The Piano | Easy and Complete Guide
There are several websites about pianos and our intention is not to replace Wikipedia, but we are going to give you all the information you need about this instrument. Quality information, whether you’re looking for a piano or keyboard to buy, or you’re looking for resources to learn how to play it. So go ahead, apart from all the information you’ll find if important information in the following links.
The piano is a harmonic instrument classified as keyboard and percussion string. But it is not considered a percussion instrument in itself although there is some debate in certain circles. Although we obviously can’t leave the typical question unanswered:
Who invented the piano? The piano as we know it was invented around 1700 by Padovano Bartolomeo Cristofori, although similar instruments already existed that can be considered ancestors as the Clavichord.
But this instrument has grown in its functions and possibilities. Turning it into a vital element for any musician of a certain level or who wants to evolve in music.
The piano is probably the most versatile harmonic instrument. Then it allows to play in solo format playing melody at the same time as a harmonic line or to accompany other solo instruments with harmonic bases and chords as a guitar can do. But we cannot forget another main functionality, it is a basic composition tool.
The piano is a composition tool much easier and more visual than other harmonic instruments such as the guitar.
(Any music teacher….)
That’s why learning to play piano or have a keyboard at home is so useful. When you have to play a chord to see what that song in your head sounds like, it’s much easier to play it on the piano keyboard than on a guitar.
In the piano you only have to know the notes of the keyboard and those that compose the chord, it is much more visual. With a little knowledge you can compose and with the guitar certain positions for various chords are very complex and composing becomes a much more difficult task.
It is for this reason that piano is always taught as an additional instrument at the conservatory (classic music school). So if you are self-taught it is very interesting that you acquire some basic knowledge of this instrument to be able to experience much more in your compositions and take them to another level.
I told you about the piano, it’s such a great instrument. Now to place you a little more we will talk about the types of pianos and keyboards that you have at your disposal.
Types of piano.
What will you find in this post?
There are several types of piano to choose from and no doubt one of the variables that differentiates them is the size they most important. From the huge grand piano on which a singer can lie down to the electronic keyboard you can have in a small room in your house.
- Grand Piano: The largest and longest, is the one used in large concerts, has a great presence and high aesthetic value, and usually enjoy the best sound. Although very unwieldy because its weight normally exceeds 300 kg, so it is not a good choice to bring to a jam session…
- Upright Piano: It really is an upright piano and its entire mechanism is arranged with that arrangement in mind. They are easier to place in homes and places. So they tend to be best-sellers, although they are still very heavy and can easily reach 200 kg.
- Digital Piano or Electronic Keyboard: Today the most versatile option both for its portability and its price. Their sound has improved a lot and the weighted keyboards almost feel like playing a mechanical piano. Nowadays it is the most chosen option for obvious reasons.
First-rate pianists will always prefer the pleasure of playing on a grand piano, because its touch and sound are unmatched (as well as its price), but today many people are in love with electronic keyboards, because it also opens up a world in modern music.
Electronic keyboards and electronic pianos can open your mind to sounds that are not possible in a grand and upright piano. Being electronic you have many effects and complements that will allow you to play Funk, Electroswing…
Herbie Hancock with Keyboards
There is much to tell about pianos and their types, you can learn more at the following link
Learn Piano and Digital Keyboard
Many people ask themselves several questions when considering playing the piano. Do we need lessons? Can we learn by ourselves? Is it necessary to read scores?
There are many pianists who have learned self-taught and there are many works written simply by showing the key to be pressed on the piano. They are people who learned to play by ear, which is very common in guitarists. Famous pianists such as Richard Rodgers began playing simply by experimenting with the piano and improvising.
The piano has some undeniable advantages that are how easy it is to see the notes and that it is enough to press them for the piano to sound good (if it is well tuned). This makes it easier to experiment with him.
Of course, not everyone is capable of learning to play a piano on their own, as this requires great willpower and intelligent self-learning.
