Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now
38

replete's answer is correct that the original reason was to have a bigger range, as needed for some organ music. However, I don't think that's the reason those Imperial models are so sought-for over all these years – actually playing the lowest notest is scarcely musically useful. The reason why people want Bösendorfer Imperial is that they sound awesome, ...


27

This question got me curious, so I started googling. Keyboard size is not officially standardized (there is no committee creating and enforcing standards), but in practice, there is very little variation. Browsing through forum topics on www.pianoworld.com, people measured 88 key keyboards from anywhere between 48 inches to 48 1/2". Wikipedia (http://en....


26

Let's be very precise about what we're talking about: A MIDI controller is anything that can send MIDI commands to another MIDI device. Keyboard type MIDI controllers are only one kind. But, for the purposes of this answer, let's assume that whenever we say "MIDI controller" we mean the piano keyboard type. A MIDI sound module is a device which accepts ...


25

I think this is one of those questions where the answer is "it depends." I would imagine that many composers who are uncomfortable with black keys for whatever reason do compose in C major or a minor and then transpose. On the other hand, composers who are not uncomfortable with black keys or who are writing to fit a particular range are probably more ...


22

Without. Point blank. Lights look fun to start with, but a beginner will end up watching them rather than learning to read. Note, you can usually switch them off, so you don't have to choose a keyboard that doesn't have them. I have no recommendations on mobile teaching apps, I've never used them.


20

Let's apply some perspective warping here. You'll see that the black keys, viewed from the front, come in alternating groups of 2 and 3 after all. Their arrangement does not correspond all that well with the lines separating the white keys, but then we are talking about a detail with very limited visibility. So I strongly lean towards this being just a ...


16

There's no hard rule to say that you shouldn't use your thumb on black notes - some pieces would be near-impossible to play without doing so! However, there are some reasons why you might be better off by not doing so. One is that the thumb is shorter than the rest of your digits, so it makes sense to reserve it for the easy-to-reach white keys. You ...


16

What I've found is that the acoustic piano is the most expressive when played softly. We all like loud, but anything can be loud and the ear will tune loud OUT after a while. But it pays attention when things get quiet. And that's where weighted keys really help - on a digital too. If you don't have that weight, you'll get a more frequent oops-BANG ...


16

The first way is correct, and yes, the initial quarter rest is important. It might not seem important in this example, but in more complex environments these rests are vitally important. A performer will probably know what you mean if you were to write the second measure, but it's needlessly "busy." It also doesn't clarify that it's two separate musical ...


16

My opinion (and I'm not sure you will get a result based on a more sound basis): I fail to see, how this can be applied to any non-trivial piano piece due to the width required. Turning pages seems also a non-trivial problem besides the pure convention. Standard notation packs an astonishing amount of information on a page and the addition of accents, ...


15

There is no standard for converting musical notes into colors. This would be an arbitrary process as there is no way to convert say "A" 440 Hz into a specific wave length of light. It might be interesting to perhaps make up your own. Many artists have tried to correlate color with sound so it is definitely a notion that has been around for a long time. http:...


15

While I see no reason to dispute the answers already presented I thought I would follow up with posting the measurements that I proposed in my comment under the question. Measuring several keys near middle C with a calibrated digital caliper: 1915 Steinway Model M (New York) with original action: 22.1 to 22. 9 mm (slight variance), +/- fractions of 0.86 ...


14

I've looked into this before, and there really don't seem to be any keyboards like this available apart from the Jankó Keyboard. Whether that's because it's really a bad idea or more due to the current layout being a heavily established convention I couldn't say for sure. Some pros and cons: Pros: There are only two major scales to learn instead of 12 - ...


14

Apart from what's already been said, it is somewhat dependent on the instrument the composer is using as a reference point. For example, a lot of guitar-based music - pop and classical, is composed in guitar-friendly keys, like E/Em and A/Am. If it's a sax player, they may well be in other keys rather than C, and that goes for all other transposing ...


