Creator of world’s first 108-note grand piano says 88 keys is “too limiting”

In a world filled with portable 25-note mini MIDI keyboards, you might think that a grand piano that offers more than the traditional 88 keys would be out of step with the times, but that’s not the view of Australian piano maker Wayne Stuart.

He's created what’s believed to be the world’s first nine-octave piano, giving musicians a whopping 108 keys to play on.

Speaking to Australia’s ABC News, Stuart said: "We need new horizons and this is certainly a new horizon."

Made from Tasmanian Huon pine, the 108-note piano is three metres long, weighs 644kg and took 18 months to build. It was commissioned by the director of Beleura House, an Australian stately home, at a cost of $300,000 Australian dollars.

The larger keyboard adds notes at both the bass and treble ends, and though some will doubtless consider it unnecessary, Stuart is adamant that it should be the new standard.

"We want to continue with the 108-key range; I personally think it's the minimum frequency range for a piano in the 21st century,” he says.

"I could not stand to sit at an 88-key piano now. I would want to take an axe to it because it's just too limiting. The new range is nine octaves. Get used to it!"

You can find out more about the 108-key piano on the Stuart and Sons website.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.