Why are there 88 keys on a piano?

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The exact origins of why there were a certain number of keys on a piano are unknown. What we do know from history is that the piano in the US consisted of 88 keys after 1885. The generally accepted number of piano keys is as follows:
  • 1700-1765 5 Octaves (5 x 12 = 60 keys)
  • 1765-1794 5 Octaves plus a 4th
  • 1794-1804 6 Octaves (6 x 12 = 72 keys)
  • 1804-1824 6 Octaves plus a 4th
  • 1824-1880 7 Octaves (7 x 12 = 84 keys)
  • 1880-Present 7 Octaves plus a 4th
What we do know is that the piano, with 88 keys, is capable of reproducing the entire multiple octave spectrum of instruments used in an orchestra or band. Interesting to note that the Bosendorfer 9' 6" Concert Grand has 97 keys. The extra keys are at the bottom of the keyboard, extending from low A down to a growling really low C. As far as we know, there is no piano literature written that includes any played notes beyond the lowest A on a standard 88 key piano.
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Why does a piano have 88 keys?

Not all pianos have 88 keys, although most modern pianos do. Pianos have roughly 88 keys because of the reach of the the player. Early pianos often had 85 keys. There was pr

Do all pianos have 88 keys?

No. Some pianos have less. There are some that are missing some of the very low notes and the very high ones. Also, some pianos are termed "mini pianos" and some only have 5.5

At what frequency should an 88 key piano be tuned?

It should be tuned to 444Hz. Slightly higher than the perfect 440. This is what professional orchestras tune into. In fact, the whole orchestra tunes to 444Hz when a pia
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What is the difference between a piano and an 88 key keyboard?

A piano and an 88 key keyboard are quite similar. They both have 88 keys. The main difference is size. The 88 key keyboard is small and portable. Most keyboards can sound