Taking classes costs money and if you can afford them this will always be an advantage, because it will avoid blockages and will make progress faster, in addition to avoiding bad habits when it comes to touching that can be dangerous and cause injuries if you study many hours.
Piano keyboards and other musical keyboards have opened up another very interesting way of learning, a middle ground between face-to-face and self-taught learning and much cheaper. A digital keyboard can be connected to a computer, so that certain progressive learning software can help us and move forward at a good pace.
As you can see, there is a lot of subject matter to be dealt with in learning the piano. And we have an entire section in which we will give you information on the topics discussed above. We’ll discuss the best ways to learn to play the piano on your own, tips for choosing a teacher, tutorials you’ll love, how to avoid injuries, and new trends in computer music for piano learning. Click on the following link if you want to learn more about the subject.
The electronic piano and keyboards
We have already talked a little about him in the previous sections but the rapid evolution of the technique makes us dedicate an entire section to him.
The first electric pianos date back to the beginning of the 20th century but the real development of electronic keyboards and synthesizers took place mainly during the 1970s. Keep in mind that synthesizer is simply a device that emits a sound. And if a keyboard is coupled to it it would be a keyboard a synthesizer, but keyboards are not pianos if they do not have at least 88 keys. What is the minimum number of keys that a real piano usually has.
If you already have a wall or grand piano at home to study, obviously for this will always be the best option, because the touch and sound will always be real and that sound will be produced by strings and amplified by the harmonic table of it. Digital pianos try to imitate real pianos. Don’t forget that.
Although as we mentioned in the learning section today digital pianos offer a very powerful connection to the computer and sound possibilities. Both for learning and for music production. And mechanical pianos need an extra sound module to digitize their sound signal. And this module is usually expensive, whether the piano is fitted as standard or is fitted later.
Some advantages of an electronic piano:
- Digital sound output in various formats: creating the possibility to record or record with musical notation what we are playing with the appropriate software.
- Portability: Many are portable and lightweight, which makes it easier to give small and medium format concerts reducing costs and increasing profits.
- Price: They are significantly cheaper than upright-mounted or grand mechanical pianos.
- Learning: The digital output of sound to the computer also allows us to use learning software to play the piano.
The technologies of electronic or digital pianos have increased considerably and each time the touch and sound are more similar to that of a mechanical one. If you can study with a grand or wall model it will be the best, but digital models are a very nice option today. Many people study with a wall-mounted one, but then have an electronic keyboard to take to the performances.
Is an electronic piano the same as a MIDI keyboard and a synthesizer?
Okay, another important question. MIDI is a type of sound output that keyboards have to connect to the computer and interact with various software. This means that both a digital piano and a keyboard can have a MIDI output.
The digital piano (or electronic piano) differs from a MIDI keyboard and a synthesizer basically in the number of keys and the weighted keys of them to give the feeling that you play a real piano. The MIDI keyboard, on the other hand, is designed to connect to the computer, not to study music or do piano work. As we will see, the MIDI keyboard does not emit sound and the synthesizer keyboard does.
A digital piano usually has at least 88 keys and enough voices to be able to play any musical work. The non-piano keyboard (either a MIDI keyboard or a synthesizer) has fewer keys and they are not weighted. The keyboards with less than 88 keys could be called dry musical keyboards, if you want to know more about digital pianos visit our next link:
The MIDI keyboard
MIDI keyboards are intended to be a tool to help us make or process music with the computer. In the keyboard we will play the notes and the chords that will be digitized and through the MIDI interface they will arrive at the computer. It is then the computer with the appropriate software that will generate and process the sound.
On the MIDI keyboard what matters is to be able to play notes, it doesn’t matter the touch of the key, or whether you can play more force or less force. Nor does it import the number of octaves because later in the computer we will be able to modify and transport the notes. The objective is not to play a piece of music with two hands.
These types of MIDI keyboards are often used in computer music composition and music production. Well connected to the computer can be anything you want, from a simple keyboard to any instrument thanks to synth effects. It all depends on having the right software.
If you want to know much more about these devices, effects and curiosities we leave you our section dedicated to them in the following link: