You don't need thousands of dollars or extra space in your living room to play a virtual piano online. Internet or software-based replicas of the instrument are available so you can enjoy lessons and learn how to play your own music.
How to Play a Virtual Piano Online
Experienced piano players will likely prefer to plug a synthesizer keyboard into the computer when using a virtual piano application. That keeps you from having learn to play piano on a computer keyboard. The visuals are also very different without a plug-in keyboard, because the keys illustrated on the screen are small.
The most sophisticated offering on the Internet is TruePianos.com. It offers a slimmed down trial version that's free for the first 40 days. The full-fledged application sells for $180 and requires an additional download. The fee includes a year of customer support and free software updates.
The software offers an advanced interface and a basic one. In the latter, the main screen shows a replica of a grand piano, whose keys can be manipulated either with the computer keyboard and mouse, or with a plugged-in synthesizer keyboard. The advanced interface shows a control board that lets the player customize the sounds like one would on a synthesizer.
One of these customization options replicates the foot pedals found on a traditional piano. Another control sets the duration that each key will sound when played. There's also a setting that will capture when keys are hit hard or soft, and another option lets the player actually tune the virtual piano.
The TruePiano application includes four modules, each based on an entirely different sounding piano. The software's "about" page includes a link that takes you directly to the TruePianos.com Web site. A section of the site includes 17 recordings of classical music played on the online piano.
VirtualPiano.net currently offers a free online piano. Click on the welcome page, and you're taken to a screen with an illustration of a synthesizer-sized keyboard. You play the instrument using your computer keyboard and by pointing and clicking the mouse on the keys displayed on the screen.The Web site notes that the virtual piano is in a testing stage. The site includes some written out songs with the notes in letters and numbers instead of traditional sheet music format. VirtualPiano.net also allows you to record the music you play, and change the color of the instrument.
Java Piano is small-sized application that downloads from PianoWorld's Web site. The screen shows only a fraction of a piano keyboard, and the notes can be played using only the computer keyboard and mouse.A similar virtual instrument is Flash Piano, which doesn't require a download. Instead, it plays entirely online, and there's a link to open the piano keyboard up in a separate window. The piano keys each have letters on them corresponding to keys on the computer keyboard.
Numerous Web sites offer very rudimentary virtual pianos to accompany text-based piano lessons. You can play a virtual piano online at the following educational sites:
- Apronus has a piano to accompany music lessons appearing on a separate Web page.
- Piano by Number labels the piano keys with numbers to make sheet music more beginner-friendly.
- Primary Resources has a virtual piano on a separate page from its music lessons.
- Plern Piano incorporates lessons with sheet music and composition, all free of charge and with extra features available upon registration.