Today we’re gonna be addressing what apparently is a very popular question, how many keys are on a piano?
We’re going to expand that slightly to address another question that comes up with how many strings are also on a piano? So we’re gonna talk about both of those questions today and this should be a nice quick overview.
Hopefully, you will get the answer you’re obviously looking for.
How Many Keys On A Piano Keyboard?
So let’s talk about the keys first. You might actually be surprised to realize that the number of keys that are standard on pianos today which is 88.
By the way, was not always the case if we go back in history as pianos were being experimented with and the whole design was evolving through the 18th and 19th century.
There were keys as low as 40 on some of the early harpsichord instruments. Of course by the late 1800s that number had generally settled in and around 85.
So you can still find vintage stein ways and vintage European pianos out there from the late 1880s or 1890s that actually have 85 keys on them.
There were also some upright pianos built in the 20th century that also had 85 keys under the premise of being a little bit smaller for say apartments and smaller living spaces like that.
But here in 2019, the standard set of keys on both an upright and a grand piano these days is 88 and that’s, of course, a combination of the white keys as well as the Black Keys.
The lowest note being an A and the highest note being a C now, of course, there are some less mainstream instruments out there that have even more than 88.
Notes at this point, so many people will be familiar with the buzzing door for imperial grand that actually has 97 notes and all of those extra notes actually are on the lower side of the instrument.
So there’s almost a full octave of notes that happen below that egg goes all the way down to a lower C again and then there’s a manufacturer in Australia, called “Stuart and Sons” and they fairly recently released a new model that has 108 keys.
Now nothing even comes close to that and there are so few of those that there’s a good chance you’ll never even see one in person but for all intents and purposes, the correct answer is 88.
How Many Strings Are On A Piano?
Now another question that does come up is how many strings are on a piano? Well, there’s even less agreement between manufacturers on what the correct number of strings on a piano should really be.
It generally falls somewhere between 220 to 240 strings. 230 tends to be an average number but here’s the reason why there’s no specific agreement on the number of strings even though there tends to be agreement on the number of keys.
Now there are pianos where those single strings actually go up further than that first octave and so, that would obviously decrease the total number of strings.
Now moving up from those single string notes on the bottom, you now hit what called the buy chords or really just two string notes and that generally occupies somewhere between one to two octaves.
In this sort of lower tenor range and on the on this particular piano, it stretches from the up to the D. When you see an instrument there’s a manufacturer called Luton er in Germany, that on the very top part of the piano there’s actually a fourth-string per note.
It’s added even though interestingly that string isn’t actually struck by the hammer. That string is just left open to resonate and that’s what they call their aliquot scale.
But they’re the only ones that do that most manufacturers just have those three strings. So there you have it the answers to both how many notes are on a piano and how many strings are on a piano eighty-eight, of course, is the standard number of notes we have right now in 2020.