Record keyboard and MIDI inputs. Snap recorded notes to the grid. Play a metronome. When recording, gives a 4 beat lead in. OnlineSequencer.net is an online music sequencer. Make tunes in your browser and share them with friends! Virtual Piano - The Original Synthesizer 🎹. Playable with mouse or qwerty-keyboard. Play by MIDI keyboard also available via WebMIDI API (Chrome). Selectable timbre with GM map. Ch10 is drum track. Quality setting switches two timbre set. Light-weighted 1 osc or FM based 2 or more osc. Fixed a bug that noteoff not handled for some midi keyboard. Fixed a bug that keyup bind did not work. 2012-10-16 FreePiano 1.4.1. When using MIDI keyboard, you can also use KEY, VELOCITY and OCTSHIFT on the main screen. Adds a option that can display original key or transcribed key. 2012-10-8 FreePiano 1.4. Fixed language mistake on song info. This piano keyboard is quite simple and user-friendly. It gives you the possibility to play the piano online using your mouse or your computer's keyboard. Also gives you excellent piano training online. This virtual piano is based on the HTML Web Audio API.
MIDI keyboards and pianos have a lot of differences. But they are pretty similar, too. It is because of these differences and similarities that there is a lot of discussion around this topic.
The answer is yes! You can always use a MIDI Keyboard as a piano. However, depending on your needs, you might have advantages or disadvantages with one or the other. There are a couple of things that you have to understand about MIDI keyboards and also some points that you have to consider about how it is like to play a MIDI keyboard and how it is like to play a real piano.
Many piano players will say “no, you cannot use a MIDI keyboard as a piano, it is not the same!” And I agree with them. It is not the same. There are many differences. And also you want to use one or the other for different things.
Let’s check the details so that you are more informed if you are thinking of using a MIDI keyboard to learn or practice piano.
The first thing we have to have clear is what exactly a MIDI keyboard is. It might sound easy, but a lot of people get confused, so I just want to clarify that before you buy anything.
If you are thinking of using a MIDI keyboard to learn or practice piano, I guess you are thinking a MIDI keyboard is one of those electronic keyboards that you just connect to the electricity and you can start playing. They have speakers or you can even connect headphones to practice at night without waking anybody up.
You are right. That can be a MIDI keyboard. These are in fact digital pianos with a MIDI connection. Not all digital pianos are equipped with a MIDI connection, though.
A very popular digital piano with a MIDI connection is the classic Yamaha portable keyboard. I have a couple and I really like them. It is super easy use it to use, because you put it on a table and you can just practice whenever you want. You can also transport it very easily if you want to play with friends or at the church or wherever you want. If you are thinking of getting this kind of keyboards, the Yamaha one is a really good and cheap option. The other option is a Casio portable keyboard, but I don’t like it. For me the Yamaha one is much better. It is more comfortable, it has a much better sound and the keys are touch sensitive. You can check the current model and price on Amazon in this link.
There are other type of MIDI keyboards, which are called Synthesizers. These keyboards are usually more expensive, they have knobs and faders, and they usually require external speakers. If you are targeting a more expensive keyboard, just make sure you are not selecting a synth, unless you want that.
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A synthesizer, besides being a keyboard, also let’s you create new sounds, using waves generators, called oscillators. That’s a very interesting topic but pretty complex. Maybe for another post.
A lot of people easily confuse a MIDI Controller with a MIDI Keyboard. Basically, a MIDI Controller does not make any sound by itself. You need to connect it to a computer or to a synthesizer. MIDI Controllers are mainly used either for music production, where you use the keyboard to control the music production software, or for live performance by playing the MIDI Controller connected to a synthesizer or to a computer using a live performance software.
If your idea is to replace a piano with a keyboard, just make sure you are not buying a MIDI Controller, because you will need a computer to be able to play. It seems something obvious, but just be careful to avoid mistakes.
Talking about replacing a piano with a MIDI keyboard, I can see a lot of advantages.
A MIDI keyboard is way cheaper than any piano. You cannot compare. This is the obvious reason to think about replacing the piano in the first place. But on top of that, the MIDI keyboard has many other good points.
First, let’s talk about the size. I live in a pretty small apartment in San Francisco, and having a vertical piano, even a small one, would be almost impossible for me. There is absolutely no room. If your place is rather small, you should consider the space restrictions. Actually this is a very strong argument: if you have no space, there isn’t much you can do. Get the MIDI keyboard.
Second, MIDI keyboards have an audio output for headphones. This one is very important if you are like me (and it is actually related to the previous point about the small apartment). I am really busy during the day and most of the time I only have no more than an hour late at night to study piano. Having the headphones is basically the reason why I can still practice. Otherwise I wouldn’t let anybody sleep. More they wouldn’t let me practice in the first place. Pianos sound beautiful, but they are pretty loud.
