Do the five shapes of piano key have unique names?

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Do the five shapes of piano key have unique names?

Post by jellyjim »

Hello

There are five unique key shapes on a piano keyboard

1. The black keys

2. A white key with a black neighbour to the left only

3. A white key with a black neighbour to the right only

4. A white key with black neighbours both left and right

5. Occasionally a white key with no neighbours

Do these have unique names? I don't mean musical names. Imagine you make pianos and you're doing an inventory, "Hey Bert, we're low on the XXXX keys. Can you pick some up when you get the milk?"

Jim
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Re: Do the five shapes of piano key have unique names?

Post by Arpangel »

1 Black keys
2 B and E
3 F and C
4 G A D
5 Ends of keyboard

That’s how I would refer to them, but there are probably more technical names in piano making circles.
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Re: Do the five shapes of piano key have unique names?

Post by Folderol »

Dunno, but I'd refer to them as:
Black
Full White
Left White
Centre White
Right White
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Re: Do the five shapes of piano key have unique names?

Post by Arpangel »

Folderol wrote: Tue Sep 27, 2022 8:41 am Dunno, but I'd refer to them as:
Black
Full White
Left White
Centre White
Right White

They sound like a bunch of dodgy political groups!

:D:D:D
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Re: Do the five shapes of piano key have unique names?

Post by Stickman0_3 »

Arpangel, I'd vote for them! :bouncy::bouncy::bouncy:
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Re: Do the five shapes of piano key have unique names?

Post by Folderol »

Nono. Dodgy political groups are:
Conservative
Labour
(and some other lot who's name I forget)
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Re: Do the five shapes of piano key have unique names?

Post by jellyjim »

Eh can we steer away from politics so the thread doesn't get locked?

I'm quite curious about the answer, if there is one :thumbup:
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Re: Do the five shapes of piano key have unique names?

Post by nathanscribe »

I don't know about an actual piano, but on synths there are a couple of ways of doing it.

Some have different shapes for every white key – the spacing between the black keys is different for C-to-E than for F-to-B, so there are subtle differences in the cutouts and mounting for B than E, for example, though you can sometimes use them interchangeably if you don't mind a bit of wiggle. On these boards D, G, and A all have black keys either side, but they are all differently spaced so again are not interchangeable.

The (presumably cheaper) other method I've seen is that E/B and C/F are equally spaced and designed to be interchangeable. I've never seen one with G/A equal though.

So, in the first case, including the top key (usually C), there are 9 shapes; in the latter (presuming top C), 7.
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Re: Do the five shapes of piano key have unique names?

Post by Folderol »

I suspect there are lots of answers... each builder uses their own names for the keys.
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Re: Do the five shapes of piano key have unique names?

Post by Nazard »

The only exception I can think of is the Bosendorfer Imperial Grand, which has an extra 5 'white' keys, C to G, at the bass end, which are painted black. So as not to confuse the eye when playing.

Apparently it was Busoni, who made many well know Bach transcriptions, particularly the organ works, who wanted an instrument that could go down almost as far as a 16 foot organ pipe (pedal). So Bosendorfer kindly obliged him.
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Re: Do the five shapes of piano key have unique names?

Post by Tomás Mulcahy »

Go look at spare parts for pianos. I don't think they have names, just part numbers. As @nathanscribe says, each manufacturer will organise it differently. For example the Yamaha digital piano I fixed recently (It's the budget weighted action they use in loads of keyboards) all the octaves are the same so the parts list is short, but each key has a part number. Whereas on the CP80 each key has its own part number, because the mechanism varies in angle and length. That action is almost identical to what is in their concert grand pianos. Which is absolutely lovely when it's been regulated/ serviced by a trained technician :)

PS the budget Yamaha action I referred to is pretty good too. Quite a clever design extremely reliable and easy to service/ repair. But the Casio Privia surpasses it for feel IMHO.
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Re: Do the five shapes of piano key have unique names?

Post by jellyjim »

I guess there's been enough variations as outlined above and they're otherwise easy enough to identify by note name for no unique names to have ever been coined.

Makes sense.

The reason I was asking was quite random, inconsequential really, but it piqued my curiosity.

I was writing some code for an experiment and had functions that drew each key. I was just trying to think of better names than 'drawBlackKey', 'drawWhiteKeyLeftNeighbour', 'drawWhiteKeyRightNeghbour' etc.

Although from a programming perspective they're arguably good function names as they're descriptive and require no special knowledge to be understood.
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