The piano has actually been around for several hundred years. Due to the fact that the late 1800’s the number of keys has remained about the same. What brought about this stable number, and also is this number likely to change? by the end of this post you should recognize not just the variety of keys ~ above a piano, but likewise how the piano progressed to the number, and also the appropriate piano dimension for your skill level.

You are watching: How many of the 88 keys on a standard piano are white?

For a quick answer, the number of keys ~ above a piano is 88 for a typical acoustic (grand or upright) piano. This became the norm soon after the 1880’s together the steinway family occurred 88 an essential instruments. Often keyboards, or electrical pianos, will certainly come in smaller sized sizes ranging all over from 24 – 88 keys. There are some cool pianos that have an ext than 88 keys, even up to 108, however this is extremely rare (more on that later).

How plenty of Black keys are ~ above A Piano

There are 36 black keys on a consistent 88 crucial piano. Here is a complete chart that mirrors the variety of keys, the number of black keys, and also the variety of white tricks on a piano:

# Keys# White Keys# black color Keys
32 (keyboard)1913
36 (keyboard)2115
49 (keyboard)2920
54 (keyboard)3222
61 (keyboard)3625
76 (keyboard)4531
88 (standard piano or keyboard)5236
92 (grand piano rare)5438
97 (grand piano rare)5740
108 (grand piano number of in the world)6345

How plenty of Octaves space on the piano

There room 12 notes in an octave so by splitting 88 through 12 and rounding down you acquire the variety of full octaves top top a traditional piano. 88/12 = 7.33; rounding under we have actually 7 finish octaves. The same procedure can be excellent to uncover the number of octaves in a smaller sized or larger piano.

The trip from 49 to 88 Keys

The very first piano was arisen by Bartolemeo Cristifori in the 1720’s. The more quickly versions had 49 keys and also a very different sound. The following video gives a brief background and playing of the earliest preserved piano.Notice exactly how twangy the sounds; it is similar to the sound the a harpsichord.


Overtime the number of keys boosted as composers demanded more out that the instrument. Much more keys created several logistical challenges.

Going under an octave generally requires dual the string length. If pianos just relied on this technique a piano would certainly be 5-10 m (15-30 ft) long contrasted to our standard 2-3 m (6-9 ft). (I don’t think Shroeder would give of a piano that size).More strings = an ext tension. Existing models hold around 18 loads of stress in their frames. That’s sufficient force to assistance the load of 2-3 complete grown African bush elephants (don’t shot at home). The early stage wooden framework would have actually splintered under that force.

To combat the first challenge of lengthy low strings, piano machines thickened the strings from .8 mm come 1.0 mm diameter which around halves the size needed to create the preferred pitch.

With the lowest keys, also a 1.0 mm diameter is not enough, however going past a 1.2 mm diameter reduce sound quality. The clever solution is to coil the cable with one more chord as watched on the lowest notes (farthest to the left note below). Generally a 1.0 mm string is offered in the facility while a .8 mm cable is coiled around the core.

To combat the tension problem the framework was switched come metal.

The increased tension capabilities allowed for:

More keys included to the piano. Makers had the capability to move all the means up from 49 secrets to 88 keys and beyond.Multiple strings because that each key. In basic the lowest notes on the piano will only use one string, the middle notes will use 2 and also the highest possible use 3. Much more strings top top the high notes offers a louder, richer ton on notes that otherwise have an obstacle competing with the resonance of the shortest notes. In the picture above over there is one cable on the lowest notes to the much left, and three strings top top the middle and upper notes on the right

Thanks to these and other design changes, the ton of the modern-day piano is much warmer than the ton of pianos offered in Mozart’s time indigenous 1750 -1800.

This can be heard in the following two recordings of the very same sonata, Piano Sonata no 15 in F major by Mozart.

Piano native Mozart’s time: It sounds tinny but also sparkles in a charming way.


For much more information ~ above the advancement of the piano review this fantastic essay ~ above the creation of the piano.

Beyond 88 Keys

88+ an essential keyboards are rare. The bosendorfer imperial grand piano boasts 97 keys. Initially this was produced to replicate the pitch of enormous 16-32 foot organ pipes (seen below) used in transcriptions of few of Bach’s works.

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Stuart and also Sons, an Australian piano company, have made substantial 102 and also 108 an essential grand pianos. The greatest keys walk up to nearly 8000 hz and lowest down to 16hz. The chart below displays the pitch arrays of various pianos.

Curiously top top the upper end there are still 2+ octaves to between the greatest note the a traditional piano (4186 hz), and also the highest pitches humans deserve to hear (approximately 20000 hz). Why is that?

Pitch variety of pianos in herzBased on a logarithmic scale

The main reason typical pianos don’t go greater is that it becomes an overwhelming to identify harmonic relationships above 5000 hz.

So why go Stuart and also Sons produce a piano that goes above 5000 hz? because that one, paired with other notes an octave reduced the mind have the right to imagine the exactly relationships. Secondly, the added keys include warmth and also resonance come the piano even when they are not played.

The video below, reflects the upper range of the Stuart and Sons 108 key piano, the huge Beleura. The shortest notes have a deep, nearly gravely tone. I choose the sounds of the added high notes better. They repeat me the the sound of a little music crate – metallic in a delicate sort the way.


Identifying key-board notes via key Notation.

With 8 C’s top top the keyboard it can be challenging to recognize all the notes. The C’s have the right to be identified more specifically through something called Scientific pitch Notation system.

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C4 is middle C i beg your pardon is highlighted in blue above. Together the pitch goes up, therefore does the number. So C5 ~ above the piano is the C come the appropriate of center C and C3 is the C listed below middle C. A0 and also C8 space the lowest and also highest notes of the piano respectively.

Don’t worry about learning this system, it is found much more often once writing around music; that hardly used in sheet music. Rather your time is far better spent learning the note names and also sheet music notation.

How many Keys carry out You require To discover Piano

Virtually every acoustic pianos have 88 keys. But what about keyboards the come in smaller sized sizes? will a 66 key keyboard be huge enough? What about a 49 an essential keyboard? While having a larger keyboard is beneficial in intermediate to progressed repertoire, ns think these determinants are an ext important when finding out piano.

Weighted secrets – once pressed down the tricks should administer some resistance. In addition, together you press harder the key-board should develop a louder tone. This much better emulates the feeling of one acoustic piano, and enables for expressive playing with dynamics.Full sized keys – Practicing on narrow keys deserve to internalize problem fingerings. Younger college student who struggle with conventional sized keys might prioritize arsenal that doesn’t speak to for huge hand reaches rather of resorting to narrow keys.Good sound – Make certain you room willing to hear to this thing sing for long practice sessions.At least 49 keys – I decided this number rather arbitrarily, but as you deserve to see below a 49 crucial keyboard is small. Straightforward songs and music theory might be learned on virtually any device, however intermediate classic repertoire will start making use of a more expanse that the keyboard at which point 60+ tricks would be great. Much less than 49 keys and the top quality of the keyboard may start to decline.
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When you begin practicing technological pieces (ie advanced jazz/classical), i recommend at least some exercise on a complete sized acoustic piano (whether grand or upright).

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Conclusion

The piano has evolved immensely indigenous Bartolomeo Cristofori’s initial harpsichord-esque 49 vital piano. Now the piano is among the most recognizable tools worldwide, used in practically every genre of music. The conventional piano has 88 keys, and also while this has actually been the norm because that the previous 100+ years, it will be interesting to check out if new technology favor ultra-lightweight and also durable carbon fiber leads to brand-new innovations. Whatever the case, I’m thankful because that the beauty beauty it bring to this world.