What Is The Difference Between A Clavinova And A Digital Keyboard?

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Written By Sarah Barlow

Chief Music Officer

In the field of music, it could be difficult to choose which specific piano you want to own, especially with the variety of options available in the market. 

There are significant differences between a digital keyboard and a piano, despite the fact that some people use the terms interchangeably. Digital pianos such as the Yamaha Clavinova are able to mimic the sound and feel of an authentic acoustic piano.

Digital keyboards, on the other hand, provide their users with a wider selection of sounds, but they can’t fully replicate the feel and appearance of an acoustic piano. 

In order to help you find the piano of your dreams, this article compares the specifications of both pianos.

Major Differences Between A Digital Piano (Yamaha Clavinova) And A Digital Keyboard 

Number Of Keys

The number of keys that a digital piano or keyboard has is one of the main differences between them. Additionally, the keys on a digital piano are frequently larger than the keys on a digital keyboard.

The majority of digital pianos have 88 keys because that is also the same number of keys an acoustic piano has. This is not to argue that 76 or 61 key digital pianos don’t exist; they do, but they are just difficult to find. However, 88 keys are rarely found on digital keyboards, which typically contain 76 or 61 keys. 


Digital pianos feature weighted keys to simulate the feel of an acoustic piano. The Clavinova, Arius, Portable P-series, and DGX-series are among the famous digital pianos that have this function. 

They have graded weighted keys that almost exactly replicate the key action of an acoustic piano, where the bass notes are harder to press than the treble ones. The keys on digital pianos are also made of wood, synthetic ivory, and ebony to provide players with an essence of touch that is comparable to that of an acoustic piano.

The majority of digital keyboards, on the other hand, are unweighted and are typically made of plastic. These pianos additionally feature touch-sensitive or velocity-sensitive keys that enable users to modify the volume and brightness of the note’s sound according to how forcefully they push the keys. 

However, weighted keys, which provide resistance when you hit a key, are nevertheless more accurate than touch or velocity-sensitive keys even if this function has the same feels as an acoustic piano.

Range And Quality Of Sounds

A digital piano’s sounds are superior to those of the majority of digital keyboards because they have multi-layered recordings of real acoustic piano tones stored in their memory. These tones can produce accurate and realistic sounds that are similar to those of an acoustic piano because they are derived from a variety of key ranges and intensities. 

Also, digital pianos come with modern technologies that enhance their acoustic sounds. For instance, the Virtual Resonance Modeling (VRM) feature on the Yamaha Clavinova enables users to create sounds with a distinctive resonance that is generated from the concert grand piano’s body.

The main drawback of digital pianos is that there isn’t much memory available to store new and additional sounds as opposed to digital keyboards, which typically provide you access to a larger sound library. Its sounds, however, will be of inferior quality to that of digital pianos because of its larger storage space.

Because of the sound libraries’ inclusion of drums and percussion, digital keyboards with arranger workstations or digital workstations can easily achieve one-band-man arrangements. These pianos also come with excellent onboard accompanying and recording tools in addition to their large sound library.

Portability and Size

Digital pianos are frequently heavier and larger than digital keyboards, which are designed to be portable so they can be better utilized for on-road performances. 

One of the key factors contributing to the heavier and bulkier nature of digital pianos is the wooden casings of the Yamaha Clavinova and Arius models, which are made to be placed in a single position, similar to acoustic pianos. 

However, owing to technical advancements, digital pianos like the P-series and DGX series can now readily imitate the feel and sound of an acoustic piano all while being portable.

Key Takeaway

The decision between a digital piano and a digital keyboard ultimately boils down to personal preference. 

A digital keyboard will be your best option if you’re looking for a portable piano, specifically one you can use for on-road performances. The Yamaha PSR series may be a fantastic instrument to check out because of its portability. 

Aside from that, some models even run on batteries.  If you’re looking for a portable and lightweight digital piano, the Yamaha P-series and DGX-series can be your best choices. But unlike the PSR series, they require an outside power supply. 

Digital keyboards and digital pianos both have advantages over acoustic pianos. For instance, even the priciest digital pianos are likely to be more affordable than the majority of acoustic pianos. Digital pianos are also considerably easier to maintain than acoustic pianos and will never lose their tuning. 

In a similar sense, both digital pianos and keyboards have identical price tags. The new digital pianos that are smaller and more lightweight are unquestionably excluded from this, and as a result, prices will undoubtedly increase because of their enhanced portability and ease of use.

The choice between the two digital pianos may be tough, but it is advised that your decision be based on how much you value the sound and feel of an acoustic piano.