Playing the keyboard is a wonderful way to create beautiful music. Have you ever wondered how some keyboards can make your music sound softer or louder, just like a real acoustic piano? It’s all thanks to something called touch sensitivity (or “touch response”, “velocity sensitivity”). Let’s see what this mysterious term is, why it is important and how it affects your playing.
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What is Touch Sensitivity on Electronic Keyboards?
When we talk about touch sensitivity on a keyboard, we mean how the keys respond to how hard or soft you press them. Just like a real piano, keyboards with touch sensitivity can sense the strength of your touch and produce different sounds accordingly: if you press a key gently, the sound will be softer, and if you press it harder, the sound will be louder. This feature allows you to add expressiveness and emotions to your music.
How Touch Sensitivity Works
Inside the keys of a touch-sensitive keyboard, there are special sensors that can feel the pressure of your touch. When you press a key softly, the sensors send a signal to the keyboard’s sound engine, telling it to produce a soft sound. Likewise, when you press a key harder, the sensors send a signal for a louder sound.
The Benefits of Keyboard Touch Sensitivity
Touch sensitivity brings many benefits to your playing. First, it makes your music sound more realistic and authentic, just like playing a real piano. The ability to control the volume adds a whole new level of dynamics and expression to your performances. You can play soft, gentle melodies or powerful, energetic tunes with just the right touch.
Moreover, touch sensitivity allows you to convey emotions through your music. If you want to play a sad or gentle piece, you can use a light touch to create a delicate sound. On the other hand, if you’re playing an exciting or joyful song, you can press the keys with more force to make a bold and vibrant sound. With touch sensitivity, you have the power to make your music come alive!
Playing with Touch Sensitivity
To make the most of touch sensitivity, it’s important to practice and experiment with different key press strength. Try playing a simple melody softly and then gradually increase the intensity by pressing the keys harder. Notice how the sound changes and how it affects the emotions conveyed by the music. Likewise, practice playing a loud section with forceful touches and then transition into a soft section with gentle touches. The contrast in dynamics will add depth and interest to your performance.
You should always learn playing with that in mind and train your fingers strength so that it won’t be difficult for you to move from electronic keyboard to acoustic piano.
Finding a Keyboard with Touch Sensitivity
Not all keyboards have touch sensitivity, so if you want to experience the magic of this feature, make sure to look for keyboards that specifically mention touch sensitivity or touch response. Yamaha, Roland, and Casio are popular brands that offer keyboards with touch sensitivity at different price ranges. Usually only the most inexpensive entry-level keyboards don’t have this feature.
Although modern digital pianos have reached a high level of copying a live piano (both in terms of sound and feeling of playing), electronic device will hardly replicate it exactly. Touch Sensitivity is that feature which allow you to express yourself and bring your music to life in ways that wouldn’t be possible otherwise, sounding very close to acoustic instrument. Whether you’re playing gentle melodies or powerful tunes, touch sensitivity adds that extra layer of emotion and dynamics. Keep that in mind and enjoy your playing!
Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions on electronic keyboards touch sensitivity.
- Why is touch sensitivity important for keyboard players?
Touch sensitivity is important because it makes your music sound more expressive and like a real instrument. It helps you play with different dynamics, like playing softly or loudly, which adds feeling and emotion to your music.
- Can I adjust touch sensitivity on a keyboard?
Some keyboards allow you to adjust the touch sensitivity to match your playing style. These settings typically include options such as soft, medium, hard, or even customizable sensitivity levels. You can make it more sensitive or less sensitive depending on what feels comfortable for you. But not all keyboards have this feature, so it’s good to check before buying.
- Can I turn off touch sensitivity if I prefer a consistent sound?
Some keyboards offer the option to turn off touch sensitivity if you prefer a consistent sound. This way keyboard will behave just like an organ (which doesn’t have touch response). This can be helpful if you want all the keys to produce the same volume regardless of how hard or soft you press them, for example playing with organ voice or some electronic music sample.
- Are all keyboards equipped with touch sensitivity?
No, not all keyboards have touch sensitivity. Some keyboards are designed for beginners and may not have this feature. If you want keyboard with touch sensitivity, you need to look for keyboards that mention it in their description or ask someone at the music store.
- Can touch sensitivity be used with different instrument sounds on a keyboard?
Yes, touch sensitivity can be used with different instrument sounds on a keyboard. Whether you’re playing a piano, organ, strings, or other instrument sounds, touch sensitivity enables you to control the dynamics and nuances of each sound, making your playing more authentic and versatile.
- How can touch sensitivity help beginners in their musical development?
For beginners, touch sensitivity helps develop their sense of control and expression in playing. It encourages them to be mindful of their touch and dynamics from the early stages, laying a solid foundation for their musical development. It will also help them to switch to an acoustic instrument easier.
- Can touch sensitivity be used for playing chords and accompaniments?
If you mean auto-accompaniment feature which plays the whole band accompaniment while you press a single key in the left hand – no, touch sensitivity is not used in this case. But if you mean chords and accompaniments which you play yourself – of course yes. By adjusting the pressure of your touch while playing chords, you can make them sound softer or louder, adding depth and richness to your playing, as well as the melody.
- Does touch sensitivity affect the overall playing experience and enjoyment?
Yes, touch sensitivity greatly affects the overall playing experience and enjoyment. It allows you to connect with the music on a deeper level and bring out your personal expression.
- Is touch sensitivity available on digital pianos as well?
Sure, touch sensitivity is also present on digital pianos, and it is especially important on those devices. Along with weighted keys, that make you feel like you’re playing a real acoustic piano, digital pianos often have advanced touch sensitivity features that closely emulate the feel and response of an acoustic piano.