Musical differences reported by pianists playing alternatively sized keyboards include:-
- Improved legato and musical line with less reliance on the pedal.
- Ability to perform legato octaves.
- Increased power due to the hand being more compact.
- Improved voicing of chords and balance.
- Ability to spend more time on musical aspects rather than just focusing on hitting the right notes.
Many of the more subtle improvements are what differentiates a great pianist from one who is simply competent. In other words, they can separate pianists into those who win major competitions and go on to successful performing careers, and those who do not.
Comments from respondents to the survey of pianists (Boyle, 2012) included:
“When my 7/8 keyboard was installed, the first thing I did was try to play Rachmaninoff’s G minor Prelude. I was amazed by the sound I could produce with the dense octave chords. I had never heard those sounds from my playing before!”
“Even though the first movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata is not especially difficult to play, I had always struggled to effectively execute the two voices in the right hand since it requires a constant octave reach. When I played the piece on the 7/8 keyboard, I thought: ‘Ah! So this is how it’s supposed to sound and feel.’ It was delightful!”