A Piano with No Black Keys

The other day, we reported on a piano with 102 keys, breaking the 88-key norm. Now, we have news that a company in Japan has developed a piano with no black keys whatsoever.

It’s called the “Sinhakken” model- With no black keys fitted, the 52 remaining white keys are all that’s left. With no tail to allow space for black keys over the top, the keys are ‘all head’, so to speak – full oblongs, the same width from top to bottom. At first glance, it looks quite strange and beautiful. But it’s also incredibly disorienting to play.

In the video above, uploaded to YouTube by Japanese software company Micronet Co., Ltd, a pianist plays an arrangement of ‘Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum’ from Children’s Corner Suite by Debussy, which develops everything in C major.

The pianist, who blogged about her find in 2014, says: “I can play almost all songs in C major without a black key.

“But I can’t help but feel that it’s quite different from the original song.”

According to her blog, the instrument has the same number of strings as a normal piano, but with the black key hammer action removed. So, you can literally only play in C major.

With no 24 major and minor keys – let alone so many rich colours – any change in tone can only be achieved by playing the white keys. And with no separation of black and white keys, you must have to relearn all your note references.

Nonetheless, it makes for an interesting and unique instrument.