A HYBRID PIANO combines electronic, digital, mechanical, and acoustical aspects of both acoustic and digital pianos, in order to improve or expand the capabilities of the instrument. While applying the term hybrid to piano designs is a recent development, the practice of combining elements from acoustic and digital pianos is more than 25 years old.
A HYBRID PIANO can be created from either an acoustic or a digital piano, but we need to be clear about our definitions of acoustic and digital. The essential difference between acoustic and digital pianos is in how the sound is produced. In an acoustic piano, a sound is produced by the mechanical act of a hammer strike, causing the strings to resonate. In a digital piano, the sound is produced electronically, either from previously sampled acoustic pianos, or by physical modeling that employs a mathematical algorithm to produce sounds like those of an acoustic piano. (Here we’re speaking only of that aspect of a digital piano that is designed to produce a piano-like sound. Digital pianos typically also can produce many other instrumental and non-instrumental sounds.)