Selecting the right piano is an intense, personal, and highly rewarding process, and to ensure that your decision brings you joy for many years, you owe it to yourself to do some research. Upright or grand? What are the differences between brands, and why does it matter if an instrument is made by hand? The comparatively recent advent of digital pianos and keyboards has added yet another choice on top of the traditional questions that come with choosing a piano.
Often touted for its portability and modest cost, there is little question that a digital keyboard offers a bargain experience all around. Indeed, the mark of a higher-end digital piano is the number of features that try to simulate the acoustic instrument. Yet in spite of acoustic audio samples, weighted keys, and modular pedal units, even the best digital piano cannot ultimately escape what it is: a copy of the original.
With an acoustic piano, the level of expressive control is much higher. With strings, pedals and soundboard, the piano’s full palette of colors and dynamics lies at the player’s disposal to explore with far more touch and nuance than a digital keyboard could ever offer with a sliding volume fader and preset sounds. On top of the inherently better sound of an acoustic instrument, a real piano also has aesthetic value to enhance a room that keyboards lack. The touch and feel of an acoustic instrument, so crucial to discovering its soul, simply cannot be replicated.
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