Musical Personality Test: Are you a pianist or a synthesist at heart? 10 Questions

Pianos and synths. Can’t really get much more different can you (OK they both usually have keyboards, but that’s often where the similarity ends)

You might like both (I do) but which do you really love?

Take this little personality test and find out if you’re really a pianist or a synthesist at heart.

1. The first thing you visually observe on a new instrument is:

a. How much like a piano it looks (it is a piano, stupid)
b. If there’s a line of red felt at the back of the keyboard.
c. How many pedals it has connected.
d. How many keys it has.
e. How many data entry wheels it has.
f. How large the display is.
g. How many knobs, buttons, sliders and other paraphernalia it has.
h. How many connection jacks, sockets and ports it has.

2. A good keyboard should be made from:

a. Look, OK, I promise I won’t kill any elephants – can I just have the ivory off ones that died of natural causes?
b. Ebony- and Ivory-esque materials
c. Shiny black and white plastic, made to look like piano keys
d. Thin black and white plastic, just as it should be
e. What keyboard?

3. The keys on a digital keyboard should be:

a. Why would I use a digital keyboard?
b. Fully weighted keys
c. Semi-weighted keys
d. Synth/organ keys
e. Why would I use any keyboard when these knobs, sliders and buttons will do just fine?

4. The reason you check the polyphony on a digital instrument is:

a. Poly-what? I’ve told you, I don’t use a digital instrument.
b. To ensure that you can play Rachmaninoff without notes disappearing.
c. To ensure that you can sequence and play a complete orchestra at once.
d. To ensure that all those cool / weird new sounds and effects achieve their full potential.

5. How many keys should a keyboard have?

a. 88
b. 76
c. 61
d. 49
e. 25 or less

6. The reason you select “Acoustic Piano” and play the sample on a new instrument is:

Continued below...

a. Er, it is an acoustic piano, how many times do I have to tell you?
b. To hear how realistic that multisampling really is.
c. To laugh at what keyboard manufacturers think a real piano sounds like.
d. To marvel at the sound of a distorted, pitch-bent, stereo swept piano sample.
e. There is no “Acoustic Piano” setting
f. How dare you suggest that my precious ROM has been corrupted with a real instrument sample? If I need it, I’ll build it.

7. When it comes to pedals:

a. Damper, sostenuto and soft pedal, that’s all I need.
b. Proper damper pedal capable of half-pedalling.
c. Sustain pedal, at least one continuous controller pedal.
d. Just a few dozen on a rack, please.

8. The most important features on a new instrument are:

a. Ultra-realistic piano sound and feel.
b. Realistic piano sound and close-to-realistic feel.
c. Plenty of realistic sounds in an instrument of convenient size and weight.
d. Lots of ways to manipulate waveforms and samples.

9. When creating music to relax, you are most at home:

a. Playing a piece of classical piano music.
b. Playing music with piano and strings or pads.
c. Playing various pads, leads and other assorted soundscapes.
d. Circuit-bending and tweaking
e. Risking electrocution

10. Which of the following words speaks to your emotions most strongly?

a. Steinway
b. Clavinova
c. Tyros 4
d. Moog


Score yourself as follows:

For every (a) you answered, score 1 point.
For every (b) you answered, score 2 points.
For every (c) you answered, score 3 points.
For every (d) you answered, score 4 points.
For every (e) you answered, score 5 points.
For every (f) you answered, score 6 points.
For every (g) you answered, score 7 points.
For every (h) you answered, score 8 points.


  • 10: you are a complete piano purist. I’m surprised you even took the test, to be honest.
  • 11-20: then you’re surely in love with the piano and do whatever you can to get your hands on it. The closest you’ve come to playing a synth is tapping out a tune on a Yamaha PSR-100
  • 21-30: You’re finding middle ground, but given the choice would usually go for acoustic-ness over synthy-ness.
  • 31-40: You’re probably pretty nifty on electronic keyboards but aren’t really serious synth-head (you maybe used a few pedals and the pitch-bend wheel now and then)
  • 41-49: You’re way into synth territory. You’ve probably never touched a piano and you’re more comfortable creating sounds and music on a PC and through knobs and dials than the keyboard.
  • 50: You’re totally in love with synths. You may have injured yourself opening and modding them. You’re totally smitten with the digital realm, and would probably pixelate if you could.