Over the years, people haven’t been able to differentiate between a piano and a keyboard in terms of functionality. Getting started in piano can have you shocked at initial prices of pianos. Pianos are deemed to be very expensive instruments and they are costly to maintain too.
Keyboards are rather cheap and readily available unlike the piano, they have low maintenance costs and have the same basic benefits of a piano. Here are some of the differences between a keyboard and a piano:
Type Of Instrument
Though it doesn’t bear much of the resemblance from a guitar, a piano is actually a stringed instrument that is played percussively. When you press a piano key, it prompts a wooden hammer to strike the strings. The note resonates in the body of the piano to produce a rich sound. This sound is what pianos are so famous for.
A keyboard is part of instruments that are called misnomers. The name keyboard actually refers to the row of keys on a piano, it has further evolved and it has become synonymous with digital or electric pianos. A keyboard then uses electricity to produce sound. Sound is produced from a synthesizer rather than strings and hammers as seen in a piano.
Touch And Feel
A big difference between the keyboard and piano can be derived from the keys. The keys on a piano are heavier and carry the weight of the hammer on them. Playing a piano gives you an organic feel, the pressure applied on the key affects the dynamics of the sound. This gives you the ability to significantly control on the dynamics and musicality.
In as much as keyboards are trying to catch up with pianos by creating touch sensitive models. The touch sensitive models are no match to pianos but they try. The keys on a keyboard are light and don’t require a lot of pressure to press them. Many keyboards lack the dynamic range of pianos. The keys on a keyboard are preferred for beginners or children without enough strength to play a piano.
Maintenance And Longevity
A 240 year old piano was played back in 2013. It was owned by the first Duke of Wellington. Pianos can last for years if they are maintained well. They are known as musical Galapagos Tortoise. Maintenance of a piano is no simple feat though, a piano must be kept dampness and moisture to prevent growth of mold.
They need to restrung often and they need repairs from time to time. Most of these are not DIYs and require the work of a professional. This makes the maintenance of a piano very expensive. If it is properly cared for, there’s no telling how long a piano can last.
Digital keyboards can’t keep up with pianos though. The cheaper models tend to malfunction after a few years of use.
Other high quality, mid-level and high level models have been seen to last for decades and still play fine. A keyboard doesn’t require much maintenance. It only needs to be kept dry and following electrical guidelines.
Weight And Practicality
Pianos are very heavy instruments. They are made out of solid hardwood and are quite heavy. A small upright piano can weigh an average 400-500 lbs. Large grand pianos have been measured to weigh 1200 lbs. That’s almost the size of a full grown polar bear. Moving a piano is not easy and the logistics are sizeable. It is especially hard when you are moving it up a bunch of stairs.
Keyboards on the other hand are very light. A keyboard can be carried by a single person with ease. Setup is simple and it’s not a big hassle. A keyboard can be transported from one area to another by using a car.
Pianos produce one sound, the sound made can be produced in a range of dynamics and notes. When it comes to functionality, the keyboard is better and outwits the piano. Keyboards can produce various sounds and the sound can be altered to fit all manner of musical needs. A piano is rather great for studios, those that require unique sounds and the ability to plug them in to mixing software.
One undisputed on keyboard vs piano is that pianos are more expensive than keyboards. Traditional pianos have a starting price of thousands of dollars and can reach the price of a brand new luxury car. A piano is an investment. Keyboards are priced in the low hundreds with high end models priced like a small upright piano.