88-key keyboard vs. 76-key keyboard

Written by lara lawrence
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88-key keyboard vs. 76-key keyboard
Musical keyboards come in various sizes. (keyboard image by salimar6 from Fotolia.com)

Eighty-eight-key and 76-key keyboards are sufficient for beginners just learning to play the piano, as well as more advanced pianists. The better choice depends on your level of experience and reasons for purchasing the keyboard.


An 88-key keyboard spans 7 1/3 octaves, equivalent to an acoustic piano. An octave is made up of 12 keys, seven white and five black. Keys start on a low A and end on a high C. A 76-key keyboard spans only 6 1/3 octaves, beginning on a low E and ending on a high G, omitting the lowest seven notes and the highest five notes.


An 88-key keyboard usually has weighted keys, comparable to an acoustic piano, and costs more than its 76-key counterpart. The 76-key keyboard weighs less, is more portable and easier to play because of the lighter keys.


An 88-key keyboard is the better choice if you are a serious beginner hoping to reach a classical level of playing, as the transition to a regular acoustic piano will be easier. If you are in the recording business, the 88-key is better because it produces a wider range of sound and more notes are programmable on each channel. A 76-key keyboard is adequate if you just play for enjoyment, as most songs fall within that range.

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