A MIDI keyboard is a piano keyboard with special electronics for sending and receiving MIDI files. Recent MIDI keyboards have a sound quality as good as or better than mid-price grand pianos and upright pianos. Recent MIDI keyboards also have a weighted key mechanism which feels truly identical to the keys of a grand piano.
If you are considering which musical instrument to buy for making music, a MIDI keyboard is an excellent choice because
MIDI keyboards are designed to be connected to other MIDI devices including computers which have a MIDI interface on their soundcard. This is ideal for composing music with the help of music composition software like Rosegarden or MusE.
MIDI keyboards do not ever need to be tuned, thus saving the cost of regular piano tuning.
There are many different makes of MIDI keyboard: Yamaha, Roland, Korg, etc. It is best to get a MIDI keyboard with "weighted keys" that move and feel like real piano keys. The price range is USD 1000-3000. I personally prefer Yamaha Clavinovas and think the Yamaha CLP-170 Clavinova (at time of writing this in 2004) is equal in sound quality and touch to any mid-price grand piano -- a really excellent musical instrument!
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