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Key terms to understand when shopping for a keyboard or digital piano

Important Terms to Understand When Buying A Keyboard/Digital Piano

WEIGHTED KEYS -  are keys that look and more importantly feel like the heavily weighted keys of regular acoustic piano. These are not to be confused with the light feeling keys of a keyboard, similar to those of an “old school” organ.

NON WEIGHTED KEYS - similar to weighted, non weighted keys are generally open on the their bottom and feel very light, like the keys of an old organ. 

TOUCH SENSITIVITY - is the ability of an instrument to produce sound softly or loudly depending on how hard the keys are played. In other words, if I play softly on the keyboard, the sound is produced softly and if I strike the keys with more force, the volume of the sound produced is louder. An instrument is either touch sensitive or not. The output volume of a non touch sensitive instrument can not be varied by playing its keys with different levels of force. 

DRUM RHYTHMS -  are sampled (recorded) versions of a drum kit being played in a repeating pattern. Think of the the beginning of “We will rock you” by Queen or the beginning of “Walk this way” by Aerosmith. 

ACCOMPANIMENTS - are drum rhythms along with other instruments playing in a particular style and in a particular key based on what is being played on the keyboard. With accompaniments enabled, users can choose a style, say “pop” and then play a single key on the keyboard which in turn will play a bunch of instruments together in a looping pattern in the key (pitch) of the note being played on the keyboard. By switching from key to key on the keyboard, the user can make the keyboard produce what sounds like an entire band playing in a particular style. 

RECORDING - in the world of digital keyboards, there are two types of recording .. Audio recording and MIDI recording. Audio recording is actually recording a digital file that can be played back from the instrument or in most cases a computer or MP3 type player. MIDI recording is a type of recording that is done internally in the keyboard and can only be played back by the keyboard itself. MIDI recording does not produce a file that can be shared among MP3 type devices. 


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Learn the difference between weighted and non-weighted keys