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I might be planning to buy a keyboard in the near feature, now I see they come in different amount of keys. It makes me wonder for how many keys I should go, more allows more complex music...

But how do I get an idea of the complexity of music that a certain amount of keys allow?

Edit: Are there lists of repertoire available that use the outer octaves of the keyboard, or should I instead ask a new question for them?

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What do you want to play? Classical? Jazz? Rock accompanyment? It depends a huge lot on this. For the first two, the standard 88 keys should be enough. What are your options? – Noldorin May 13 '11 at 23:48
@Noldorin: I don't think 88 keys are standard for a piano keyboard, or at least not from an enthusiast perspective. I would be playing different types of music, my music taste is kind of all-round with some exceptions. I think style should not matter, I've seen a site mention complexity but I don't have an idea how the complexity scale maps back to the amount of keys... – Tom Wijsman May 13 '11 at 23:51
@tom: 88 keys is precisely standard for a piano. :P I know what I'm talking about. Good luck finding one that has any less, for sure. Electronic keyboards are another matter I suppose... – Noldorin May 14 '11 at 2:48
@NReilingh Do you realize you just linked Tom Wijsman to a question he answered with the accepted answer (a pretty knowledgeable one if I might add). @Tom Wijsman I realize that you're an enthusiast and not a "professional" in regards to piano music. You'd benefit from asking for a list of repertoire that uses the outer octaves of the keyboard, something which definitely wouldn't have been done until the extra octaves were added, and even then many composers did not use them. Make your decision based on how large that list is (or how important you find it to be) – SRiss May 14 '11 at 5:03
I've never seen a list of repertoire x number of keys. As a rough answer, if you want to play songs, tunes, four octaves should do. If you want to play classic baroque music, five octaves (think harpsichord), for classic romantic you need a full keyboard. But really, why don't you just get a full 88-keys and save yourself the trouble? – Allan K. May 17 '11 at 15:48

While 61 keys might be fine for a synth being used, say in a band, I would recommend at least 76 keys for playing piano music.

The deciding factor for me getting 88-key keyboards the last 10 years, though, has been they are often the only models with weighted hammer-action-like keys.

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+1: Weighted keys are huge if you want to develop recognizable piano technique away from an actual piano. – NReilingh May 14 '11 at 3:59
+1 for weighted keys. I refuse to play anything without them. – SRiss May 14 '11 at 5:04
not just "weighted" but simulated hammer action too. I can't play anything else :-) – James Tauber May 14 '11 at 10:26
+1 as well. "soft" linear keys are very different, that's not the same instrument. – ogerard May 14 '11 at 11:14

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