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What exactly is a piano alternative and what is their purpose? The home digital piano we are all acquainted with first came into being in the early 1700’s and has since served greats such as Bach and Mozart, but similar to most instruments they started progressing forward to the Electronic Age, as well as in the 1950’s the initial electronic keyboard was introduced by the Wurlitzer Company named the “100”. Like our ancestors from the stone age to the bronze age piano’s advanced from their conventional non electronic origins to the digital age. Piano alternatives belong to two main categories -electronic keyboards and digital pianos, there are of course also other keyboard instruments including keyboard synthesizers and MIDI controllers however, these are not generally regarded as being piano alternatives, but instead instruments that use a keyboard layout for other musical purposes. Piano alternatives such as the electronic keyboard – although having been used since the 1950’s – only started gathering popularity in the 80’s and were immensely popular during the 1990’s.

The piano alternative is precisely what the name implies – an alternative – a digital piano and electronic keyboard are in concept not different instruments towards the pianoforte but instead substitutes; unlike inside the guitar family of instruments which includes acoustic and electric guitars, which are different instruments completely unto themselves. In a typical band composition you would locate an electric guitar playing alongside a bass guitar, but you are unlikely to find a digital piano playing alongside a standard piano. Of the piano alternatives the electronic keyboard could be seen as the largest deviation from standard since it has several extra features that the digital piano and pianoforte do not possess, these can include: demo songs, metronome, learning modules – with light and sound aids, effects, recording function and autochord function to list but a few, but even though it is sometimes specifically employed for its effects and large sound bank of tones, it is mainly regarded as an alternative to the conventional piano.

Differentiating factors

Lots of people begin on electronic keyboards or digital pianos when planning to learn to play the good electric piano, the primary reason behind this is the fact they are cheaper than conventional pianos, nevertheless it may also be as a result of size constraints – conventional pianos are very large and heavy – so depending on where you will require the piano to be placed you may have to create due with a digital piano instead of a conventional piano. Digital piano’s design and build is geared towards persons who are to a relative degree very serious regarding their future in playing the piano, so it has certain features to accommodate which need.

Digital piano:

Weighted, full length keys often touch sensitivity is variable

keys numbering from 81 to 88

Contains very few if not any rhythms and voices in its sound banks, if offered they contain the basics: Grand piano, harpsichord and jazz or pipe organ.

The electronic keyboard on the contrary is piano alternative that really utilizes its intrinsic electronic nature with much more digitally inclined features.

Electronic keyboard:

Tones could be set to: piano, organ, flute, drum stick etc.

Effects include: sustain, reverb, echo

Additional features like transposition can also be common.

Piano alternatives can to this particular day still not match the complete sound quality of the traditional piano forte; accomplished pianists often describe digital piano as sounding fake end “electric” – it has to dofrdp with many factors in acoustics, but precisely what is often cited being a major hindrance for the digital piano is its lack of ability to convincingly reproduce the timbre of the conventional piano. The absence of proper polyphony (the piano’s capability to play multiple notes simultaneously) is yet another factor that adds to the digital piano price and electronic keyboard’s – towards the trained ear – often phony sounding reproductions.

Piano alternative technology has progressed sufficiently enough so as to produce sounds which are pleasant sounding and convincingly real towards the ear, the decision only lies in which alternative you prefer – a digital piano or even the electronic keyboard.

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