ method. Thus maintaining a piano is an expensive task.
If the piano is well taken care of, it will definitely last a very long time. There is no limit to it.
A digital keyboard will not last as long as the piano. Cheaper ones may breakdown after a few years. Higher-end models may last longer. This is because electronic parts have a life span. This is especially true with capacitors as the electrolytic will dry up. Parts used may not be in production and therefore no replacement parts can be found.
Maintenance of the keyboard is cheaper than a full-size piano. It is a matter of keeping it clean and dry and not letting water ruin the electronic parts. There is no need for regular tuning or service required.
The Weight And Functionality
There is no question about it, pianos are big and heavy. The smallest of upright piano can easily weight 400-500 lbs. The larger grand pianos can easily tip the scales at 1200 lbs.
Moving a piano is no easy task and most likely to be handled by a professional piano mover. There are many logistic obstacles to overcome. If not handled properly it can result in damages to properties and in worst-case scenario, injuries to the mover.
Keyboards on the other hand are normally lightweight and can be moved or carried by one person. The setup is simple and they can be dismantled to fit in a car, and reassembled at the new location. No need to hire expensive piano mover;
Here in functionality, the keyboard can easily beat the piano when it comes to flexibility.
Piano can only make one sound. That is the dynamic range of notes but still one sound.
The keyboard on the other spectrum has the ability to play different sounds. It can play the sounds of different musical instruments. All these sounds or voices are programmed in the keyboard memories. By pressing a button it can play the sound of other instruments, like the violin and even brass instruments. It even has the ability to play background music.
All in all, it is a very versatile musical instrument.
The Price Difference Between Pianos And Keyboards
The most glaring difference between piano and keyboard is the price.
Pianos usually start at a price in the low thousands and can range up to the price of a house. They can be considered an investment. The price range is normally outside the budgets of beginners and those who are not sure how long they will stick to piano playing.
Keyboards usually start at a very reasonable price. Sometimes within a hundred dollar range. The higher models can sometimes cost as much as an upright piano. Whichever way you look at it, it is still the cheaper option.
It is important to investing in a piano carefully. After paying for the piano, you must consider the expenses for maintenance and upkeep. Without proper maintenance, the value of the piano will drop drastically. If getting yourself a brand new piano is too much of an investment for you, the next alternative will be owning a pre-owned piano. If you aren’t sure which piano is suitable for you yet, you can always contact our team for a free consultation on choosing the right second hand piano that is suitable for your needs.
The Question Now Is Should You Get A Piano or Keyboard?
Here is a list of factors to consider before making your decision.
- Your Budget
- Your Level of Proficiency
- Your Available Space
- Your intended Use
If you are a piano teacher, the obvious choice will be the traditional piano. Piano lessons will teach you to read and play notes in each hand while a keyboard lesson will only teach you to read the right hand or melody notes as the left-hand plays simple block or 1-finger chords. For a studio musician who lives in a home studio may need a high-end digital keyboard for his work.
A beginner who just started attending piano classes will need to ask himself, how long he intended to play the instrument.
These two instruments serve the same purpose. But one must decide properly and keep in mind all the factors discussed above. Overall, it boils down to personal choice. The keyboard is for you if you want to enjoy different rhythms and sounds. A piano is for you if you know you can push yourself to the limits. Feel free to contact us today to help you make the better choice.