Of the five senses, touch is the one most often linked to pleasure. Think of the touch of cool water against your skin on a hot summer day, the loving embrace of a dear friend or the feeling of digging your hands into a chunk of play-doh as a small child. Touch is important to nearly every aspect of our lives. That’s why when you touch the keys of a piano, you expect the responding sound to be enjoyable. The pressure as you slowly press the key into the key bed is almost as pleasant as the tone of the corresponding note and the vibrations across the instrument itself. Indeed, the touch of a piano is a great experience, but the touch of a grand piano is pure bliss.
Of course, a upright piano is great for plenty of applications. They make beautiful music and they are quite suitable for homes, music classrooms and other smaller spaces. They’re great for learning and an older upright piano can be full of many special memories. However, when it comes to power, beauty and sound, nothing can compare to a grand piano. Its size is daunting and the vibrations that result when a concert pianist is busy at work can often be felt even to the very back of the concern hall. However, it is often the touch of the keys that people love most.
Often we allow our mind to overpower the natural responses of our senses. Although your brain might tell you that all piano keys feel the same, this is obviously not true. Some keys have greater resistance than others – some feel weightier or thicker while some feel thinner or lighter. Everyone has a different idea of what makes the best touch. Before you invest in a piano – especially a grand piano – it is important to identify which type of touch you prefer.
The action of every piano is slightly different from the next and this depends on several factors – namely the manufacturer and the materials they use. In previous times, most piano touches were heavy. In other words, the resistance of the keys was higher and thus it took more power to press each key and create each note. Today, however, this is not always the case. Some pianos have retained that high resistance feel while others are much lighter. Often people are more drawn to the touch to which they are most familiar.
Newer grand pianos allow for greater touch flexibility, and this is one of the reasons why their touch is most preferred. Whether you are a “heavy handed” piano player, or you have a lighter touch, you will feel at home. Some professional switch from heavy to light numerous times throughout a single piece and grand pianos respond well. When it comes to pianos, the sense of touch and the sense of sound are very connected.
Now, please take time to share with us. What type of touch do you prefer? Do you like higher or lower resistance keys? How do you play?