There is something really convenient about a miniature keyboard. It is great for learners, younger kids who don’t quite have the arm span or aren't seasoned musos on the go. But there is something irreplaceable about a full 88-note keyboard. It lets you go places sonically that the smaller versions simply cannot reach. The full gamut of the human experience is able to be explored on 88 tiny pieces of wood or plastic. As 20th century author Maria Christina Mena so elegantly put it; “The piano keys are black and white, but they sound like a million colours in your mind.”
Let’s start with the range of possibilities afforded by the bass notes of an 88-note keyboard.
- You feel it in your soul – There is an unmistakable sense of depth and power of the lower notes. They can be sombre, unsettling, mysterious and sometimes, all of these at once (see Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring). There is just something that stirs the human soul about low notes, and unlike most other instruments, the 88-note keyboard allows you to get down that low while the right hand caresses out something delicate at the exact same time.
- You feel it in your chest – The lower end of the spectrum of sound can be felt, tangibly. Picture yourself at a concert. When the drum technician begins sound check on the kick drum you feel it pulsating inside your chest. It should remind you that you are very small in comparison to the scope of the world around you.
- It makes the song work – For a piece of music to really sound big, it needs to fill all areas of the sound-wave: highs, mids and lows. The bass notes fill that lower end of the spectrum providing stability to the music and a sense of completion. This is the reason the bass guitar is such an integral part of rock music. In the absence of the 88 note keyboard, something needs to fill that space.
On the other hand (very literal), the high notes of the 88-note keyboard are no less crucial.
- They provide the beauty – There is something about the delicate sound of a high melody that becomes so emotive. While the lower notes are awe inspiring, it is the melody that can depict beauty, intricacy and somewhat paradoxically, sorrow.
- They are more expressive because the lower notes have a longer sound-wave, it is more difficult to hear clarity in trills, ostinatos or arpeggios. They tend to bleed into each other because of their shorter waves, the higher notes allow you to showcase the intricacies of a piece of music more clearly. After all, it isn’t really what you’re playing, it’s how you play it.
Obviously, both aspects are critical in exploring the emotions that are loaded into truly great music. But if you don’t have the full 88 at your disposal, you are limited in where you can go. Browse our wide range of full pianos today.