Narrow keyboards 6.0 and 5.5 inches

Steingraeber Bayreuth proposes alternatives

Within 300 years of piano making keyboards changed regarding the widths of the keys, their weighting and its “key dip”. Today’s keyboards have an octave of 6.5 inches = 165.1 mm. In 2022 / 2023, Steingraeber built a new model 122 piano with a 5.5 keyboard for a cus-tomer in London with very small hands and high pianistic standards. Steingraeber converted an older Steinway grand piano to a keyboard size of 6 inches for the Nuremberg Academy of Music.

Example of a 5.5′ keyboard and its test phase in the Steingraeber factory over hundreds (!) of hours. In addition to technical aspects of playing, there are also medical and historical arguments (e.g. music composed for the harpsichord) in favor of alternative keyboard dimensions.

  • Today’s standard keyboards have the octave measurement 6.5 inches = 165.1 mm
  • 6.0 inch = 152.4 mm
  • Lower keys ./. approx. 1.82 mm
  • Upper keys ./. approx. 2 mm

Old vs. New

Conversion of a grand piano from the 1960s to 6.0 for the Nuremberg Conservatory 2022-23.
For the production of new grand pianos Steingraeber suggests further measures to improve player ergonomics:

  • variable play depths of 8 – 10 mm
  • Lighter hammer heads to compensate for increased friction, etc.