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#2238433 - 02/27/14 11:54 AM Are all piano keys the same size?
corysold Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/14
Posts: 22
I see many videos of people playing with what appears to be their fingers between the black keys, playing the whites. For the first time this week, I had a sequence that would have required such a technique, but my fingers don't fit between the keys!

I had somewhat large hands, but I don't think abnormally so. It didn't work on my teachers Kawai grand or my Kawai digital. So are all keys roughly the same size, or would this technique work on a different piano? I could press the key between, but I'd have to turn my finger sideways in an awkward way, which is less efficient than just using a different fingering.

So are players really playing between the black keys or is it just an illusion?

What impact would not being able to do this really have on playing various pieces?

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#2238436 - 02/27/14 12:21 PM Re: Are all piano keys the same size? [Re: corysold]
phantomFive Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1313
Loc: California
They are not all the same size.
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2238443 - 02/27/14 12:31 PM Re: Are all piano keys the same size? [Re: corysold]
wouter79 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3507
No keys are different. Not even on 1 piano. There is some pattern in it.

Between brands it's also different.

I have pretty thin fingers. I had one piece where I could not get one note played. I just dumped that note.
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#2238464 - 02/27/14 01:18 PM Re: Are all piano keys the same size? [Re: corysold]
Tubbie0075 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 544
Nope. I can manage to play the white keys between the blacks because my fingers are thin. My teacher has larger hands and bigger fingers (his hands can open up to intervals of 10th!). He manages it mostly by playing the white key at the edge of the black ones instead of going further into the black keys.

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#2238471 - 02/27/14 01:40 PM Re: Are all piano keys the same size? [Re: corysold]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
No, all the keys are not the same on a piano and also a little different from brand to brand. I would say since you and your teacher have Kawai, each brand tend to stick to the same standard more or less, so it is best to try your best to cope because you'll have to play your teacher's piano to get proper lesson on technique, so there is no real benefit in getting a piano with slightly bigger gap between black keys even if you find one.

Yes, playing between the black keys is necessary, not an illusion. You may need to figure out how to turn your hand a little. Some people play so close to the fallboard that their fallboards are all filled with scratch marks, but I think it's actually better if you stay as far away as possible since the closer you are to the fallboard, the less leverage and control you have.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2238472 - 02/27/14 01:40 PM Re: Are all piano keys the same size? [Re: corysold]
peterws Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3548
Loc: Northern England.
Originally Posted By: corysold
I see many videos of people playing with what appears to be their fingers between the black keys, playing the whites. For the first time this week, I had a sequence that would have required such a technique, but my fingers don't fit between the keys!

I had somewhat large hands, but I don't think abnormally so. It didn't work on my teachers Kawai grand or my Kawai digital. So are all keys roughly the same size, or would this technique work on a different piano? I could press the key between, but I'd have to turn my finger sideways in an awkward way, which is less efficient than just using a different fingering.

So are players really playing between the black keys or is it just an illusion?

What impact would not being able to do this really have on playing various pieces?


Whilst the key widths overall are similar, the black key thickness will vary. Amongst digitals, Kawai seem to have most room between the black keys; definitely an advantage for me although I don`t have one. So if you struggle with a Kawai, you certainly will with anything else.

Bluthner acoustics have even thinner black keys . . .!
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

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#2238528 - 02/27/14 02:45 PM Re: Are all piano keys the same size? [Re: peterws]
evamar Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/02/12
Posts: 541
Loc: Spanish living in UK
I can use my fingers between black keys in my Kawai CA65, it was one of the reasons I got it. Even the thumb! I can't really remember if I had a problem with a CN24, but that should mean that I didn't find it too difficult or I would remember. I think I have "normal" width fingers, but a bit short for somebody playing the piano as I can only do an 8th comfortably.

As others have said it would be easier to try to play the whites right under the black keys, also because you won't need as much strength as you do at the top of the keys. I was told that this is the best place to start, as you can mentally visualise the position of your hands on the keys without looking at the keyboard because the black keys help knowing where you are.
_________________________
Serious since Dec 2013. March 2014, Kawai CA95!

Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted



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#2238752 - 02/27/14 09:54 PM Re: Are all piano keys the same size? [Re: corysold]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4235
Loc: Arizona.
My fingers are fairly large and I was constantly getting 'stuck' between the black keys due to lack of white key space.

So what I did is paint the sides of the black keys white [using whiteout] and now my fingers fit much better.

Works for me smile

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#2238841 - 02/28/14 02:59 AM Re: Are all piano keys the same size? [Re: corysold]
DavidGR Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/17/13
Posts: 3
Loc: Greece
Hi corysold!

I also had this problem when I first encountered passages that required me to play white keys between the black keys. It turned out that my fingers actually fit, but not when then hand is too flat. So after a lot of very slow practice with fingers curved enough and maybe a tiny bit "sideways" I can play between the black keys and nowadays (around a year later) I don't think about this problem anymore.

Today when I thought about it again after reading your post, I noticed that I can actually feel the adjacent black keys on my finger but as long as I hit the key precisely in the center then they stay up. So, I would suggest that you work on this with you're teacher and you might find a way to make your fingers fit too. Good luck!

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#2239389 - 03/01/14 07:26 AM Re: Are all piano keys the same size? [Re: corysold]
kaanguner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/05/13
Posts: 87
I would like to ask a question slightly different.

Are playability in different brands and models of piano different, to what degree?

I have a m-audio keystation 61. It's not ABSOLUTELY GARBAGE. It helps me learn the piano. But at school once in a while I get the chance to play the pianos in music section. I was always playing at this one piano which it's keys were pretty hard, heavy. Then two days earlier i sat two different one and it felt weird. Like my keyboard and the other piano was two intruments and this new piano added as a third to this list.

And, after being played for a long time do the action of the keys change? As in they get heavier or lighter? There is a chance one of the pianos there might be older than the other.

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#2239645 - 03/01/14 04:37 PM Re: Are all piano keys the same size? [Re: corysold]
Sweet06 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 408
no, the chance is that those are real pianos and you are learning on a toy with spring loaded keys. Im not familiar with your model, but chances are its spring loaded keys not weighted like they should be to learn piano.
_________________________
"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"

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#2239653 - 03/01/14 05:05 PM Re: Are all piano keys the same size? [Re: kaanguner]
earlofmar Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1524
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: kaanguner
I would like to ask a question slightly different.

Are playability in different brands and models of piano different, to what degree?

I have a m-audio keystation 61. It's not ABSOLUTELY GARBAGE. It helps me learn the piano. But at school once in a while I get the chance to play the pianos in music section. I was always playing at this one piano which it's keys were pretty hard, heavy. Then two days earlier i sat two different one and it felt weird. Like my keyboard and the other piano was two intruments and this new piano added as a third to this list.

And, after being played for a long time do the action of the keys change? As in they get heavier or lighter? There is a chance one of the pianos there might be older than the other.


Yes there will be a large difference between pianos. Pianos need a regular service particularly for tuning, but they also reach a point where they need a major service. As they age wood dries out, springs become less effective and the result becomes noticeable. Here is an interesting post on how many parts are in a piano. All of these parts should be in good condition, but particularly the moving parts are going to effect key weight.
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