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When installing a digital piano, I have the freedom of vertically placing the entire piano at any height I want.

But, I want to know what the ideal (preferred) height is. Is there a standard height?

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Any height? So do you mean you have an adjustable keyboard stand? I find them very wobbly! (Compared to the wooden box I'm currently using) –  Lee Kowalkowski 1 hour ago
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5 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The exact height of the keyboard off the floor is less important than the distance between the keyboard and your seat. (Most chairs are too low to the ground to be good as a piano stool) I'd agree with @Jeffrey that forearms-parallel-to-the-floor is a good starting point, also that your knees don't get wedged out of the way by the bottom of the keyboard.

One other thing-- in my experience, most students sit too close to the keyboard. (This may have to do with sitting at a desk most of the time, or with sitting at a piano for the first time while small and then gradually growing and not resetting one's idea of a best distance.)

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Clear answer. I'll try that. –  Kriem Sep 10 '11 at 10:22
    
I vehemently disagree about the arm being parallel to the floor. To effectively transmit force from the arm to the finger tips, the arm must form an arch from the elbow to the fingertips. More specifically then, the fingertips and the elbow ought to rest on the same plane. Clearly different. –  Josh Infiesto Oct 5 '11 at 19:27
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For best ergonomics, I was always taught that my forearms should be parallel with the floor, with the fingers resting comfortably on top of the piano keys - so, the arms should be a little above the level of the keys, not reaching up or reaching down. I'd adjust the piano so that the correct piano-playing posture (seated on edge of seat, heel on floor to control pedal) is most comfortable.

More detail here: http://www.wellbalancedpianist.com/bpseatingguide.htm

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So if I put the piano on a table and just heighten my seat so that my arms are parallel to the floor, it should be OK then? –  Raskolnikov Sep 9 '11 at 11:36
    
I heard some believe it's 28 inches, regardless person height? –  Kriem Sep 9 '11 at 17:15
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@Kriem That's definitely wrong. As Jeffrey says your forearms should be parallel to the floor (and the keyboard). As well your hands should be an inch or two higher than the keys so that you can play with your hands flat and your fingers appropriate curled, instead of with your fingers flat. Wrists straight. –  Matthew Read Sep 9 '11 at 22:50
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@Raskolnikov: If you can still reach your pedal, sure, why not? The important measurement is the distance between your butt and the keys, not the keys and the floor. –  Babu Sep 10 '11 at 3:56
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There are rules for good ergonomics and placing the least amount of stress on your body when you play. Google the Alexander Technique for one approach.

Then there are many pianists who never cared about posture. Two examples (coming from rather opposite approaches to piano-playing) are the world-famous acoustic pianists Glenn Gould and Keith Jarret, who threw all the rules out of the window and spent their careers making amazing music played with horribly bad, stressful posture.

In other words, when you get right down to it, there are no rules. Do what feels best for your body.

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Yay! I often stand, burn more calories! –  Lee Kowalkowski 1 hour ago
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In terms of standard height:
A Steinway large grand piano I believe is 28 1/8" (71,5 cm) high from the floor to the top of the white keys. You could call that a standard.
The hight varies for different makers, and pianos, with over an inch higher and lower than that.
(My Yamaha upright piano is 28 3/8" [72 cm].)

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Of course you should have a piano bench that is adjusted appropriately for you in order to have a good playing posture. –  Ulf Åkerstedt Jun 7 '12 at 14:46
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As a son of a pianist who taught as well as giving performances, I learned that it is the stool that matters for adjusting access to the keyboard, but the original question asks about the key height. This is not yet well-answered, and it does matter, for the simple reason that a piano is not exactly portable, and cannot be adjusted at will like the stool! For installing a keyboard the height is important because it is the one constant reference to the floor by which all other adjustments are themselves referred.

If someone with access to a room full of pianos could measure and quote several specific examples then this question will be properly answered. Another important measurement that should also be taken in each context is the height of the underside of the keybed above the ground below, because no matter how you adjust the stool, a critical and unadjustable distance is the space available for legroom when using the pedals! Some pianos (and especially electronic actions) may have widely varied thickness of keybed from underside to key tops. This detail is more important than the key-to-floor height alone, because there may be nothing you can do to change it, so it governs all the other adjustments to be made, such as stool height and setback from the front edges of the keys.

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