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Piano, Organ or Keyboard?

by | Oct 21, 2021 | 0 comments |

Piano, Organ or Keyboard?

To most, there is usually no difference between a piano, a keyboard and an organ from a layman’s point of view. The most common of the three is the keyboard which most of the users refer to it as a piano or organ. There correlation amongst the three, though. They all use a keyboard to choose the pitch but with different sound-producing mechanisms. Because they are all keyboard instruments, if you were to see a few keys from afar, you might not be entirely sure of what you are looking at. However, there is a multitude of differences between a piano, a keyboard and an organ.


A piano is a string-based percussion instrument that relies on felt hammers striking a set of strings and projecting via the soundboard. The playing mechanism on the piano is all mechanical. At its heart is the action. Simply put, a combination of levers that transfer the force exerted at the keys to the strings. The quality of the action generally portrays the quality of the piano to some extent.

The sound production process starts when the pianist presses a key, a lever in the action is released, allowing the damper sitting on top of the string to rise.

Upright piano action showcase

The hammer, in turn, lifts and strikes the strings. For as long as the key is pressed, the damper is lifted. With the damper raised, the string can vibrate, allowing for the pitch to resonate through the soundboard into the air. Keys are hit repetitively to sustain the piano’s sound, as the vibrations from the keystrokes only last a while. Pianos have different strings that are tuned to distinctive frequencies, giving chords and sounds that are harmonious. This is achieved when a player hits more than one keystroke at a time.

Pianos work well as the leading instrument. The piano can also produce rhythms and melodies quite fast.

Digital Piano

Designed with them being modern alternatives to acoustic pianos, digital pianos are made up of electronic circuitry. They have keys just like acoustic pianos but not as many on some which do not have a full-sized keyboard.
Also known as the keyboard, digital pianos have a substantial range of choices.

Digital Piano

There are some with 61 keys, with others 88. Weighted or non-weighted keys, you name it, they have it at their disposal.
A keyboard works by playing prerecorded tones when the keys are pressed on speakers mounted inside the digital piano.


Electric Organ photo showing the keyboard levels and stop knobs
Organs use keyboards for their pitch selection but with a different sound production mechanism. An organ has different levels of keys, as well as many pedals. Organs are classified under woodwind instruments. This is one of the main distinguishing factors between Organ and Piano. Woodwind instruments produce sounds with the help of wind which has been split by the edges, such as reed.

Traditional organs use windpipes to produce sounds. As the air travels, each key provides a specific pressure level to push the air through the correct pipe to deliver the desired pitch. Organ players also have to use stop knobs to make adjustments to the sound. This all works thanks to the tracker action, the mechanical link of the keyboard to the pipes.

Electric organ stop knobss

More modern produce sound ones through an electrical connection. On electronic organs, the stops are simple tabs to change to specific instruments.

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