It's true.

Hundred times I heard about the polyphony is gravital to experience top end sounds in professional keyboards. It is not only a matter of how many keys you are playing at the same time but, it reveals the quality level of the sounds sampled.

While, my Kurzweil piano has only 64 and are dinamically alocated (which exactly I do not understand). Some friends keep telling me "You've better chosen another piano, most of modern ones sports 128 at least. In fact some Casio's sport 256. I did no understand, I do not play with rythnm or extra effects.. just piano and some layered "combos" what noticed is the time of the sound to dissapear after I release the key.. even with the sustain pedal is kind of short. Is that the real matter? I consider my sounds good enough, but more poly and more memory means better sampling (recording from a true piano). Could anybody explain it to me, the differences in concepts (if there are).

Thanks in advanced


  • A loud bass note on a real acoustic grand piano can sound for literally a minute or longer. If your keyboard only sounds "kind of short", the sound generator is probably designed to work with a fairly low polyphony limit, not to sound realistic. And if you play trill in the treble register with the pedal down, you can easily play 6 or 7 new notes per second - that would use up all the 64-note polyphony in a few seconds.
    – user19146
    Sep 23, 2017 at 5:46
  • @alephzero - these days they ought to be smart enough to not steal that bass note - but that would depend on mfr./model, I guess.
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 23, 2017 at 6:32

1 Answer 1


I think you are conflating two different issues - though they may well be related in any given make or model of piano.

The greater the polyphony, in effect, the longer you can play with the pedal down before you hear any note-stealing.
alephzero's comment may be true for some models but not all - Pedal down; hit a loud bass note, then play a gentle high trill & see how long it takes for the bass note to suddenly disappear, as it's stolen on the 65th note of your trill.
Modern devices ought to be smart enough to not allow this to happen [this technology was being worked on when I worked in the industry, so someone is bound to have nailed it by now].
They would take into account that the single note was more 'important' than a repeating trill, so would steal from earlier notes in the trill, which would be unnoticeable.

Even so, more polyphony will allow you to play more complex passages without any fear of note-stealing.

This feature costs money.

While you're spending that money, the manufacturer will have included other benefits to their higher-end models.
This is very likely to include a larger, sweeter, fuller sample set.

So, the two are not equivalent, but are each the result of purchasing a better model with higher spec.
They go hand in hand, but one is not a direct result of the other.

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