Is there a type of keyboard that doesn't require batteries or any electricity of any kind? also one that is extremely portable like a guitar? It should also sound like a normal piano without any synths or pads and all those other "features" they usually come with. If no such device exists, than why haven't companies created one by now?

  • Considering how a normal piano requires huge amounts of wood and metal to make the sounds it makes, it seems odd to think that the same sounds could be made both without all the wood and metal and without any electricity. Acoustic energy has to come from somewhere! Nov 11, 2015 at 1:52
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    If you want an acoustic keyboard that is relatively lightweight and portable, consider a clavichord. Bear in mind that, although the clavichord is capable of dynamics, it doesn't sound like a piano, nor is it anywhere near as loud as one, nor is it as small as a guitar. That's all dictated by the acoustical facts of life: bass strings require a certain length, which dictates minimum size, and volume requires a certain amount of tension (which is why a piano has that heavy cast iron frame). See youtube.com/watch?v=KXBiDwb02js
    – user16935
    Nov 11, 2015 at 2:11
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    If you invent one, I would love to have one. Sorry, but I am afraid the reason it has not been invented yet is that it's just not possible given the laws of physics and sound being what they are. But the breath powered Melodica as described by NReilingh in his answer below is probably as close as you will come to what you describe. Nov 11, 2015 at 8:05

4 Answers 4


The sound of a normal piano comes from its heavy, large construction. That's just physics. If you want the same sound from something smaller, you need a sampler (of some kind), and that will require electricity. Maybe you can rig something together with a keytar and a wearable amplifier powered by a solar panel on your back and generators in your shoes, or just use a piano app on an iPad, but I think what you really want is a...



The melodica is a great instrument! It's portable; you hold it with one hand and play with the other, it's powered by your own breath, and sounds like happiness feels. You may have recently seen one in the hands of Jon Batiste in Stephen Colbert's Tonight Show band, or playing the tastiest of jazz solos in one of YouTube phenom Jacob Collier's multitrack videos. Check it out!

  • Yes, the melodica, definitely. Nov 12, 2015 at 3:40

Well, you could go for a small accordion. They are fairly portable, the energy supply are your arms, but of course it sounds nowhere like a piano and the left hand uses a different system than a piano keyboard. But it's a polyphonic instrument, and if you really want to play piano scores, you can go for an instrument with a free bass system in the left hand where each button is just a single note. But for many well-known piano pieces there are accordion arrangements that are playable with the standard bass system reasonably well. So that's not a must.



Schoenhut makes ones that sound kind of like a piano, sort of.


Short answer: no.

To generate the tone electronically (which would be the easiest way in this day and age), you need an electric power supply. Otherwise you'd be looking at a perpetuum mobile - and those don't exist, due to laws of physics.

So you have to generate your tone acoustically. In order to sound remotely like a piano, you'd need strings, a frame to suspend the strings, a resonator, and a hammer mechanism. You could probably save a fair amount of weight compared to a regular piano if you restricted yourself to a smaller range of notes, but it still wouldn't be "extremely portable". Designing and selling such an instrument would probably not be worthwhile, because digital pianos would so much better and more versatile in comparison, and you can get the electricity to power them almost everywhere it matters.

As others have pointed out, the other feasible mechanism to generate sounds is wind, which gives you instruments like the accordeon or the hurdy-gurdy, but you don't get a piano-like sound from those.

So, to answer your last question, companies haven't come up with such an instrument because it's impossible.

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