Another advantage is the portability. If you have friends that are musicians and you like to jam with them, you can easily take the keyboard with you to the gathering place. Or if you play at the church, you can easily have the keyboard with you at home, and take it with you to the church on Sundays. Portability is really comfortable.
Now let’s talk about the disadvantages, which I think make most of us get disappointed about learning or practicing piano. But that shouldn’t be the case!
The truth is that pianos are pretty different than MIDI keyboards. The keyboard of a piano is heavy and big. It is more difficult to play on a piano. The electronic keyboards are light, there is no weight on their keys. That represents an important drawback, because when you learn how to play the piano, we want to be able to play the real instrument, and have experience with the weighted keyboard.
Another huge point is that the piano is a percussive instrument. When we press the keys, a hammer hits the strings inside the piano, and the sound is produced. If we press the keys softly, the sound produced is soft. And if we press them harder, the sound produced is louder. This effect allows us to express ourselves as artists. We can add intention to the interpretation.
With a MIDI keyboard we can do that only with some models.
Another disadvantage is that pianos have pedals. Some of them have two pedals and others have three pedals. With a MIDI keyboard you can connect a sustain pedal only.
Another disadvantage of the MIDI keyboard can be the sound. Cheaper keyboards will have a less realistic piano sound. More expensive keyboards will have a better sound. But real pianos will have also different levels of quality in terms of the sound. Better construction and materials will produce a better sound, but that increase on sound quality also represents more money for the piano.
I do not think any of these disadvantages are deal breakers to use a MIDI keyboard as a piano. I have done it for years. I have MIDI keyboards and an acoustic piano. You can play with both, and you can practice with both. But if at the beginning all you can get is a MIDI keyboard, do it. That is better than just not doing anything.
Now, there is a way to get closer to the feeling of a real piano, but using a MIDI keyboard. It has to do with what we have discuss previously.
The first feature for a closer feeling to a real piano is a sensitive keyboard. Some MIDI keyboards are sensitive to pressure. If you press the keys softly, the sound produced is lower. If you press the keys harder, the sound is louder. That helps with giving a feeling to the melodies you are playing. This sensitivity is achieved with a MIDI parameter called velocity. It is a little bit too technical, but velocity helps the keyboard know how loud the sound should be.
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Another feature for a more real piano feeling is a weighted keyboard. Some MIDI keyboards have weight in their keys. This is, it is a little hard to press the keys on the keyboard, emulating the real wooden keys of a piano. Again, this helps you with interpretation and with getting experience with the more difficult to play real pianos.
One thing to note is that weighted keyboards are more expensive. In fact, weight is a very valuable feature, and it can significantly increase the cost of the instrument. There are three levels of weight. The more weight the more real is the feeling, but the more expensive is the keyboard.
The next feature is the sound. If the sound is very important for you, the only way you can be happy with the sound is by listening to the keyboard. If you are happy with the sound, you will feel comfortable playing an electronic version and you will be feel more likely to keep playing. However, I think the sound really matters for more professional players, with a very educated ear. Beginner player won’t feel that much of a difference.
Another optional feature to look for in a MIDI keyboard if you want it to feel more like a real piano, is the number of keys. Acoustic pianos have 88 keys. You could get an 88 keys MIDI keyboard. But again, usually do won’t need that many keys, unless you are playing very specific pieces or some jazz music.
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Finally, the last thing that you want to add to your setup is a sustain pedal. Real pianos have a sustain pedal, that prevents the sound to mute as soon as you release the keys. With the sustain pedal you can press a key, then release the key while pressing the sustain pedal, and the sound will stay.
MIDI keyboards by default, do not have a sustained sound. When you release the keys, the sound goes away. By adding a sustain pedal to your keyboard, you will have the chance to produce the effects you can produce with the real piano. Plus many musical pieces have to be playing with a sustain pedal. So, you will just need one.
I have a Roland sustain pedal. It is really easy to use. You just connect it to the keyboard and that’s it. It has never failed and it is very good for the price. I really recommend you to have one. If you are interested, check this Amazon link for the current price.
For me it is totally a yes. You can always use a MIDI keyboard as a piano. I agree, it will not be the same. But having a small portable MIDI keyboard is way better than having nothing just because you have no space or money for a real acoustic piano, right?
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A simple Yamaha MIDI keyboard would be enough. Or if you can buy a more expensive keyboard with weighted keys, that would be even better. Get the sustain pedal and you will have all the resources to learn and play anything you want on the piano.