Pianos Near Edina Minnesota | What Are Piano Keys Made Out Of?
Piano keys have always been a defining feature of the instrument. Let’s take a look at what piano keys used to be made out of and what they’re made out of now. Pianos Near Edina Minnesota
Materials Used for Piano Keys
Piano keys are commonly made from a plastic material called phenolic resin. This is the same material that you might find in a car dashboard or your grandmother’s kitchen sink.
Some pianos still use real ivory, a natural material that comes from elephant tusks, for the piano keys. This is only because the instruments are old and have not been modified to include plastic keys. The reason people often use plastic today is because it’s cheap and easy to craft into distinct shapes.
The most classic style of pianos today uses composite materials—which means they contain both wood (usually spruce) and ivory, as well as other materials like plastic. These types of pianos are often referred to as grand pianos, but they can also be found in upright models such as baby grands or spinets that were designed specifically for smaller spaces.
History of Piano Keys
In the 1800s, piano keys were made of ivory. The added expense and scarcity of ivory led to its replacement with plastic in the 1970s. Today, most pianos use plastic keys—but not all! Some manufacturers still make keyboards out of ivory (despite it being illegal), and you may have seen some old-school pianos with ivory keys at local bars or hotels. In addition to giving your instrument a unique look, these types of materials give off an attractive sheen that can improve sound quality as well.
Ivory makes an excellent material for piano keys because it lasts a long time without wearing down or breaking apart—and yet can be recycled repeatedly without losing any quality or strength over time.
Today’s Piano Keys
You can find keys made from a variety of materials, but today’s pianos are most commonly built with plastic keys.
In addition to the standard 88-key grand piano, you’ll find smaller versions that use fewer keys or are designed for children. These include the 61-key spinet and the all-black digital piano (which, despite its name, actually uses traditional acoustic piano key technology).
Phenolic resin is an engineered plastic material composed mostly of phenol-formaldehyde resin. The precise makeup depends on who makes it—there are several varieties available—but this type of material is widely used for making musical instruments because it produces a bright sound; has greater durability than wood, and can be produced in different colors.
This article is about the material piano keys are made from, but if you’re still interested in learning more about pianos, check out Carlson’s Piano World, a local piano store in Edina, Minnesota. We are always happy to help answer any piano-related questions you may have, so be sure to contact us today.