Virtually all pianos have 88 keys.

However, Pleyel*, a company established in Paris, France and founded in 1807 once built a double grand (2 pianos in 1 case) with a keyboard at each end - hence, 176 keys.

Bosendorfer makes the Imperial Concert Grand which features 96 notes (8 extra keys in the bass).

Some pianos have 54 or 66 keys, one of these was known as "Tom Thum" (made by Kohler & Campbell) and the other was "Cameo", made by Melodigrand and controlled by the Winter Piano Co. Many of the action parts in these small pianos were actually true to form, with the exception of the hammers.

*Pleyel is now under a cooperative contract with Schimmel Piano Co

*Bosendorfer is now controlled by Kimball International

There are exactly as many keys on a piano as there are constellations in the sky. 88. There are white and black keys, just as there are constellations that look like things and ones that look like blobs of shiny pebbles thrown randomly up from a rusty bucket into a tranquil blue ocean.

The usual 7-octave concert grand has 88 keys, but some Bosendorfer pianos have more. One of my old teachers has one in his house and there are four extra keys at the bottom. The extra keys have reverse colourings, so the white keys are black, vice versa.

 A cool story about Vladimir Horowitz about the number of keys on a piano. So, some pianist was playing a concert, which Horowitz was attending. Nameless pianist I can't remember played some Chopin sonata around the end that Horowitz was pretty impressed by. He didn't want to come all the way backstage to congratulate him because that would steal the show, I mean, Horowitz still holds the record for the highest paid classical musician ever. So what he did instead was write a note and have it sent up. A couple of days later the pianist wrote back and said, why thank you very much, but I can never create the sort of excitement you do when you're at the 88. Horowitz is confused. 88? What's that? Is it some club?  Bystanding Sonia (his daughter) says, I think that's the number of keys on the keyboard, isn't it Papa? And Horowitz said, well, I wouldn't know, I've never sat down to count them all!

 *ba dam chhhhh....*

 You can get the full telling on the DVD The Last Romantic, a home-video documentary of Horowitz playing some stuff, talking about music, and telling some stories.

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