14

"KSP" means "Keyboard Stereo Panning", that means for these voices, the placement of the instrument changes in the stereo panorama, depending on the position on the keyboard. So, "low notes" come from "left", "middle notes" "from the middle" and "high notes" "from right" (viewed from the player). For the versions of the Voices WITHOUT "KSP", the position in ...


13

Consider the following two measures from the piano transcription of the song "You'll Be Back" from Hamilton: In case it's not clear, the top line of music is the vocals, the middle line is the right hand piano part, and the bottom line of music is the left hand piano part. This shows a very common style of arrangement. The singer sings the vocal melody, ...


13

You are overthinking this. You are free to use whichever fingers you like when playing a piece but obviously some fingerings will work better than others. What you need to do is to find a fingering that works for you and then try to always do that. Your "muscle memory" will simply work when you have practiced enough. If you find a passage where there are ...


13

Don't bother with lights. The player will be forever chasing them. In fact, for a few weeks I recommend not trying to read dots either. Just get used to the instrument, what it can do, and have fun. I would hope that pound for pound, a keyboard without lights would have other, better features.Most will have speakers or a headphone port. Buying pre-loved ...


12

Well, the thing to remember is that the harpsichord and organ have no touch sensitivity like piano, and the piano wasn't invented yet. So any kind of keyboard music was written to be played all at the same volume, and composers made the sound fuller or emptier by managing the voicing. If you play a Bach fugue on a piano, you can add dynamics but it won't ...


12

So you can play two, or three, or four different sounds at the same time. Like a split-keyboard on a synthesizer. Note that many professional keyboard players have several keyboards on stage that they can play at the same time. Regarding old-world pipe organs, there are many aspects of European churches that are meant to be grand, impressive, imposing, and ...


12

First, get rid of the idea that LH chords, RH melody is 'normal'. If solo keyboard, who's doing the bass line? If in a band, your role may be to play melody, play a counter-melody or 'fill-ins' or play chords. Probably just one of those. Back to your question. Maybe it's the sort of song that could be effectively accompanied by simple guitar strumming. ...


11

That would be a "turn" - a common ornament in the baroque period. You can find a (fairly basic) explanation here on Wikipedia, and there are more detailed explanations in many books and articles on Baroque ornamentation. You can also see Bach's own explanation here on the Dolmetsch website. Here is Bach's own explanation, from the Dolmetsch website, ...


11

Electric pianos are (typically) vintage instruments that produce sound in a mechanical way, capturing the sound with an electro-magnetic transducer of some kind (much like the pickups of an electric guitar). The first models of these type of instruments appeared in 40's and 50's and the technology become mainstream in the 60's and 70's with two most ...


11

You don't want to "push hard", that's more likely to result in injury than in more endurance. As soon as your muscles start to feel tired, you should take a break. Here are some tips on managing your endurance: Take care of your general health. Eat right, stay hydrated, get some cardiovascular excercise, and get plenty of sleep. Use proper technique. Make ...


11

No, you cannot plug your guitar in this particular keyboard. The Phones jack is a stereo output for headphones, the sustain connector is for a pedal/controller and the midi connectors are for midi control signals to and from an audio interface of some description. It is possible to connect guitars to some keyboards, as I have utilized this functionality in ...


10

Most classically trained pianists can gloss over arpeggios (and all their assorted variations) because their teachers made them do the repetitions you're describing beforehand. More generally, when you see pianists pick up complicated figures quickly, it's usually because they've seen them before, either in exercises or pieces they've already learned. Along ...


10

Your drummer should be capable of playing along to a rhythm set by another instrument rather than leading the tempo all the time. Can he drum along to a metronome? If the problem is that the keyboard isn't always sounding the beat (maybe you have a couple of bars without playing, or just holding a chord without rhythm?) then you need to add something for ...


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