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Keyboard at an angle

Discussion in 'The Piano' started by richard66, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Taking for granted that a normal keyboard is perpendicular to the floor, I wonder what effect would a keyboard have that is not. Some compact pianos (such as Baldwins) have this. The infamous Geyer, I have found out, seems to copy Baldwin in some ways. I have taken measurements and this is what I have found out:

    At the front, the bottom of the keys is 68,5cm above ground. At the back, where it connects to the hammers, it is 65,5. The length of the keys is 32cm.

    My guess is that the eye, seeing a keyboard at an angle, perceives it as being shorter than it actually is and thia affects the way one plays. (At least when I studied analytical geometry I learnt that seen from an angle a line seems shorter than it actually is, being perceived as a point when 90 degrees is reached.)

    I used to own a compact Baldwin, then rented one for a time and now I have this Geyer (I hope to swap next month) and I remember playing much better when I used a Bechstein, a Bachmann and a Roesler, each of which had normal keyboards.
     
  2. rainer

    rainer New Member

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    or even parallel 8) -- but can we really take that for granted?

    On my piano the keys are pretty well horizontal when pressed, but of course because they are pivoted, then once released they rise more at the front than at the back, giving a slope which I estimate to be 2 degrees. When I sit at the piano, my line of sight to the middle of the keys straight in front of me slopes down at about 45 degrees to the horizontal. This means that the keys, by virtue of my viewing angle, are already shortened to 70.7% (cos(45 degrees)). By sloping 2 degrees, the shortening is instead to cos(47 degrees) which is 68.2%. I don't think the difference is enough for a significant psychological effect. Your brain knows how long the keys are, and isn't fooled by the viewing angles.
     
  3. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Parallel, of course: you are right.

    Suirprisingly enough, I found other discussions on the matter and you are indeed right: they should slope slightly and should be level when pressed. Mine still are not level when pressed. But that is not the big issue, it seems: the issue is the length of the exposed part of the keys themselves, whis are shorter the smaller the piano is (imagine a piano that stands 115 cms high with the keyboard of a full-size grand) and it is this which makes the angle seem sharper than it really is. And yes, it does have a very great effect. After one month playing on a piano with a more normal keyboard I sat down on this one an I found myself crying aloud, as I attempted to play: "this keyboard is crooked!"
     

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