‘I often witness pianists place their hands for the first time on a keyboard that better suits their hand span. How often the pianist spontaneously bursts into tears. A lifetime of struggling with a seemingly insurmountable problem vanishes in the moment they realise, “It’s not me that is the problem; it is the instrument!” Following on that, the joy of possibility overwhelms them.’ (Dr Carol Leone, Chair of Keyboard Studies, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, 2015.)
There is overwhelming evidence that the current piano keyboard size does not suit the majority of the piano playing population – considering men, women, children, and different ethnic groups.
The evidence comes from a diverse range of perspectives:-
1. The history of the piano keyboard.
2. Analysis of hand span data of pianists.
3. Peer-reviewed research that links hand size to pain and injury in pianists.
4. Accepted scientific principles in the fields of ergonomics and biomechanics as applied to piano playing.
5. The growing body of commentary from those pianists who have tried reduced size keyboards that are currently available.
6. Analysis of gender differences in both the results of international piano competitions and among pianists who have maintained successful international performing careers.